The Wheel Spins Once More

Disclaimer: If you know it, I don't own it.

Plot: The X-Men were trapped between a turbulent present and a hellish future, an endless cycle. The world was against them and mutantkind, the war they feared was inevitable. Then through Death's doors they came...

"Life was such a wheel that no man could stand upon it for long. And it always, at the end, came round to the same place again"

-Stephen King's The Stand: Complete and Uncut Edition

Prologue

It was scene that wouldn't have looked out of place in the depths of Hell. All around unholy black fire seemed to consume everything it touched. Heavy rain fell from the sky as though heavens were weeping at the scene that was unfolding below. An ancient feud between two brothers was finally settled by their descendants.

Eons ago a man known as the Sage of the Six Paths set out to bring peace to the world. He had come closer then anyone who had come before him to achieving that goal. But for all his Godlike power the Sage was mortal. Knowing that his dreams for peace would take more then one life time to achieve he decided to name an heir before he died.

On his death bed he called his two sons before him and decided who would carry on his legacy. He asked them what was the key peace, the elder brother said strength was the key the peace. The younger brother said love was the key to peace, thus the Sage made his choice. He chose the younger brother thus beginning a cycle of hatred that would ultimately consume the world.

The two boys that lay at the heart of this struggle were among the last of the Two Brothers descendants. They were both on the ground, one dying and the other already dead, "Sasuke," The golden-haired boy said to his dead friend, "For what's it's worth...I'm sorry about your clan. It wasn't right of them, making Itachi kill your parents. But I couldn't let you punish the world for what the elders did," Naruto sighed, "I told you this was the way it was going to end for us. We die together, I hope we both find the peace on the other side. I'll be there any minute."

During the battle the golden haired warrior had pushed himself too hard with his abilities. Glancing down at the horrific slash wound that ran across his midsection he knew he was finished. He had stayed in fox mode far to long and as a result had exhausted most of the demon's chakra. His healing rate wasn't going to save him, with one last smile Uzumaki Naruto closed his eyes in this world forever.

In Another World...

It was late evening in the island nation in Genosha, within the metallic palace that over looked the city one woman found herself unable to rest. Wanda Maximoff sat in bed, writing in her journal to organize her thoughts. The mutant sorceress had never been the sort of girl to keep a dairy but found it to be a good way to put the last few years of her life perspective.

"My name is Wanda Maximoff, most people know me as the Scarlet Witch and for the past two years I've ruled Genosha. Rebuilding in the wake of my father's disastrous reign has taken a lot out of me, thinking about the state of the world takes out even more.

After my father attempted to start a war against humanity (the United States in particular) the Mutant Response Division was absorbed by SHIELD. Nick Fury's first order of business was replacing the Sentinels with the superhuman taskforce known as the Ultimates.

Officially they were formed to deal with all "out of the box" problems that regular military and law enforcement groups couldn't handle. They do that well enough but I'm willing to bet if the United States ever attacked Genosha the Ultimates would be the tip of the spear. I'm also given to understand that Fury would have no problem setting them on the X-Men.

Captain America seems like a genuinely honorable man, aside from him the only true heroes these days are the X-Men. They fight so hard to keep the peace despite everything. Lorna left to join them a year ago, it's really helped her grow out of her shell. I'm happy for her and of course I have another bright spot in my life."

She smiled warmly at the small blue child fast asleep next to her clutching a ridiculously large teddy bear. A gift Kurt had brought for her during his last visit. Wanda brushed a few locks of raven hair from her daughter's face.

"My daughter; Talia just turned two and is growing by the minute it feels like. That's the silver lining though, more often than not I find myself worrying about what kind of world she'll grow up in. My father continues his pathetic crusade which only inflames the situation with my brother helping him every step of the way. Every week it seems like the X-Men have some new apocalyptic scenario that they're trying to prevent. They seem to be cutting it a little closer each time. In most fairy tales this would be when the knight rides in to save the day. That's not going to happen though is it?"

"Lady Maximoff" A voice shouted from the hallway, "Lady Maximoff!" The Scarlet Witch jumped out of bed, a sense of...not quite foreboding overcoming her. Ever since she had started studying sorcery to improve her control over her reality warping abilities she had found herself with something of a sixth sense. Even without it though she knew no one would be disturbing her at this late hour unless it was important.

The Scarlet Witch threw on her housecoat and ran out to see what was going on. In the hallway she nearly ran into her right hand woman, Raven Darkholme, "Mystique what's going on?"

"You remember those pirates that were preying on mutant freighters a few years back?"

"The Reavers, I'm not likely to forget." One of the first things Wanda had done after taking power was have her R&D division develop ways to detect the portals created by their leader to prevent being taken off guard.

"The scanners detected had some kind of activity on the northern shore. It was an exact match but we dispatched a squad to investigate."

"What did they find?" Maximoff asked feeling more and more concerned,

"A half dead kid, covered in burns and lacerations. The ground around him was littered with an eclectic array of weapons and some personal effects. We had him taken to a hospital."

