AUTHOR NOTES (please read):

Re: The story.
I'm reworking my movieverse story ideas YET AGAIN. However, I've split the ideas into 'Parts.' Part One of this is complete before I even posted it. How often I upload the individual chapters of Part One will depend on the volume of responses to each posted chapters. Part One is only Four chapters long, but they are long, dense chapters.

Post X2, does not include anything regarding (the upcoming) X3. I actually wrote all of Part One and sketched out the entire plot of all of its following parts quite soon after X2 came out, and before information of X3 specifications were released.

It introduces Remy, of course (why won't they include him in the movies already!), as well as a slew of other canon characters, both friends and foes of the X-Men. Part One, here, sets the stage for the rest of it's parts, so it introduces, gets the blood pumping and the adrenalyn rushing, and just when you don't want it to stop, it'll settle down, call for a pause, a breather, and that will be the end of Part One. BUT, it's not the end of the story. Part Two is already on it's way. Here's hoping I finish it before ya'll finish this Part.

Of course, that doesn't mean you should wait to read this one until the next one comes out. :P Feedback is what will feed my motivation to get the next parts out. So, if you want them, let me know.

Re: The Footnotes.
I've researched specific images of places and things I specify in this story. I've also made pics based on images from this story. Both were enormously helpful assistance for writing this. But, besides that, while writing, I added the pics directly into the story, and I found that it added a richness, lushness, that I couldn't attain otherwise.

You don't have to see them in order to enjoy the story. However, if you'd like to, I will make links available to you. The link will be at the end of every chapter, like a footnote. The corresponding number will be in parenthesis in the location that I intended them in the story. With the link in the footnote, I will include a sentence (where appropriate), so that you are reminded of what it correlates, and so you do not have to search back through the fic at the end to remember.

Re: My Incomplete Stories.
The Movieverse stories that are incomplete are for all purposes, abandoned. Bits and pieces of them made their way into this one, though, so I hope you enjoy their evolution. :winks:

"Callous," "Seether," and the works of my other (not so secret anymore) penname are on a lengthy hiatus because of real life issues. This story snuck it's way in a while ago and well, I figured I might as well get it up. It's also not nearly as dense or complicated as my Evo and Comic based fics, so it's not as time consuming to work on, and thus, a bit easier to squeeze into my schedule.

I WILL one day finish "Callous" and "Seether" (and the last two 'novels' planned for the trilogy, for which "Seether" is the first 'novel') and "Toujours" (under my alternate penname). I hope you can hold out for them. ooo

Thank you.

Randi

P.S. I don't own the X-Men, obviously. If I could've submitted this for use for X3, and thus been able to profit from it legally, I would've, but that is not within my reach, so I share it here in hopes you'll enjoy it just the same.


(1)

X-MEN RISING

Part One
'Birds of a Feather'


Chapter One

Ripples graced the calm water. Not waves exactly, but a surface etched and embossed enough to give the sense that it contained life that could stir and rise at any moment, that a potential waiting to be released, faint at first, only a shadow really, that honed, refined, illuminated, burned its way up, up, up. It surged closer, closer, and closer toward the etched glassy brink to finally break through!

However, it didn't burst through and snatch its nearest prey. The nearing thing wasn't a rising at all, but rather its mirrored opposite, a dipping from above, a controlled dive. A reflection. It matched Warren Worthington's skilled pitch and yaw as he skimmed a foot above The Lake in New York City's Central Park. Unlike the moonlight glittering the miniscule peaks of the ripples, Warren's reflection faded obligatorily as he lifted over The Angels of the Water Fountain and then the tops of the trees beyond (2). Seconds later he soared over the thick of the 843 acres—far southwest of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a bit northwest of the Children's Zoo—and that's when he finally really dared cut loose.

He performed a sort of corkscrew-loop as he passed over his favorite spot, Christopher Fratin's sculpture "Eagles and Prey" in the Mall's Literary Walk (3). Though Central Park commissioners thought the statue would be a natural fit, others thought the fierce depiction of two birds of prey attacking a goat trapped between two rocks violated the tranquility of the park itself. Warren, conversely, thought it was evocative and provocative. The sight of it always made him want to bust out of his shirt and take flight. It made him feel alive.

Was there really any wonder as to why?

He stretched his wings their full span. It almost felt like he was floating in space, gliding silkily as he was while admiring the jeweled sky. It wasn't as good a view as it was in the sparsely populated shores of Muir Island, but then New York offered it's own fineries too. One of those fineries was waiting on the balcony of his penthouse apartment right then.

