Death. It smelled rotten and burned to the core. Within it laid pain and anger; on the surface it was stained of blood. The Rise of Apocalypse as they had called the era…evil incarnate. He, and his followers, showed no mercy. They murdered millions and tortured billions. The human population was extinct and the mutant population was heading that way. There was only a few that stood up to death itself; and they were the X-Men. Once frowned upon by mortals, were then praised, holding onto a prayer and hope that they would save them. It was false hope. No one was safe and no one survived.
Except Phoenix and Wolverine.
Maybe it was the immortality; or perhaps just intelligence. Or even…it was the instinct. The darkness within their souls, Dark Phoenix and Wolverine, the two strongest mutants with sinister sides. It was those dark sensations that spared them. It had to be. Logan was like that naturally; about to shut himself down and block his emotions in the heat of the battle. Jean, on the other hand, was never like Logan. At least, not until she saw Scott die. Apocalypse had practically ripped him from limb to limb. Battered and bruised from her fight with Shaw, she witnessed the attack, but couldn't stop it. Naturally, Jean blamed herself, but couldn't change it.
Walking through the empty streets, Jean reached out to Weapon X. She sensed him, but she couldn't identify his location. Dozens of metallic Sentinel parts blocked areas of the street as buildings continue to burn. Looking up at the sky, the dark reddish clouds continued to encircle the other, casting the world into the eerie darkness. There were a small amount of humans and mutants that barely survived the attack. As she walked, Jean had passed a total of five humans, begging her to help them. But she disregarded them and continued on. She didn't care anymore. The humanity in her was gone. It left her soul when Scott died and would never reclaim her again.
And she didn't care.
She walked up to a damaged structure, but it was one of the only ones still standing. Looking at it, Jean used her powers and blasted the door open. Walking in, she looked around and saw a mother and daughter cuddled in a corner, looking up at her frighteningly. She looked down upon them and walked pass them, further into the building, feeling Logan's presence with others. As she continued, she found a trap door, and walked down into the basement. As she walked down the dark hallway, she came upon another door. Glancing at it curiously, she used her powers and blew the door out as well. A male voice gave out a startled gasp and Jean heard the familiar Snikt. Walking in, she smirked at Logan.
"Didn't know you were the hiding type." Logan snorted and shot her a look, retracting his claws, as Forge laughed nervously. "What're you doing here?"
"Biding some time," Logan said, leaning on the table as Forge went back to work on the small machine that lied in front of him.
Jean narrowed her eyes at the device and walked around Logan. "What's that?"
"A way for us to get out," Forge said, not looking up.
Jean raised her eyebrows. "He thinks it's possible that we can go back in time and prevent this," Logan told her. Jean looked at him and passed him a look that said 'Yeah right'. The look on his face, however, told her that he didn't believe it either.
But Forge's inventions never proved them wrong before…
"Is that true?" Jean asked.
Forge looked at her and thought a moment, then nodded. "Yeah."
Logan watched Jean carefully. He'd known her for most of her adult life. He had been the best man at her wedding. He had watched her grow and mature. Watched how she gained control of Phoenix and her powers and saved them on a number of countless occasions. That woman was innocent and sweet. The woman in front of him was nothing like the innocent Jean. Apocalypse had changed everyone; but it had a bigger effect on Jean. Since Sinister and the Hellfire club, nothing was ever the same. She was now cut off, distant…a cold killing machine. One who no longer had any remorse. Once, Jean would never had been able to deal with the images that she had seen. Whereas now, she simply walked past them without a second thought…
"Done!" Forge cried, holding it up.
Jean snickered while Logan furrowed his eyebrows. It didn't resemble anything. It looked like a pile of junk glued together. "That's gonna do it?"
Forge nodded. "Oh yes…" he then frowned. "However…given the time factor, I can't send all of us."
"What?" Logan snapped.
Jean folded her arms over her chest, covering the emblem of the Phoenix on her uniform. "Well then what do you expect us to do?" she asked, annoyed. "We're not leaving each other."
Hearing a blast from above, they all looked up, until Logan took the device from Forge. "Hey!"
"Yes we are," he said, handing the device to Jean, who raised her eyebrows at him. "You're gonna go."
Jean shook her head. "No…I'm not."
"Don't argue with me, Logan!" she yelled, stepping away from them.
