Chapter 3

Shaw. Sentinels. Apocalypse. Mister Sinister. The Hellfire Club as a whole. Dark Phoenix. Morality. Cain. Magneto. S.H.I.E.L.D. The Cure. The Legacy Virus. The never-ending battle between good versus evil, cops and robbers. When would it ever end? Will it ever end? These were never questions that Jean ever allowed herself to think of. Honestly, things had been balanced enough in her past where she didn't need to. She had a mentor, a father figure, in Charles Xavier. He had kept her mind one tracked for the better of mutants and humans alike. She used that knowledge, skill set, and determination to become a doctor. Not just because she could, but because she cared. Jean Gray, before all of this, before the Phoenix, was a balanced and good hearted human being. She had unlimited potential that no one knew or understood, not even Jean herself. But what made her powerful at that time was her heart, her maturity, and the will and desire to help anyone that needed it. She had bedside manner and the gifted intelligence and focus of a patient doctor. She didn't regard herself as being any different from anyone else. She wouldn't say that Phoenix had overpowered her as much as Jean had allowed herself to do what was deemed necessary. In her world, Jean Gray wasn't needed. They didn't need some kind hearted and naïve red head to patch up wounded mutants and civilians. They needed a strong and fearless leader, and who better than to guide them than a God, an entity, such as Phoenix? In the beginning it wasn't pretty. There was so much pain and darkness within her that it made her utterly uncontrollable. But that was where Logan and his side, known as the Wolverine, came in. Dark Phoenix related to Wolverine and his human side. In a way, he was almost like this…example. The human side in her wouldn't allow mass destruction to rebuild a world under her rule and Dark Phoenix had realized it was utterly too much to fight with her calmer side. It just so happened that as the months and years seemed to tick on and the destruction and death toll rose…somewhere down the line Dark Phoenix and Jean merged to become one power, known as Phoenix. It wasn't to say that there weren't two sides still. But while Dark Phoenix tapped into that human side of Jean, Jean tapped into the power of the Phoenix. But she would tell you that it was too little too late for her inner battle to lay to rest. The dead were never coming back; not even with the power that Jean held. Apocalypse, as proven, was just too much with the army he had produced. The X-Men had failed to react to this type of situation and the entire United States paid for it. Those that weren't killed were enslaved by Apocalypse. Those that tried to rise against him were killed to be made an example of. Others simply fled and went into hiding, never to be heard or seen from again.

Europe, during the fall of the number one power, reacted towards North America's war. It cut off ties from the American's and perhaps that only helped in aiding Apocalypse. What they failed to realize was that Apocalypse's eyes weren't only on the United States, but because of Xavier's X-Men and their allies, his plan to overrule every country was stalled as the fighting continued. The United States was known as the battle ground and the other great powers quickly put together armies, humans and mutants alike, to protect its land and people. They had received the news, falsely, that Apocalypse had beaten everyone and ruled entirely over the battle ground so help was never on the way for Jean, Logan and Forge. Instead of fighting, they simply evaded, trying to come up with a plan.

But now…Jean considered things. Since she had been sucked into another world where the war hadn't begun yet, she had a chance to see things in another way, to plan differently. She had wanted to take her allies back with her in this dark world, but it happened and she had to deal with it. Sitting here and wondering how wouldn't get what needed to be done, done. She had to see this as renewed hope because instead of three, they now had the leaders to all the X-Men forces they had around the country years ago fighting in this war. They weren't the only mutants, and they weren't only the most powerful, but this was a team she didn't have before. She didn't have this upperhand. She was aware that they had limited time. Surely if they had made it here, so did Apocalypse. She could vaguely sense him and the barrier she put around herself and her friends she knew would only last so long. They had to do things differently, and what was the best way?

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Their common foes could now be deemed as their allies. Apocalypse threatened more than just the humans and mutants around the world; more than just the X-Men. He suppressed everything and everyone. If a bad guy had a plot before to rule over the world, it had been cancelled. Even Dark Phoenix had realized the extent of Apocalypse's power and rule. It didn't end well for anyone, as the skyline of New York could show as evidence. What was barely left of it, anyway. But Jean had a plan… The common way to move around the city was through the underground tunnels. The subways didn't work but anyone that was avoiding Apocalypse or his army hid in these tunnels. They hadn't been destroyed, much, yet. It was where Jean took them, deep beneath the ground, where they had one of their last remaining gifts from the late Forge.

