Written for Marvel 2000 (.com) and set in their universe. The differences: Havok, in the Mutant X-verse, led "StrategiX" and not "The Six" and Madelyne, The Fallen, Ice-Man and the Brute died in issue # 1 of the series. Havok returned to his home-reality in the M2K-verse as well.
Hope you enjoy it!
MUTANT X: IN THE END...
The way I see it, our world should have died.
I always knew it wasn't him -- that my "dad" really died fighting The Wolverines, same as my mom. Same as "Unc'a Hank" and The Fallen. The world was better off without Warren Worthington... and it was probably better off without my parents, too.
In more ways than one.
I'd like to think they were good people. Living the good life, taking care of those around them. Or at least that they were in love.
I'm sure they were at some point -- but I know all about Dad and The Invisible Woman. I know all about Mom's dabbling in the "dark arts" and about her involvement with Strange.
The only parent I regret losing wasn't even a real parent... it was Alex Summers, sure, but it was someone else's. When he died, well, another Alex Summers replaced him.
Someone from another world -- a world I'd die to find my way into. I knew it wasn't my dad... all the commotion he started causing from day one of his "rebirth" told me that. I just knew. But he seemed like a good man -- and eventually, well, he tried to be a father for me.
As far as I know, he made it back into his world... but it did something to ours; something horrible.
This world is no good, not for anyone. But that's why I have to get him back, to bring him back. He can fix it. The rift created by his departure... it has to be sealed.
I have to find...
He could feel it growing inside of him, even as he sit at StrategiX's old master computer, typing away -- trying to bridge the gap between whatever world Mutant X (as he'd been christened upon his departure) had gone to and their own.
The mutant known as Forge had been developing a thirst. Bloodstorm had always been careful when draining him, keeping her distance as best she could, but she'd been doing it so long...
So few trusted him. It was ironic, then, that when the world's top minds failed to bridge the gap between this dying world and this -- other one -- that they had all come to him.
Parker, Banner, Richards -- they'd all failed where he'd determined to succeed. "Pin cushion" or not, Forge was a master at his craft. He only wished he could focus. His mind felt blurry, and for the first time, he wasn't sure if he yearned for Bloodstorm's fangs... or for fangs of his own.
"How's it going?"
Forge turned to meet the young man behind him, banishing his dark thoughts and smiling at Summers. "Hello, Scottie."
"I've told you, Forge," the mutant arched an eyebrow. "It's Scott."
"Right," Forge dismissed. "Of course, Scottie."
Summers moved to the terminal, taking a seat beside the tinkerer. "The samples of my DNA... they've done nothing?"
"They've done little," Forge replied. "It's not really my department. I was hoping that it would lead to... something, but nothing yet. I create machines, Scott."
"I know," Scott sighed. "But with the Summers DNA..."
"If we could get word to Richards, maybe..."
"Richards could've figured this out, Forge. We both know that."
Forge nodded. "Reed Richards, supposed hero, who would rather watch the world die than help the son of Alex Summers."
"Strange is a good bet."
"And he's impossible to reach."
"Communication's down -- but our legs aren't. It's a safe enough bet, I'd say... perhaps Bloodstorm..."
"...would be willing to push aside her differences with the X-Men to make her way to Strange?" Bloodstorm materialized behind him, a swirl of gray mist forming her long legs, her torso, her crimson eyes and finally the rest of her face.
"My queen," Forge kicked his stool away from him, falling to one knee.
"You embarrass yourself," Bloodstorm pulled him to his feet. His stomach fluttered at her touch, his eyes locked on her lips and what was behind them.
Summers stared blankly. Elektra had cautioned him to ignore the potential for their help when his memories of the two, of Bloodstorm alone, weren't enough. Vampire or not, he always remembered Ororo Munroe to be a good woman. A strong leader and a formidable protector.
She and Madelyne, his mother, had been close at one point -- and he refused to believe she'd ever harm him. And with Forge under her personal reign, well, he'd never try anything either... he was just best at a distance.