"He's right," Forge said softly. "With your powers, it'll be better. While Logan could survive the trip, he might not be able to remember it. You can."
Jean shook her head. "I'm not doing it. My place is here. There's nothing to go back to."
Logan looked at her painfully. "Scott."
"Scott's dead," Jean said softly, her voice filled of pain and rage.
Before Logan could say anything, the side wall blew in. Jean placed a shield around them, protecting them, and once the dust cleared, they all stood up and saw Apocalypse standing there, grinning. "So…this is where you three escaped too?" Extracting his claws, Logan growled, as Forge backed up against the wall, and Jean joined Logan's side, her blackened eyes staring down Apocalypse. He laughed sadistically. "You think I actually would waste the effort to fight you?" His eyes glowing, he raised his hand, which also glowed, "I could do much worse."
Sending a telekinetic blast, Jean and Logan had no time to react as they were forced back. Jean groaned as she heard something sickening, and suddenly felt numb all over, not being able to feel her legs. She felt, through her mental connection, that Logan was knocked unconscious. Looking down, she moved her hands around the foreign object that had pierced her. A metal, sharp, thin pole, had ejected her through her back, and severed her spine. As the blood poured from the wound, she looked up, anger coursing through her veins, and her eyes fully dilated and black, as Apocalypse grinned at her.
"The Mighty and all powerful Phoenix," ha laughed, "Being killed by a shaft." Jean growled as she felt death grabbing at her. But she fought it. She wouldn't let him win…not like this. "And I didn't even break a sweat."
Jean couldn't fight it as he eyes rolled in the back of her head and she felt someone pulling at her. Even as she fought them, it was no use. She was too weak to fight back. Even Phoenix couldn't help. The damage was done. Breathing her last breath, she whispered Scott's name, but heard Logan yelling.
Pain…oh God…it hurt. The voices…too much blood…Scott…
Jean shot up, gasping, as the IV's in her arm pulled at her, breaking the fragile skin as blood found its escape. Grunting, she pulled at the IV's and threw them, pulling the bandages off as well.
"No, don't do that, Jean!" she heard.
Turning her head, her eyes widened as she saw Hank running in from the door.
Beast nodded at her as another fireball hit close by. "I've got this Jean."
Phoenix looked at him, not convinced at all. She could see inside of his mind and know his thoughts. And they didn't end well. But she could nothing. His resolve was made. All she could do was say, "Be careful."
He grinned at her. "Always." And he leapt away, hitting the platform above her as she struck back at Pyro.
The next thing she heard was the cry of Beast. Feeling the strain in her head, she turned to see him fall from the building. Her eyes widened. "No!"
She ran frantically, over the hill, and skidded to a stop when she saw him. Blood drained from his body and his eyes stared lifeless at her. As tears stung her eyes, she looked up and saw Cain smirking at his work.
"Henry?" she squeaked.
She didn't move as he grabbed her arm and placed the bandage back to stop the bleeding. He raised her eyebrows at her and smiled warmly. "Yes," he chuckled. "I guess that bump on the head did more than I thought with your memory?"
But Jean was too taken with seeing him that her mouth didn't work. She had a funny taste in the back of her throat and she couldn't even think straight. The room kept spinning so she lied back down and breathed in deeply as the darkness claimed her again.
When she opened her eyes again, she saw Hank leaning over her, examining her. He looked down and smiled at her. "Feeling any better?" She didn't answer; just stared. "You had everyone worried you know."
Jean frowned. Everyone? Who was everyone?
"All your tests came back good though," he continued. "I can't figure it out, other than high blood pressure, as to way you passed out in the danger room."
Jean turned to see him writing on the chart. "Henry?" she croaked. He turned to her. She looked around before she turned back to him. "Where am I?"
"You're in the infirmary," he said. "In the Mansion."
Jean blinked. The Mansion was one of the first places to be destroyed… "I…can't."
Hank frowned. "Why not?"
Through her tears, she asked, "What's today?"
Hank thought for a moment. "Monday," he said. "The fifth."
Jean closed her eyes, tears running down her cheek. Impossible! she thought. I was 2019! She couldn't believe it. She had actually gone back in time! But how? Without Forge's device, which was destroyed in Apocalypse's attack. But more importantly…
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1926-2004) Swiss American Psychiatrist & author.