Using the essence from Phoenix, Jean created a fireball in the palm of her hand as they ran out of light, and she tossed it in the air. The X-Men watched as the fire spread in a circle around them before lighting torches that hung absently on the inner tunnel walls. With the room lit, their eyes lay upon a rather huge object that was covered with what they could guess was some kind of dusty sheet, or something. Jean looked upon the object with a glimmer of glee in her eyes as Logan smirked. "Is that what I think it is?"

Jean met his glance with one of her own. "Forge's parting gift." Using her telekinesis, the sheet flew off of the object, revealing the large jet to the X-Men's astounding eyes. Scott let out a laugh as Jean used her powers to turn the jet's systems on, lowering the loading dock to them. "I think this is fifth of sixth one that Forge had to rebuild after the last one was damaged."

"It's amazing," Ororo murmured. It was quite possibly the only thing she had seen or thought about in the past couple of days. Or, what she had considered to be days to her. With all this time traveling…

"This brings back a lot of memories," Jean recalled with a bittersweet smile, before looking at Scott and Ororo for a moment.

"What surprises me is how you managed to get it into a tunnel," Emma said, looking quite perplexed.

"The tunnel was the best protection anyone had when the war broke out," Logan told the blond, "and we were more confident that they wouldn't be found after the mansion was destroyed. Forge built everything within the tunnels and we cloaked it just to be sure."

"Yes…but how are we supposed to fly this thing out of here?"

At that, Logan just flashed a smirk at the Ice Queen, telling her cryptically, "Just make sure you're buckled in."

Old Town


Flying through the restricted zones and doing so without Apocalypse or his goons finding out was fairly easy. For one, they were already at the coast and the second, no one had the technology that Forge or Charles Xavier had still to this day. Cloaking a jet and flying without being heard was just one of those perks. Jean knew where she was going and what they were going to do and once Logan knew where they were heading, they were the only two included in on it. Jean was sure what the team would say and how they would object so she was keeping quiet. The jet landed on the outside of the town called Old Town, in Prague. As everyone stepped out, Jean lead them towards the city's walls, as the jet was cloaked once more.

"Red, are you sure you wanna do this?" he asked the readhead quietly as they walked in front of the group.

"We have to do the things that we didn't do when we had the chance, Logan," Jean told him.

"There's a reason we didn't it, Red," he argued.

Stopping, Jean turned Logan, her face etched with dark confidence and urgency. "There are no reasons for any of this," she hissed. "I don't feel like we accomplished anything, that any of the X-Men ever died for a greater cause or a chance to shift this war in our favor. They just died, Logan! Gruesome and terrible deaths, for no reason!"

"There was always a reason, Jeannie," the older man argued, grabbing her arms. "They knew what they were dying for, what they were fighting for, and you know damn well that they'll do it again."

Swallowing, Jean understood the truth in his words, but it didn't allow her to accept it anymore or any less. She was seeing things through this way. "We don't have an army anymore. This is all we have," she pointed out, referring and pointing to the four onlookers.

Cocking an eyebrow, he asked, "Then what's your plan?"

"You'll see," was all she said before she headed towards the walls once more, with the unsure and reluctant group following. Even though the walls were guarded, there wasn't much that stopped them from entering; Jean used her powers and incapacitated them before they continued on into the city, much to a rather shocked and utterly confused X-Men team that followed.

As they walked through the town, Emma was beginning to get increasingly uncomfortable and paranoid, like every person they walked past were just stopping and staring at them. She slowed to walk side by side next to Scott, as if he could be used as her bodyguard, as Scott carefully eyed those that they passed. "Is it just me or does everyone here seem…"

"Identical?" Storm finished. Each person they came across had a pale appearance to themselves, like they had missed one many too many tanning appointments. Their eyes were vaguely red, their expression rather blank, their hair short and dark brown…almost similar to Scott's. Above their eyes was a distinct mark of a diamond shape, the same color of their eyes. The females looked like the carbon copy of the males, though with jet black hair.

"I can't imagine what you hope to gain out of this, my dear," Erik piped up, realizing who they were about to meet. He had his run in with this sinister man a few times in the past and had no desires to ever meet him again. The younger generation apparently didn't have a clue. In their world and time though, they had yet to become confronted by this madman. It became very clear suddenly that everyone in this town had stopped what they were doing and gathered around them. Jean had to stop as a roadblock of the clones formed in front of her, allowing the others to box them in. Jean figured it would go down like this though. She didn't expect anything else from the man.