"It is good to see you, Scott," Munroe turned. Though he couldn't recall for himself, he remembered Magneto telling him Munroe's eyes, now a dark and impenetrable red, used to shake a nation. Now, though, as they rested upon his face, he felt cold. "You usually do not... call, at such an hour. It has been too long."
Summers nodded. "I couldn't make it earlier."
"That pleases me," Bloodstorm nearly smiled. "This old castle sorely misses the pitter patter of your little feet."
"They haven't pittered or pattered in some time, Bloodstorm," Summers ran his hand through his hair. Was she sizing him up?
Munroe took a step forward, raising her arm and resting her hand on his shoulder. "How are the X-Men?"
Forge winced. He ached for such a touch. "Ungrateful brat, he doesn't deserve... no, no, no... stop..."
Summers eyed her hand and then Forge, who rushed to turn back to the computer as if he hadn't been staring. His eyes returned to her fingertips. There was blood beneath her nails.
"Good," Summers grabbed at her digits, wrapping them in his hand and squeezing. "Rogue says hello."
Bloodstorm tried to ignore the warmth of his touch, turning her back to him. "I must feed." She argued with herself this time, but the distance he now felt from her was different from Forge's -- her strength was different. As impenetrable as her eyes. "Will you come again tomorrow, Scottie?"
Munroe shook her head. "Of course."
"I will," Summers nodded. He stood, looking down to Forge -- and for the first time, looking down on him. He seemed so... viable, but even still like he could disappear in the wind if it were strong enough. "Bloodstorm, if you'll consider going to New York... the world would thank you."
"I will consider your request," she replied hastily. "Speak with the other X-Men; I will see you tomorrow night."
"Forge," Summers forced a brief goodbye. "Keep up your work -- I'll speak with --"
"--goodbye, Scottie. Until tomorrow."
Scott moved past the two, closing the door behind him quickly. He didn't want to be there for what would happen next. The way she'd said referred to...
"Stop it," he said aloud as he descended the staircase of The Castle, his childhood home and former base of his father's premiere mutant strike force. His thoughts danced across the old halls -- the stone floor, the dark corridors.
One would think it would be darker these days, that housing only a vampire and her prey would do that to a place. That surely parents wouldn't raise a child in such a dismal home.
They'd be wrong. It was exactly as Scott remembered -- cold, dark, traitorous. Empty.
He opened the main door, stepping outside and feeling the cold air. He brought his hand to his temple, concentrating on Kurt Wagner -- and seconds later, Nightcrawler appeared.
"How was it, Scott?"
Summers shook his head. "Later, Kurt. Let's go home."
Scott took one last look at the exterior of his childhood. He hated Alex Summers; he hated them all. Why fight for this world? Why fight to go after another version of his father who abandoned him just the same?
Because, he argued with himself, he was a hero -- he was going to be everything his parents tried to be... and more. He'd think on it another day, he decided, disappearing in a cloud of sulfur and brimstone with Kurt.
"Because it isn't safe," Lorna Dane, known otherwise as Polaris and leader of the X-Men exclaimed as the room filled with Nightcrawler's pink cloud.
"What isn't?" Scott smiled. He knew Polaris had forbid him from going to visit The Castle at such an hour. But he wasn't a child, not anymore. He was an X-Man... and for whatever it was worth, a Summers.
Elektra took a step back as she shook her head, her eyes on the man she considered her son as Polaris moved past her to confront Scott. She shrugged half-heartedly.
"You know what your blood means to this world," Dane glared. "If my father were here..."
"But he isn't," Scott challenged. "And neither is mine... which is the point, isn't it? I'm doing what I have to do -- which is whatever I can, Lorna."
"If you'll excuse me," Nightcrawler smiled weakly, pushing his way past Dane and Summers.
"And you," Polaris turned her attention to Kurt. "You should know better, helping him go out there -- helping him..."
"...leave there?" Nightcrawler arched an eyebrow. "You worry too much, mein freund. Scott is no child."
"So he keeps telling me," Dane sighed, turning back to the young X-Man. "Though I certainly wish he'd stop acting like one."
Polaris turned. "We'll be training within the hour. Bring your endurance."
Summers, Nightcrawler and Elektra watched as the doors slid together behind her. "Jesus," Scott rolled his eyes.
