Title: The Gathering Night
Author: May Chang
Genre: slash, action, AU(fantasy)
Pairings: Havok x Polaris, Wolverine x Mystique, Cyclops + Rogue, Iceman + Northstar, Gambit + Storm, Quicksilver + Storm, past Death!Gambit x Storm
Disclaimer: "X-Men" is the property of Marvel.
Author's Note: I had posted this chapter on my LJ on Saturday and finally let me upload this this morning. Super. I had the worst case of writer's block for this chapter so don't be surprised if it sucks very badly towards the end. I just knew I needed to get them into Trakia and, well, I'm kinda excited for the next chapter. :)
What will be will be. I just wish that Fate can be changed...
- Destiny's Diaries Vol. I
"My name is Jean Grey," the redhead replied, "and I am an avatar."
"An avatar?" Ororo frowned at the word. "What is that?"
"A mortal incarnation of a god," Wanda replied, settling down in her seat by Remy. Pietro stood next to her, a frown on his face while the others drank their tea, watching the scene unfold. "In this case, Jean is the avatar of the Phoenix Queen."
"But what of the Speaker?" Jean-Paul asked, frowning as he sat up. "She is a prophet of the Phoenix Queen."
"Yes, she is," Jean said with a nod. "And she is also an avatar like myself."
"How is it possible for there to be two avatars of one god?" Monet asked, frowning. "It isn't possible."
"In this case, it is very possible," Jean replied. "You think of the Phoenix Queen in terms of one distinct person, while She is in fact two distinct persona. There is the Phoenix Queen, the Lady of Life, and there is the Phoenix Queen, the Goddess of Hell."
"Wait, you mean to say that the Phoenix Queen has some sort of mental problems?" Bobby asked. Ororo bristled at that, glaring at Bobby who quickly raised his hands and leaned away from her. "I mean no disrespect, ma'am, but that's what it sounds like to me."
"You misunderstand me," Jean said gently. "Think of it this way: all people have sides to themselves, correct? Like a gentle side, a violent side or perhaps a whimsical side."
"That sound like Jamie," Monet said, glancing over at the sorcerer.
"I am the ultimate poster boy for that," he said, grinning. Jean smiled at that before she returned to the explanation.
"Sometime before the madness, something happened to the Phoenix Queen," she continued. "Somehow all of the sides that were considered good and the sides considered evil were separated. I am unsure as to how that happened myself, but when those two sides split, all the good was sealed away." Jean pulled from under her shirt an emerald necklace. Immediately Remy sat up, staring at it as he felt a presence emanating from it. Ororo had also sat up while Wanda and Pietro both stiffened.
"Say hello to the Phoenix Queen," Jean said softly. "The good side of her, anyways."
"Gaia...," Ororo whispered, eyes glued to the necklace. "It's Phoenix..."
"So you're saying," Bobby said slowly, "that you're the good, protector-of-mortals side of the Phoenix Queen while the Speaker is the evil, eating babies side of the Phoenix Queen. Right?"
"Essentially, yes," Jean replied, putting away the necklace. Remy sat back as the presence disappeared from the room, watching as Wanda and Pietro relaxed. Ororo looked away, a sad look crossing her face for a brief moment before her expression turned serious again and she looked at Jean.
"...Okay, I get that. What I don't get is how Remy here is the avatar of a dead god?"
"Is there an end to death?" Jean replied easily. "The three constants are always life, death and the earth, and the first two can never end."
"And the earth?" Rahne asked, glancing at Ororo.
"She lives and she dies," Ororo replied quietly. "But that is not important right now."
"Yes," Jean said, her tone changing business like. "I will be coming with you in fighting against the Speaker and her minions."
"As will I," Wanda added, earning a surprised look from Pietro and Ororo.
"Storm Goddess... no, Ororo," Jean said, correcting herself, "we should find your other secondary if we are to be successful against them."
"Of course," Ororo said, "but... we never found my first secondary." Jean blinked at her with a confused expression before she looked at Remy.
"I did tell you that the Lightning God and Cold One were to lead you to me, right?" she asked.
"Yes, you did," Remy said. "We found the Lightning God but not the Cold One." Jean-Paul and Bobby exchanged looks before the former scowled at Remy.
"You'd think it'd be obvious to you," Jean-Paul said, sounding extremely annoyed. "Gods above, I really am surrounded by morons! Who in this room seems to like the cold?" Remy blinked at Jean-Paul before turning to give Bobby a surprised look then turning to look at Jean, straightening in his seat.
"Can't be," he said dazedly.