"Is he a mutant?"Raven shook her head,

"About halfway through treating his wounds the medics noticed some kind of healing rate had kicked in. They ran a DNA test and this kid isn't mutant but he's not fully human either. I'm afraid we may have one Fury's super soldiers or worse on our hands. Your orders ma'am?"

"Keep him under surveillance and find out what you can from him when he awakens. Try good cop first though Raven, we don't know if he's hostile yet." The shapeshifter would've preferred to have been given a little more free reign but there wasn't anything she could do about that.

"Yes ma'am."

...

Naruto slowly opened his eyes finding himself in a brightly lit room. A little too bright perhaps. He covered his eyes, his arm felt like lead weight, "Crap," he groaned, he suddenly felt all at once the beating his body had taken, "I haven't hurt like this since the Valley of the E-" He froze as his memories returned

... With ease the Kusanagi sliced through his mid section, blood sprayed everywhere as he used the last of his strength to hurl a kunai at his attacker. In most circumstances Sasuke would've been able to evade the projectile. However while butchering his friend the crimson eyed warrior wound up getting covered in blood, a fair amount of which wound up in his aforementioned eyes. Thus the last Uchiha ended not with a bang but a thud as the kunai went handle-deep into his chest...

"I killed him, I really killed him." Naruto said in pained tone of voice, it had been the last thing he had wanted to do. Going into that fight he had still hoped that Sasuke could've been persuaded from the path of revenge. Naruto closed his eyes in memory of the Uchiha before taking stock of his surroundings "Is this a hospital? Am I still alive then?"

"Yes to both." A female voice said, Naruto looked up and saw a woman unlike any other he had ever seen. Her skin was a deep shade of blue and her hair was flaming red. She wore form-fitting white clothing that left nothing to the imagination. The woman observed him with yellow, pupil-less eyes the had Naruto feeling like he was caught in the glare of the Mangekyo all over again. "Welcome to Genosha and before I give you the grand tour we need have a little talk. Mainly about the whole "I killed him" thing."

The Triskelion, off the cost of New York City, New York...

The Triskelion was not only S.H.I.E.L.D's main base of operations but also home of the government sponsored Ultimates. The floating fortress was an impressive sight; Edward Elric had certainly thought it impressive the first time he had seen it. A technological and architectural wonder that would've been impossible to build with his world's technology. Edward was currently enjoying a breakfast sandwich as the helicopter brought him ever closer to his place of work.

"A dog of the military once more, my life's come full circle." He mused bitterly as knocked back some strong black coffee. He grimaced when he saw someone waiting for him on the landing pad. This world had introduced young Edward to a number of new things he never thought possible; the most unpleasantly surprising among them was a superior who was a bigger douchebag then Colonel Mustang.

"So how are you doing this fine morning Mr. Elric?" Nick Fury asked in a friendly tone of voice as the young man climbed out of the helicopter. The head of S.H.I.E.L.D was a man of African American decent with salt and pepper hair. Fury wore a standard blue uniform underneath a black leather coat. Nick held a file folder in his hand which Edward assumed was the reason he had been drug here on what was supposed to be his day off.

"Don't act like your my friend sir," The golden haired boy spat the last part out like it was poison. Ed had called Mustang all manner names which the Colonel had just laughed off. Fury on the other hand had no tolerance for such things and also strongly insisted on being addressed as sir or Colonel. The last thing Edward wanted was to be sent back to Guantanamo Bay and he needed Fury's resources, "What to you want from me Colonel?"

"Oh Mr. Elric why do always assume I want something from you? Tonight is karaoke night and you haven't lived life to it's fullest till you've heard Captain America singing Frank Sinatra." Ed raised a golden eyebrow at the mental image that came with that statement,"I thought you would've enjoyed that but since your going to be like this I guess I will give you this assignment." The one-eyed security Czar handed him the folder, "We detected some unusual energy readings, similar to the ones that heralded your arrival Mr. Elric." Edward's annoyance was piss in the wind at this point, his golden eyes began hungrily scanning the file,"We think may have another Drifter on our hands."

"Drifter? Is that the best you could come up with?" Fury shrugged,

"Well "beings of extra-dimensional origins with powers that defy classification and threaten to fuck up an already chaotic world" is a bit of a mouthful."

"I see your point," Ed said dryly, "Genosha huh? Crap, those people can't catch a break."

"Bad things happen to countries that try to start World War Three." Fury said coolly, "We can't let a rogue state like that have a Drifter." Edward felt himself growing a little uneasy, "With your powers you can pass yourself off as a mutant. Go to Genosha, see the sights, find the Drifter, and convince him or her to work for us."

"And if he or she doesn't want to?" Edward asked despite knowing the likely answer,

"Then I'll deal with it."

Author's Notes: In case you're curious the term Drifters is from the Kohta Hirano's manga of the same name. On another note is that as you can tell I've channeled a bit of the Ultimate Marvel universe into this; the Ultimates themselves though will be amalgams of their Ultimate and their 616 versions though. If you have any questions or requests feel free to let me know.