"She was worried," Elektra moved closer to him. "We all were."
"I was fine," Scott felt like a broken record. "I'm--"
"--not a child?" Elektra smiled. "Have you eaten?"
"Well, no, but..."
Elektra shook her head, Nightcrawler chuckling to himself. "If I may, Elektra," he spoke up, "perhaps he acts like a child because you were about to offer him his favorite meal?"
Elektra pulled her sai, its point resting a few centimeters from Wagner's eye. "You don't teleport fast enough for me to miss, furry."
Kurt grabbed the sai, pushing it aside and wrapping his arms around the former assassin. He kissed her cheek softly. "Always a pleasure, Elektra." Seconds later, Kurt pulled back and disappeared with a BAMF.
Scott and Elektra moved from the pink cloud, waving it away to the best of their ability. "I'm not hungry," Summers smiled. "But I am anxious. Forge can't do a thing with my DNA... you were right."
"Bloodstorm's ties with LeBeau's clan and the clan's ties with Sinister weren't the only reasoning behind my apprehension, Scottie."
"He's good with toys," Elektra continued. "That's it."
"But I think Strange can help."
"And I thought I raised you better than that," Natchios sighed. "Strange is a twisted old man who--"
"--may be able to save our world now that science has failed--"
"--and believes he still possesses the power of the Sorcerer Supreme," Elektra overpowered him, "listen to yourself, Scottie. You sound completely--"
"--optimistic?" Summers smiled. "The world's going to implode. And you said yourself that Strange worked with Uncle Hank before the accident... and that Hank was working on inter-dimensional travel. That he'd nearly perfected it, having discovered world after world..."
"Henry McCoy was a good man, inside and out," Elektra sheathed her sai. She hadn't even realized she was still holding it. "Very bright. Strikingly innovative. But honestly, Scottie, look where it got him -- he did become The Brute... or have you forgotten?"
"The accident," Summers challenged. "Didn't I just mention it?"
"And how do you propose we get word to Strange, then? The man's trapped inside the Nexus."
"Ororo?" Elektra's face twisted. Scott felt like Scottie again. "Bloodstorm, Scott. Ororo Munroe is dead. She died years ago -- as far as I'm concerned, before you were even born."
"Then let the world go to hell," Scott charged past her. "I'm going to train."
He looked so much like his father. He had his mother's eyes, sure, but his father's build. Bloodstorm wondered if he had his stamina, too, immediately banishing the thoughts as quickly as they'd come.
"Still thinking about him, my queen?" Forge spoke. He'd removed his shirt, various welts, bruises and drain marks spread across his body. He repulsed her... how had she ever loved him?
Had she ever loved him -- or had she only loved his warmth, his touch, the blood coursing through his veins?
It was so weak now; almost gone. His heart had slowed over the years -- his eagerness for her dark embrace having grown to an almost insatiable level. They were alike in only one way now, she and Forge: they wanted more. Needed more.
He needed more of her touch, desperate to become what she had been cursed with so long ago -- and she, she needed more blood. Fresh blood. Life.
She was tired of fighting. Tired of the hunger. How had it come to this, that she, Ororo Munroe -- no, she was Bloodstorm -- could ever want to drain young Scottie Summers?
She craved power. She craved fresh life.
Perhaps if she agreed to Scottie's terms...
Strange was an outcast. A nobody. She hadn't seen him since before StrategiX's attack on The Wolverines. Alex had transferred his mind into an orb, some sort of experimental voodoo, and after he died it was transferred into the other Summers.
She could feed on him, drain his altered life-force... perhaps it would sustain her -- or at least give her a better fix than Forge could even hope for.
Perhaps that was it. That magnetism, that power... being around those tied to her past, only in a different way...
Wherever Alex Summers had gone, she was certain there were others there who knew of her past self. She could be free from this prison, this hell, the judgment of vampire.
She could be Storm again.
Perhaps Strange was the key.
THE NEXT NIGHT
"The key?" Polaris pulled her green hair back from her face, two strands falling lifelessly back over her brow. "He really thinks Strange can help, does he?"