"It's so obvious, isn't it?" Jean noted, looking at Remy with smile.
"Excuse me, but what's going on?" Bobby interrupted, giving them a confused look.
"I would like to know as well," Ororo added, her tone slightly chilly. Remy turned to look at her, still feeling rather dazed by the revelations.
"Bobby's your secondary, 'Ro," he replied. "Gods, I'm an idiot."
"Took you awhile to figure that out," Jean-Paul said before he took a sip of his tea.
"Oh, shut up."
"Secondary to the Storm Goddess?" Bobby said, frowning. "Um... what?"
"I'll... talk to you about it later, Bobby," Ororo replied, sounding a bit unsteady. "The Master of the Flame... Where do you think he is, Jean?"
"Unfortunately I do not know," Jean said, shaking her head. "The only reason why I was able to tell who the Cold One was because you and Remy both were around him."
"What are we going to do about him?" Pietro asked, glaring at Jean-Paul. Jean-Paul glared back at him and Remy could practically feel the temperature of the room plummet. Even Bobby shivered and he was use to the cold. "He's heard everything you've said and he's loyal to the Speaker."
"Is he now?" Jean said as the same time as Jean-Paul's, "Not really." Jean-Paul gave Jean a startled look while Pietro's eyes narrowed. Jean just waved at Jean-Paul to finish.
"What do you mean, not really?" Pietro asked. Jean-Paul gave quick glance at Bobby before he sneered at Pietro.
"Call it a crisis of faith," Jean-Paul said. He paused then reluctantly added, "That, and Aurora and I feel that I should... follow my own moral integrity than the Speakers."
And I say it's more than just 'moral integrity' on your part, Jean-Paul, Remy thought.
"We'll go back to the capital," Jean-Paul continued, "but I won't say anything about this. You have my word."
"You know he'll keep it too, Pietro," Remy said. "Gods know, he's got more honor than me."
"You're a thief, you have no honor."
"I do so have honor. You just never asked for my word on anything."
Pietro sniffed at that, not answering as he and Jean-Paul glared at one another one more time before they ignored each other. Wanda just sighed in exasperation.
"We leave tomorrow?" she asked, trying to break the tension in the air.
"That would be a good idea," Jamie said. "I don't think this place was meant to hold more than four people. It's already pretty crowded, and nobody hit me or it's going to get even worse." Rahne snorted at that while Monet smirked at that.
"Northstar and I will leave now," Pietro said. "We both may have been missed in the capital." Jean-Paul nodded in agreement, placed his mug down and stood up. Bobby looked up at Jean-Paul when he stood up before looking over at Pietro then down at his own mug. Wanda frowned up at Pietro.
"Are you sure, Pietro?" she asked. "You two could at least stay for dinner."
"I would love to, but I don't want to chance it," Pietro replied. He suddenly disappeared and reappeared, already wearing his cloak and tossing the jacket Jean-Paul had been wearing at him. Jean-Paul blinked and took the jacket, handing it over to Bobby.
"Thank you," he said. Bobby just grinned and pushed the hand holding onto the jacket back.
"Keep it," he replied. "It's not like the cold bothers me." Jean-Paul just looked at him before he nodded to Bobby and pulled the jacket on. The two speedsters then walked towards the door.
"Take care," Ororo said, standing up to see them off. Bobby was up as well, waving a good-bye with a grin as Jean-Paul and Pietro nodded and left.
"Now, time to figure out the sleeping arrangements," Wanda said, getting up from her seat. "And will one of you help me prepare dinner? I'd rather not have Jean in my kitchen since the last time she tried to make breakfast, she set the eggs on fire."
Dinner was like a huge family gathering that night. The tension melted away for the night and cheerful conversation filled the air. Bobby and Jamie cracked jokes to Wanda and Jean who laughed at them. Monet smiled a lot during the meal, even laughing at times which boggled Remy's mind as for the longest time, he had thought she was too uptight to do either. Rahne had noticed as well and voiced it to Monet, who promptly replied that she wasn't as uptight as Scott and Alex which led to Jamie and Bobby relating to the table of some of their best pranks on the two and sending Remy into stitches, nearly falling out of his chair as he laughed. Sleeping arrangements was also discussed over dinner. Jean and Wanda would share Wanda's room while Ororo and Monet would share Jean's room. Rahne had decided to go into her wolf form and sleep in the living room for Remy, Bobby and Jamie. After dinner, after Remy and Jean helped Wanda clean up, and the others had settled down in the living room, Bobby asked Ororo a question.
"Please, call me Storm," Ororo said, sounding amused and slightly exasperated.