Another good stretch of his wings and then—WOOSH—he dove for his final time that night. The wind whistled past his ears, stung his eyes, and chilled the vast array of white feathers on his wings. The ground zoomed closer and closer and closer…

Lift, bend, flap, flap, flap, flap.

He gracefully touched down on his balcony and wrapped his arms and wings around the sharp delicacy that was Elizabeth 'Betsy' Braddock. Some unique fall of her father's royal British blood and her mother's celebrated Asian legacy gave the former model fine black hair that was tinged purple rather than the rich electric blue common of color of that rich ilk. Or maybe it was just a sign of her being a mutant.

Betsy leaned back into his Armani clothed embrace. She relished how the clean scent of expensive cologne mingled with the faint sheen of sweat from flying that signified him in her mind. She inhaled deep as she could and released it, a sigh of champagne pleasure. She rubbed her cheek against his wings and fully enjoyed the dichotic sensation of the feathers—some downy soft, yet others bristly stiff.

"Some girls get furs," she purred to him, "but you give me wings."

He planted a kiss above her ear and squeezed her tighter to him.

"I love you, Betsy, but…" he said with a chuckle that let her detect the acrid-sweet odor of the champagne lingering on his breath as well, "I won't give up my wings so you can have a swanky coat."

She broke from his hold and swatted his arm playfully.

He laughed. "Did you expect any less from a pompous, industrialist playboy?"

She raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow to that. Turning her back to him she said, "Good thing I'm an heiress to my own fortune then."

His amusement rumbled against her back in time with its resonance in her ear. It was even more palpable in her mind, thanks to her gift. A few lavender butterflies, ethereal and delicate, flitted about in front of her. She shivered a little in the breeze and drew him tighter around her.

"But will it be enough to keep us safe?"

"Change your mind about seeing—"

"No." It was firm. The butterflies scattered and faded away. "It's been almost six weeks, Warren. I'm fine."

"But Moira said—"

"Take me flying, Warren," Betsy interjected brightly as she spun to face him. Her eyes sparkled with glee. He loved that sparkle. Unfortunately, it wasn't the only thing alight right then.

"Too risky," Warren said with a glance at the rising sun. "Lets go inside." He bit back the 'and hide.'


Irene's delicate aged hands raised the window.

"Better?" Xavier asked.

Retaking her seat, Irene smiled knowingly and said, "It will be."

Xavier took a sip of his hot tea as he watched her grope the chess pieces before finally completing her move. Outside, a bird fluttered onto a nearby branch.

Having heard the bird, Irene asked, "Ever wonder what it'd be like to fly?"

"Landing would be quite difficult, I imagine," he answered. He lifted his hand from the armrest of his wheelchair and took his turn.

"I wouldn't advise that move," Irene told him. She sipped her iced tea.

"But is your not-so-subtle suggestion to my favor or yours?"

"Touché."

Humor, amusement, and the mingling of his East coast scholarly refinement with her southern gentility tempered the severity of their conversation like a supple glove easing over Rogue's poisoned skin. Still, Xavier completed the move he was originally intending.

"I was too subtle previously," Irene said with some remorse. Xavier wasn't sure if her remorse was for the return to the topic or simply the topic itself. Either way, he listened as she continued; "I was at the Museum of Natural History the day of your field trip. Jean gleamed my visions. She had as much success at deciphering them as I did when I first had them."

"These warnings of yours—" Xavier smiled when she interrupted him. He knew it would goad her.

"Not merely warnings, Charles." No quaver of voice or jerky gesture signified her irritation, but a graceful withered hand retrieved a lesser-aged leather journal. "Destiny," she said simply in continuation of her counter. "The traitor will not be so easy to discover."

Her sight more vivid whilst her eyes were closed, even behind the dark glasses she wore, Irene idly traced fingertip circles on the cover of the journal. "The bird comes home to roost. The solitaire leash fractures allegiances." She traced a diamond shape. "I've heard said a diamond is forever." She traced another circle.

Xavier laughed. "Suitably cryptic and melodramatic until the tag line for an engagement ring advertisement."

"Ironic you should say that." Suddenly aware of the circle tracings, she lifted her hand from the journal. Her expression tightened and she took a calming sip of tea.


Scott solemnly watched a news program on the television. On it, a reporter stood before the white house.