Elektra nodded solemnly. "He knows about Alex... our Alex... and what Strange did for him."
Lorna's mind wandered back to Havok and his dealings with Strange. She'd never cared for Madelyne, blaming her for all of it. The woman dealt too easily, too comfortably, with dark magic.
Convinced The Wolverines would bring about the end of StrategiX, and they did, Summers willingly signed his life force over to the old man. Using what magic he could muster, Havok's memories -- his mind -- were reassigned into an orb.
Elektra had gone with Mutant X to see Strange, acting only on previous orders, and most of their world's version of Alex's memories were implanted into his mind. But the man had been twisted years before... and this other Havok was too strong to be overtaken by the same darkness.
It created a ripple effect, Strange's interference and Alex's appearance... the Nexus was torn. When Summers disappeared, pieces of their world went with it. No one knew where they went... but went they did.
New York, once the center of the Nexus, was now a wasteland. Thousands died and every day the world went a bit more gray.
"I won't take him there," Elektra stiffened. "I brought Alex to Strange... I won't condemn his son to the same fate."
"You may not have ta," Rogue appeared in the doorway. The organic steel plating of her skin glimmered in the light -- how had they not noticed her? "Scott's gone t'see Bloodstorm... and you know she knows where t'find Strange."
"Take me to the Castle," Elektra turned sharply.
"Ah'm not goin'--"
"Rogue," Elektra glared. "Now."
"I still don' see why y'needed Gambit," Remy LeBeau smiled over his shoulder at the helm of his stolen Quinjet. Bloodstorm paced uneasily behind him -- Scott strapped in at her left, Forge at her right. "Couldn' you just materialize at de Nexus?"
"Not with Scott," Bloodstorm looked down at him. It felt like she was trying to offer a look of reassurance. "It is too great a distance. And you know the way, Remy."
"Been awhile since anyone's seen de old man," Gambit piloted nonchalantly. "You t'ink he's still in New York?"
"I do," Forge answered. "The deterioration of our world tell us that. New York is, as it always has been, the source of the fallout. The tear in the Nexus, where Strange has been condemned."
"A machine tell you dat?"
"Yes," Forge glared. Scott watched Forge grit his teeth. The X-Men's files told him that LeBeau was another of Bloodstorm's... victims. It had happened years ago -- but after Forge. Bloodstorm and LeBeau had been lovers and his transition into vampire had been a choice, something Forge neither admired nor respected.
He was much more human than the tinkerer... and though Forge wanted to be anything but, Scott could taste the animosity in the air. He didn't pretend to understand. He wasn't even sure he'd like to.
LeBeau broke the silence that had followed. "What you hopin' t'do wit' Scott, anyway?"
"This is a personal mission for the X-Men," Bloodstorm spoke, "and he is their liaison. Strange also has a personal history with the Summers line -- and perhaps, with Scott's presence, will be more attuned to allow us passage into Havok's world. Or strengthen the connection with it."
"Well," Gambit turned with a smile, "looks like you can find out now."
Bloodstorm moved to the front of the Quinjet, her hand resting easily on Remy's shoulder -- a touch neither of them noticed, an innate memory from the past. Forge's obsessive eyes lingered on the exchange.
They were there: New York City, or what was left of it. The source of the fallout, as it had been called -- the Nexus of Realities. The exact point where Alex Summers left their world, creating a chain reaction, a breakdown, in their sphere of existence.
"I'll go down with you," Scott unstrapped himself. He moved past Forge, still staring, and stood beside Bloodstorm.
Munroe turned, nodded, and wrapped her arms around Summers. He did the same, unsure of what else to do, but noted her icy breath was far too close to his neck.
"Perhaps I should go with you," Forge volunteered all-too-hastily, frantically undoing his restraints and moving toward the duo. He continued forward, his eyes focused, until he slammed point-blank into Gambit's extended staff.
"Non," the cajun simplified. "Scott's a Summers, Bloodstorm's a master of de craft. You go in dere, no tellin' what'll happen. 'Sides, in my experience, Strange ain't very welcomin'... de fewer, mon ami, de better."
Forge smacked the staff away as Bloodstorm's eyes met Forge's. "Remain on the craft."