"Okay, ma'am--I mean, Storm! Um, I wanted to ask you, what's a secondary and what does it have to do with me?"
"Ah, yes, I was going to talk to you about that, wasn't I?" Ororo said. "Would you prefer that I talk to you about it in private or out here in the open?"
"Better out here," Bobby answered. "I don't want to be the one who shocks the rest of us with the news." Remy snorted at that while Wanda laughed softly. Ororo made a face at the two of them before she turned her attention back to Bobby and the others.
"First, do any of you know the Lightning God or the Goddess of the Night?" she asked, looking at them.
"Goddess o' the Night, aye, I know o' her," Rahne said, nodding. "She be the one who takes souls t' the afta'life since the Dark God don' care 'bout them."
"Then I'll use her as an example," Ororo said. "The Goddess of the Night is a secondary because she isn't one of the original four gods of Gaia. She is in fact the daughter of the Gray Lord."
"So she's basically the second generation of gods who follows her elder's orders, right?" Bobby asked.
"Not really," Ororo replied. "Yes, she is second generation, but she doesn't follow our orders. She is the Dark God's secondary though she doesn't really follow his orders," Ororo finished, tilting her head thoughtfully. "Truth be told, I don't think Death really cared and just let her do anything with the souls."
"Almost anything," Wanda said. "He drew the line when I tried to return a baby's soul back to its mother."
"Oh, yes, I forgot about that," Ororo said, shaking her head. "He was rather livid after that. I've never heard him swear like that before."
"Ye be the Night Goddess?" Rahne exclaimed, eyes wide as she stared at Wanda. Wanda actually blushed at that and nodded in response.
"You always were shy to your followers," Remy murmured, grinning as Wanda punched his arm and made a face at him.
"So how can I be your secondary?" Bobby asked. Ororo frowned at that.
"I'm not sure, to be honest," she replied. "Perhaps it's because you're human. Wanda and Pietro's father may have been the Gray Lord, but their mother was human. All I know is that your godhood has yet to manifest and right now, you can still die from a stray arrow." Monet, Bobby and Rahne all looked at Bobby who scratched the back of his head.
"Where are we going tomorrow?" Jamie asked. "Do you think we should go back to the Institute, since we don't know where the Master of the Flame is?"
"It's probably a good idea," Jean said with a yawn. She blinked a couple of time. "Excuse me, I guess I'm a bit tired."
"We should all turn in," Ororo said with a nod. Wanda, Jean, Ororo and Monet all got up to leave, Wana staying behind a bit to tell the other that there was more wood by the fireplace if it gets too cold in the living room. Nodding thanks to the goddess, Remy, Jamie and Bobby pulled out their sleeping bags and Rahne shifted into her wolf form, settling next to Jamie who petted her head. Remy laid there, watching the flickering light of the fire as he listened to the deep breathing of the three sleeping forms by him before he closed his eyes.
He was in the middle of nowhere. Well, it was more like he was standing on a gray floor with blackness surrounding him, but he could still see as though there was still light.
He turned at the name, looking around him before he focused on the redhead a few feet away from him. She was wearing a green dress with a gold sash around her waist. Remy glanced down, frowning at the strange clothing he himself was wearing.
Is this armor? he wondered, poking at the metal that covered his stomach before looking over at the cloak he wore. Why does this clothing seem familiar?
"Jean?" he called out, walking over to her. "Where are we?"
"I... have no idea," she replied, looking around warily and fidgeting with the necklace. "This is kind of a first for me." They looked around for a moment before Jean looked at Remy and gasped.
"Remy! Your skin!"
"What?" Remy instantly looked down at his hands and saw they had change to black. He reached up to touch his face and then realized that his hair had changed from red to white. "What the hell?"
"Don't you recognize your old self, Death?" a woman called out. Jean and Remy quickly looked around them, seeing no one else with them.
"Who are you?" Jean called out, her dress and hair suddenly moving as though there was wind. Remy glanced at her before edging away a bit.
If she turns into a bonfire...
"I'm just an old woman," the woman replied. "An old woman who wants to help you two in your journey."
Spider-webs seem to creep into their surroundings and Remy realized that in his right hand, he now held a scythe. What bothered him was the fact that he didn't remember having it in the first place. Jean looked equally bothered by the blade in her hand as they watched cautiously at the webs forming around them. Before them a strange throne appeared and seated on it was an old woman with a blind-fold over her eyes.
"Now, now," she said, waving a hand at them. "I'm just an old, blind woman. It's not like I can hurt you."
"Who are you?" Jean asked again. The old woman leaned back into her throne.