"…confirmed McCoy missing. McCoy failed to accompany Dr. Essex to the first conference of Senator Kelly's Mutant Good Will Research Committee. Accusations and suspicions are more rampant than when the President first appointed McCoy, a mutant, to—"

An intruding bustle of laughter and hissed shushes almost made the still mourning Scott smile. "They're at it again," he thought, as Bobby, Kurt, Kitty, Rogue, and Jubilee huddled near the doorway in anticipation of their frequent mission: sneak up and scare the professor. Their latest series of attempts involved the tactical use of Rogue as the guinea pig… stool pigeon… culprit.

Piotr, also known as Colossus, who was watching the news program as well, but from a nearby plush chair, turned and watched as well. He had slightly different reasons for the change in his attention than Scott did.

Kitty phased her head through the wall and peaked in on Xavier. "He's distracted with that old lady."

"This has to work!" Jubilee exclaimed.

Kitty clamped a hand over Jubilee's mouth. "Shh!"

"It will work," Bobby said. "Kitty's way was too slow, he had time to read us all while we watched."

"But my power," Nightcrawler interjected in mischievous pride, "is instantaneous."

Rogue took off her glove and reached for Nightcrawler's face. She hesitated.

"Go ahead, Rogue," Nightcrawler reassured her. "It's all in good fun."

"So long as I don't grow a tail." Her hand slipped forward and… contact. Rogue jerked with the rush of power, energy… and memories.


Inside the Alkali Lake base, I struggle uselessly against my binds, unsure of what is about to occur. The sound of quiet footfalls on damp concrete, breathing nearing my ear, a hand on my shoulder braces its owner, a haughty southern chuckle precedes its bearer's voice…

"A scientist I may not be, Dr. Essex, but I don't need you hovering over my work like a—"

Hisssss!

It burns like acid as it drizzles and sizzles onto the sensitive patch of skin on the back of my neck.

"—nervous hen." The hand removes itself from my shoulder and takes the voice further away with it. "The President has a tight foothold on that arena all on his own. No, I don't think I need you prattling details to him. He knows all he needs to know about my little project here."

The pat on my shoulder makes me flinch, but when his voice dances along my ear with his breath, I can't help but relax.

"Remove him," he tells me quietly.

BAMF! I grab the Doctor from behind. BAMF! To the immense surprise of his pilot, I deposit him in his helicopter. BAMF! I am gone.


Rogue, a little stunned, lost skin-to-skin contact with Nightcrawler and he slumped unconscious to the floor. She was not the only one shocked to see him pass out. It was only a small touch.

"You okay, Rogue?" Bobby asked.

Rogue shook her head clear. "I…I'm… Yeah, I'm fine."

"Sure?" Kitty asked.

Rogue painted on a smile. "No problem. I only touched him for a second."

Jubilee urged, "Then Go! Go!"

"You have hard times ahead," Irene was saying. "I do not envy you."


"We have hard times behind us too," Xavier said with knowing confidence. "Hope is feeble if not for the launch pad of our trials to springboard it."

Her fingers fluttered at the edge of the journal. "Redemption is a luxury only granted to those whose prosecutors believe them deserving it."

Xavier twitched a faint smile as he nodded acknowledgement of her trump. She petted the cover of the journal one last time before passing it over to him.

BAMF! Black acrid smoke billowed and swirled at Xavier's back.

A smile, a nod to the opened window, and he said, "Ms. Adler, this is Rogue."

"Dang it!" Rogue laughed and sidled up to Xavier's side. She took a quick measuring glance at his unfamiliar visitor. "I almost had you that time."

Encouraging her experimenting with her abilities, he said, "Next time, try a combination of borrowed powers. It is harder to 'read' your thoughts when you've absorbed multiple people."

Xavier catches the stillness that overcomes Irene and asked, "You know each other?"

"No," Rogue said uncomfortably.

Irene graced him with her own knowing smile. "Not traditionally." She stood. "They didn't heed my warnings—" she quirked a grin at playing with his previous statement "—about that ridiculous plan to mutate the world leaders at the UN summit. Let's hope they listen better this time."

"You won't be staying, then?"

"You have that," Irene said, indicating the journal she gave him. "Perhaps you'll have more success interpreting it than we have. You'll hear from me if there's a change in the pattern."

"I understand," Xavier said, his voice tinged with remorseful acceptance. Turning to Rogue, he said, "Assist Ms. Adler to the door, Rogue."

Irene unfolded her walking stick and held her hand out for Rogue.

"Guess the sunglasses aren't just a fashion statement, huh?" Rogue asked.