Jean just snorted as her eyes flashed and then turned black. She glared at the clones in front of her as their eyes widened in horror, though they held their ground. "Clearly you know no better," Phoenix hissed. "So I'll give you two seconds to move out of my way before I burn you all where you stand."

"Phoenix!" Logan tensed as he remained near Jean, readying for a fight, itching to spill some blood as the others joined behind him in readiness for…whatever would happen. The block in front of her parted as another emerged, a dark, creepy and sinister smirk on his face as his eyes flashed and the diamond mark above his brows flashed blood red. He looked absolutely perfect, radiating with power and confidence, surged by a brilliant mind and fearless tact. Though two of the most deadliest mutants and their powerful allies stood in front of him, the man showed no signs of fear or endangerment. "What an unpleasant surprise! I thought by now Apocalypse had both appealed to your dark side and converted you and your boy toy or you were both food for the little fishes. Disappointing to see how wrong I was."

"Your security needs a little work, bub."

"Ah, well, you see I do not believe it does because this place is cloaked and not meant to be found."

Jean's eyes returned to normal as she walked up to the man. "You were foolish to think that I didn't know where you had gone off to hide."

"Ah, or perhaps not foolish at all, as you and I are not allies," he mused.

"We're fighting the very person you're hiding from and you don't think we have something in common?" Jean retorted causing his smirk to fade as his hatred for this woman boiled beneath his skin. "We have a lot to talk about, Nathaniel…unless you prefer to live into excel with your sorry ass clones, wondering when Apocalypse is going to knock on your door and rip you apart piece by piece."

The cocky grin appeared on Sinister's face once more as he let the words hover a bit. "Funny you mention that. I thought that was how your precious Cyclops died, and yet here I stand, seeing the man very much intact, alive and well."

"You need to a find a better resource for your information then," Jean growled.

The two glared at one another for a short time before Sinister gave a huff, eying Phoenix's little team of misfits. His eyes went back to hers as he looked at her with disgust. "I suppose I should allow you the time to explain to me why I shouldn't kill you on the spot."

"If you could've, you would have," the woman replied. She could feel the uneasy that the X-Men had as the seconds went pass and she could feel how Logan was just ready to fight. But that wasn't why she came here.

"And you have no intention of killing me."

"Not yet." She had a time and place for that.


"I'm enlisting your expertise. Specifically about a failed experiment."

Sinister grinned. "Which one? I had many." At this, Logan growled, every fiber in his body wanting to tear this guy apart. Sinister just snickered at the animal, recalling the many times they had that acquaintance before.

"You attempted to further mutant the X-gene, increasing a mutant's ability, making it far more powerful than it was in its original state." At this, Sinister nodded, remembering such an experiment. It had proved rather unstable for some mutants, however, and it didn't last long at all. He had attempted to make it permanent. "I need you to make that potion you attempted years ago again, and I need you to make it for four mutants."

Sinister smiled. "Your friends."

"Jean…" Ororo started, not liking where this was going. She didn't need to know much about this man here, but what she did see and hear, she didn't like one bit.

"That potion was unstable!" Erik chimed in, walking up to them as he pushed his way past Emma and Scott, who watched and listened in stunned silence. "If you know about that experiment, then you know its effect it had on mutants," he fought with Jean. "They practically died at their own hands!"

"That was years ago," Jean argued as she looked at Erik. "Nathanial can make it more stable." Her eyes flicked on him. "I'm sure after all this time even he can realize his own mistakes." And they would be there to oversee it, to watch him.

"This is ludicrous! Charles would never…"

"Charles isn't here!" Phoenix hissed. Her eyes practically penetrated his. "And no matter what, you're going to die in this world, and I'm not sure how you'll ever get back to yours." No sense in buttering up to him and giving them false hopes or promises. That wasn't how Phoenix did business. Her eyes moved from his then onto Emma, Scott and Ororo. "If we are to have any hope in defeating Apocalypse and saving your world, we do things differently." Looking back at Erik, she added, "That means taking risks and going through the extremes. You either die at Apocalypse's hand on his terms, and you die defeating him, on our terms." She waited for him to say anything else, but he didn't. Jean didn't want to read his mind, but she was sure that he was balancing the two out and realizing that either way they would probably die. Five, six, against Apocalypse and his army, in a world that was already on the edge of defeat? Erik never wanted this. Jean would agree that Magneto was the lesser of two evils. It really put things into prospective for you. Even going to a man like Sinister – that told you things were bad. Thankfully, Apocalypse had done him wrong, and revenge was one of the best motivators. Turning to the man, she asked, "So…about that potion."