And with that, the two disappeared in the mist.
Summers coughed uncontrollably as they reappeared on a small platform. His eyes struggled to adjust to the room around him -- completely barren save for the platform beneath them.
It was bare, true, but full of life: various colors danced across what would've been the sky... or the ground, he wasn't sure. Perhaps both. Energy swirled all around them and there was no sign of Strange.
"Are we in?"
"We are certainly not on LeBeau's jet," Bloodstorm affirmed. Always a knack for the obvious.
"Is this the Nexus?"
"It is," Strange's voice called from both nowhere and everywhere. "You are not welcome here, Summers. Nor you, Nightwalker."
"We have come for assistance, Strange," Bloodstorm surveyed the area. She had not seen such colors in years. "Did you not offer your help to Alex Summers?"
"Alex Summers," Strange hesitated. "Yes. But was it not Alex Summers, our very own, who locked me in this prison?"
"From what I've heard, Strange," Scott called out, "you didn't hold that against him when you helped him the last time. Elektra, she brought him here... you gave him this world's Havok's memories, didn't you?"
Strange materialized next to them, floating slightly above the platform. He was less human than Scott had anticipated and more human than Bloodstorm recalled.
"Look where it got us, young Summers," Strange stepped onto the platform foot by foot, the metallic surface expanding to accommodate him. "Would this world be in this state had I simply allowed that man to believe he was someone other than your father? Would it still have happened? Or did the confusion the man encountered, the internal struggle which resulted in his departure from this world and return to his own, inadvertently bring about the ruins we see before us?"
"We don't have time for riddles, Strange," Summers stepped closer to him. "We need your help. We can still save this world -- save everyone that's left... if we can just bring him back."
"How likely do you believe his return to be, Summers?"
"He's a hero."
"He left this place."
"He didn't know this would happen, I know he didn't... if he knew what we were going through... I'm telling you, the man was..."
"Not your father, Scott," Bloodstorm spoke over him. "Nor did he have ties to this world. Strange is right."
"How can you even say that?"
"Because it is truth," Strange crossed his arms. "Your time here grows even more limited. Soon, I would fear, you will share my fate. The Nexus does not take kindly to visitors who wish to leave it."
"I am sorry, Scott," Bloodstorm turned to him and then back to Strange. "Perhaps we do not wish to leave."
Scott began to ask what she meant but wasn't given the chance -- something had shifted in Bloodstorm's mind. Summers wasn't sure if he blamed the Nexus or it had been her choice... but Munroe leapt at Strange, the two plummeting from the small platform, away from Summers, and into the abyss.
As they fell, Strange twisted his frail body in an effort to push Bloodstorm away -- but it was too late. He felt her fangs enter his neck, felt his already fleeting power fade even further away...
Bloodstorm could feel the energy inside of her. Strange was connected to this place, so much more deeply than she had anticipated. She threw his limp body away, flying back to Summers and wrapping her arms around him as the platform beneath him disappeared.
"What have you done?!"
"There is no time to speak!" Bloodstorm hissed, flying as quickly as she could to what appeared to be the top of the area. Things were getting blurry.
Scott raised his communicator to his mouth, "LeBeau! You have to--"
"--get out of here!" the radio within LeBeau's jet erupted, the mutant's eyes looking past it and into the Nexus below. It was getting larger and larger.
"What are you doing?" Forge moved closer to him as Gambit began to pull the Quinjet away.
"Somet'in happened," LeBeau pulled at the controls. "Somet'in big!"
Forge charged forward, pushing the controls the opposite direction, the Quinjet responding in turn, heading directly at the Nexus...
Bloodstorm howled in agony, turning her body and heading toward the tear in the Nexus which had revealed itself to her. Summers felt her grip begin to dissipate -- only this time, her hands weren't turning into mist... they were glowing a bright white until they simply disappeared.
Scott began his freefall -- the room's glow blinding him, the colors gone. The platform gone. No sign of Strange or of Bloodstorm.
No promise of a future, not a step closer to saving his world -- or of reaching the Alex Summers he knew so many years ago.
There was only white.
There was only the end?