"You may call me Madame Web," she replied. "I have come to aid you."
"Why?" Remy asked, hand gripping the scythe tightly. It felt oddly comforting to have the weapon in his hand and Remy mentally grimaced at the thought.
"To see if fate can be changed," Madame Web said softly. Remy and Jean exchanged looks before they looked back at the old woman.
"Please explain," Jean asked.
"Destiny has already spoken," Madame Web began. "A great battle will come, bringing with it more bloodshed than the Cleansing and the Fall combined. The two Phoenixes will fight and the Dark Phoenix will prevail. The Dark God will return to dust and the Shadow King will step up and take his throne and bring about an apocalypse. Gaia will die and her avatar as well."
"We're going to lose," Remy said quietly. He gripped his scythe tighter at the thought. "That cannot happen."
"Are you willing to help change the fate of everyone?" Madame Web asked.
"Yes," Remy and Jean said together. The blind seer smiled.
"Then I will tell you this: the Phoenix Queen must be made whole again," she said. "Because She is life itself, She cannot be destroyed." Madame Web paused then turned her head to face Remy.
"You hold the key to Her reunion," she said, pointing at him. Jean turned to look at Remy who said nothing. "The Speaker's ruby necklace contains the Dark Phoenix."
"And then what?" Remy asked.
"You will know what to do next," she said with a smile.
"Cryptic much?" Remy muttered sourly. Jean gave an unlady-like snort in response.
"Go to Trakia. Your Fire Lord is there," Madame Web finished. Remy and Jean looked up to watch both Madame Web and her throne slip into the shadows, the spider-webs around them beginning to melt away.
"Wait!" Remy shouted, realizing one last thing. "What about the Dark God? What does he have to do with anything?"
There was no answer.
Remy sat up with a gasp. Dawn was about to break and glancing back at the fireplace, he noted that someone had added some more wood during the night. Looking at the others, he saw that Rahne was blinking sleepily at him from her spot and Jamie had more or less curled up around her.
"Go back to sleep," he mouthed to her and Rahne yawned before settling back down and closing her eyes. Remy settled back down as well, only to stare at the fire once again. Thinking back to the conversation in his dream, he wondered once again what the Dark God had to do with anything and why he suddenly had the urge to go to Trakia.
It can't be for the Master of the Flame either, Remy grumbled mentally. He's 'Ro's secondary and, damn it, why do I want to go there
/ You should try and get some sleep as well, Remy. / Jean said in his mind. She sounded just as awake as Remy and he smiled faintly.
Don't think I can.
/ Neither can I. / Jean replied after a moment. / How are you suppose to reunite the two Phoenixes into one? If this Madame Webb says that I will lose to Madelyne, that would make her a very powerful sorceress. /
That's assuming she still has her ruby necklace, Remy replied. He rubbed his eyes as he thought about it. It's going to be hell getting into the palace itself, and if she wears that necklace all the time like you do.
/ The Phoenix may be accenting her powers. / Jean mused. / It makes sense since mine does that as well. / Remy grumbled quietly to himself at that. He noticed Rahne's ears twitch before it settled once again.
I'll need to pick up something special at Trakia, Remy thought. Would be easier to get into the palace then.
/ You're coming/ Jean asked, sounding surprised. Remy blinked at that.
Of course I'm coming, Remy replied. I want to know who this Master of the Flame is. That, and... well, I think I have to be there.
Haveto be? The Dark God dictating your actions again/
Of course. He was looking out the window now, watching the sun rise over the mountain. The curtains kept most of the light out but some still trickled in, blinding Remy. He sighed to himself before he pulled away the covers and got up, pulling on socks and boots before stepping over the other sleeping people and out to the bathroom.
Still awake, Jean? he asked as he went through his morning ritual.
/ Unfortunately. /
Want to help me make pancakes?
/ Why not, although I should warn you that I seem to have a habit of setting things on fire when I'm near the stove, water included. / Remy couldn't help it and laughed at that as he stepped out of the bathroom and towards the kitchen, his mood already better than before.
The pancakes had come out perfectly alright when people began to wake up. Remy made sure that Jean didn't set anything on fire and Jean herself looked rather proud when the pancakes came out relatively unharmed. There was one moment though when Jean had flipped the pancake a little too hard, sticking it to the ceiling and making Remy lean against the wall, laughing himself sick.
"Oh, shut up," Jean muttered as she glared at the pancake stuck on the ceiling. The others had woken up by the time Remy and Jean were done cooking. Wanda had come in to see why Remy was laughing, joining in when she saw the pancake much to Jean's embarrassment, and started heating up some water for tea. Jamie, Bobby and Rahne, who had shifted back to her human form, came in later, already at the table, and sleepy eyes brightening at the sight of breakfast.