"No more than your gloves are for you." Irene's words were kind, but they still picked at Rogue's scabbing wounds. Rogue's pause was miniscule, but more than enough for someone so reliant on touch to view the world as Irene was.

Recovering with practiced, callusing ease, Rogue led her out of the room and past the game room. She rebounded the topic back to Irene when she asked, "Anything like Scott's?"

Irene shook her head then said, "Tiresias has nothing on me."

"You can see the future?"

"You got the reference." Just like Irene knew. "Smart girl."

"Oedipus was the last assignment before Jean…" Rogue quickly changed the subject. "Is that how you recognized me? Your powers?"

"You've made your appearances, yes," Irene said before grabbing Rogue's rising arm, before stopping Rogue from reaching for the front door's handle.

Rogue glanced at Irene's hand on her upper arm. It was dangerously close to bare skin. In fact, the edge of her hold synchs perfectly with the edge of the long glove. Mesmerized, Rogue looks Destiny in the face.

"The white stripes are becoming of you," Irene foretells.

A quiet exhale.

"He finds them fetching."

"Who?" Rogue asked.

The door whipped open, startling Rogue. It missed her by mere inches. If Irene had not stopped her from grabbing the door handle, the door surely would have smacked her.

Two rambunctious kids ran past muttering apologies in their wake. Collision avoided threefold.

Rogue looked from the kids to the door then to Irene, who apparently caught the door before it closed as she was holding it open. Rogue smirked. "You knew."

"The closer the event, the more accurate the precognition. The farther away… The possible outcomes I see can run to the thousands, more even. It's rare to find them in agreement, but it does happen every now and then. For instance, he's drawn to you in every strain."

Bobby leaned out from the game room and called to Rogue. "We finally got Scott away from the TV. You up for a movie, Rogue?"

"I'll be there in a minute, Bobby." Rogue's eyes sparkled with amusement. Again, she faced Destiny directly. "My very own fated prince charming, you say?"

Irene glanced at Bobby then back to Rogue. "You don't always give him the benefit of the doubt, though. Remember that."

"I don't doubt Bobby," she said as she caught sight of her own reflection in Irene's dark glasses.

Irene smiled warmly, sympathetically… reassuringly. "No, you don't. But he isn't as honest as you think, either." A questioning look from Rogue prompted Irene to add, "Nothing so serious that it can't wait until after you retrieve the good Doctor McCoy from Seattle."

"Wait, you know where—"

"And now you do. Make haste, Rogue. Tomorrow will be too late."

Rogue stared after Destiny as she left. Something hardening inside her whispered that she really needed to stop doing that. Something softer reminded her that it hurt either way, staying or running, so what would it matter. It was destined, after all.

The breeze through the door brought the scent of brimstone still lingering on her clothes. Kurt's teleportation powers reeked of it. It was that black acrid smoke. It was the scent of rescue.

She gives the door a detached shove and it closes. The dark wood, was tinged a dark red, but not as red as Jean's hair, filled her view. A richer burning hue than it had filled Jean's eyes with power. It was the color of rescue.

"Rogue?" Bobby asked at her side. "You look spooked. What did she say?"

A twist of her head didn't save Bobby's ears from her hollering, "Professor!"


First Drafted July 03, 2004 (perhaps earlier).
Rewrite/Edit April 11, 2005
Rewrite/Edit April 22, 2006
Footnotes (links to pictures):

(1) www(dot)deviantart(dot)com/deviation/32362021
Front page 'Poster' for "X-Men Rising." Making it really helped me solidify my intentions, themes, and plot for this story.

(2) www(dot)easynewyorkcity(dot)com/centralpark/13angelsofwater(dot)jpeg
Warren flies over this in the opening paragraphs of this chapter. "Angel of the Waters" fountain was sculpted by Emma Stebbins and unveiled in New York's famed Central park in the area called 'Bethesda Terrace' in 1873. It's mention in this story is purposeful for theme and immagery.

(3) www(dot)easynewyorkcity(dot)com/centralpark/13eagles(dot)jpeg
Warren flies over this in the opening paragraphs of this chapter. "Eagles and Prey" is a bronze statue created by artist Christopher Fratin. The sculpture was placed in New York City's famed Central Park in 1863. It can be viewed in the park's 'literary walk.' It will reappear in my story. It has multiple relevances for themes of the story in general as well as that of the characters Warren Worthington III, Rogue, and Jean.


Thank you for indulging.