"That looks good," Jamie said happily.
"Let's hope it tastes good," Wanda said cheerfully in response as she and Remy brought out some mugs of tea. Jean brought out the maple syrup and butter, shooting a dirty look at Wanda.
"It will," Remy said. "No one should get food poisoning since I made the batter."
"That's not making me feel any better," Bobby said in a teasing tone. Remy flicked the back of Bobby's head in response as Wanda laughed. Rahne and Jamie both snickered as they helped themselves to the pancakes, Bobby following suit. As Wanda, Jean and Remy sat down, Ororo and Monet both finally made their appearance, the former looking wide awake while the latter yawned and rubbed the sleep from her eyes.
"Good morning, 'Ro, Monet," Remy said cheerfully as Ororo sat down next to him. Monet took a seat next to Bobby and sleepily thanked Wanda as the goddess handed her a mug of tea.
"My, this looks good," Ororo commented as she looked at the pancakes.
"It is good," Rahne mumbled. "No food poisonin' yet, thankfully." Remy gave Rahne a dirty look while Bobby and Jamie snickered. Ororo just looked amused as she helped herself to the pancakes. There wasn't any talking for a few moments before Jean broke the silence.
"Remy and I met a most unusual person last night."
"Oh?" Ororo said, glancing at Remy before she looked at Jean. "Who did you meet?"
"Someone who calls herself Madame Web." Jean hesitated for a moment. "We may have a problem." Wanda and Ororo exchanged a look as Jean and Remy related to the table of their conversation with Madame Web. Monet, who had finally woken up a little more, frowned at her pancakes as did Bobby, both with a serious expression on their faces. Rahne and Jamie gave each other a nervous look before Jamie put his elbows on the table and folded his hands before his mouth, a worried look cancelling out the nervous expression he had before.
"This isn't good," he said quietly. "We have to go back and tell the Professor."
"Of course," Jean said. "We have to stop by Trakia first though."
"Trakia?" Ororo asked, looking at the redhead. "Why?" "Madame Web said the Master of the Flame would be there," Remy said, "and, well, he's got something to do there too." He pointed to his head and Ororo frowned. "Trakia it is, then," Jamie said. He then paused, looking down at his pancakes before back up at the rest. "Could we finish eating first though? These pancakes are really good."
"So what about your house?" Bobby asked as they began to make their way towards Kafylvik. "I mean, you're going to be with us, how do you know it's going to be there when you come back." Wanda and Jean had cleaned up and put everything away, tidying up the place before they all dressed warmly, with the exception of Bobby, and were out the door an hour after breakfast. Wanda smiled at him.
"Was it ever there to begin with?" she asked. Everybody except Ororo turned and jaws fell opened at the sight of just snow and the sky.
"Where...? But...? How...?" Jamie started, pointing at the spot where the house was, looking at Wanda before back at the spot. Wanda just continued to smile before she and Ororo turned and walked away, Remy and Jean trailing after the two feeling rather stunned. He could hear the other four starting after them and a muttered "Holy hell" from Jamie.
Holy hell indeed, Remy thought, shivering slightly at a gust of cold wind. I wonder what I've gotten myself into.
/ Saving the world. / Jean replied. / And I would have thought you'd know this little trick of hers. /
I don't, Remy replied, but that's surprises are good for you.
/ The good ones or the bad ones. /
The good ones, usually, and I've got a feeling that we're going to get a good surprise in Trakia.
A follower of the Dark can still become a follower of the Light if that person still holds love in their heart and soul.
- The Book of Rain
Thank you so much for waiting. I'm just really, really sorry for the lame ending of this chapter (I'll probably fix it later, but don't hold your breath on that.) The good parts coming, I swear! I'll even give you guys a teaser!
"Bobby! Jean! Wanda!" They turned to see Jamie and Jubilee rushing towards them, a relieved look on their faces. "Thank the gods we found you, we have to get out of here right now!"
"What? Why?" Jean asked in confusion.
"Remy went Dark God on us and is currently massacring every vampire he can find," Jamie reported.
"Not every vampire," Jubilee said. "You forget about those City Watch guys?"
"Oh yeah. Let me rephrase that then: Remy went Dark God on us and is currently massacring everyone he can find," Jamie said.
"Uh-oh," Wanda said, eyes wide. "They're right, we have to get out of here."
"What?" Bobby said this time. "Um, he would at least recognize us, right?"
"I don't think I like that response."