(Hello again, everyone…I hope you have enjoyed my stories so far. As I said before, Scott and Jean is my favorite OTP, but Scott and Madelyne are a close second, and I have always felt bad about what became of Maddy in the 1980s. Scott was thrown under the bus in the 2000s, and still now arguably in the 2010s…but Mads really had it very hard back in the Eighties. She did have her go at vengeance, though, which I could go on and on about (some of what she did I agree with, some of what she did I disagree)…but I'd rather tell a happier, more lighthearted story here instead, as that's what you're most likely here for anyway:) This will be the first of two or three Madelyne stories; this one ponders: What if Scott were nobler, back in the day, and didn't do the bastardly thing with his first wife, like the crumb he was in that moment? What if he stayed with his wife and child? What if Scott Summers never left Madelyne Pryor? This is a question that has been in the back of my mind for decades and I naively thought that maybe Marvel would have a "What If" dedicated to it…the closest thing they ever did like that, I think, was an issue called "What If Mister Sinister Formed the X-Men?" (at least to my knowledge). Anyway, I hope you guys like this; forgive the goofiness with Madelyne's feature power here, regarding her infant child; I was going for Family-Guy irreverence, and if her modus operandi with her baby offends anyone, I apologize in advance.)

THE BOREALIS AND THE BABY BOOM

by Quillon42

SOMETIME IN 1986 NEAR ANCHORAGE, ALASKA

Trouble with sleep was nothing new to the old mutant. Scott tossed and turned endlessly at the side of the woman who would be his first and only, wonderful, wife.

Visions and nightmares of that old cosmic energy signature—the firebird from outer space, something that fascinated and aroused the Slim Man in so many other realities, but which frightened him in this one. Unlike the Machine's 616 universe, as well as so many of its permutations, in which Scott thrilled, gasped in wonder at the magnificence of the Phoenix, in this existence Scott became and remained aghast at what his first love Jean had become. This was especially the case when he witnessed secondhand, through psychic rapport, his girl's untoward latent snacking habits.

Whereas a wedge would ordinarily be driven in a relationship when one partner would forage in the fridge overly much to munch on some pizza, Cyclops was more than a bit flabbergasted when he would watch Jean venture out beyond the frontier to feast on several planets. It was just…unbecoming, and more than a bit threatening, should the Phoenix have decided of late that she liked the Earth flavor best. So when the original redhead (or what seemed to be her) decided to blast herself out of existence, this Scott actually felt more relief than grief.

Meeting Madelyne was what really, completely healed the wound and sealed the void that the man felt upon his earlier lover's departure. She was so much like him: an Alaskan, a pilot, a quieter sort. In her relative mellowness, possibly even more a soulmate than the junior goddess that was Jean Grey, who commanded attention from every man within range of the entirety of effing existence.

Really the monsoon of emotions that moored the two of them to marriage was nothing that Scott could, or would resist. He had found true marital bliss with his new lady, felt almost complete.

There was just still something missing, though, and of late with his last major girl, he thought it was too much…but he still wanted it, and badly.

More than anything, Scott had wanted to be dominated, to a certain degree, by a magnificent maiden; preferably one of the mind, but any extreme power set would do. He just became so secretly aroused at the idea that there was a lady who could overtake, overwhelm him with energy the likes of which could never begin to emanate from his eye sockets.

…But nothing too too insane. Again, with Jean it became too much after a fashion. Scott wanted a woman wielding power, but whom he could get his hands around, in a loving way, as well.

The man was still mulling over this fantasy in the back of his mind the next day when he and Madelyne were out, a decent distance from the house, Scott playing the lumberjack with but a look as his optic blasts took out various lengths of wood for the hearth. Everything he did now, it was for a team so much more intimate than the Original Five. Just as, during a much colder, lackadaisical X-time to come, a quintet of contemptuous Cuckoos would condense into a composite of only three, and become that much more tightly, harmoniously hateable, so too would Scott now progress from a five-in-one that was worldly and heroic, to a three-in-one, with Madelyne and little Nathan Christopher, that was all the more cozy and homely, and felt all the more right. In fact, Scott could honestly say that he never felt more at home and in the right place than he did with his wife in Alaska of now.

When the wood outside was all cut, or rather lasered with utter Cyclopean precision, Scott and his lady and their baby all retreated to the magnificent abode they shared in God's Country. Inside, a news story went on about mutant registration. Scott went up to the TV and abruptly clicked it off.

"Listen, 'Lynne," the man said, taking Madelyne into his arms—she barely had time to put down little Christopher—"when I get done changing our little one, what say you and I go back to bed and…try to make another tiny playmate for him?"

"Sounds damn good to me, lover." She kissed him full and hard on the lips.

A few hours later, Scott and Madelyne came back downstairs and made breakfast together. Nothing could come between them and the passionate love they shared. Mr. Summers grinned through his grits, counting himself the luckiest man on the planet to have the woman he had. She was his, and he hers, body and soul.

The day would have been utterly flawless, in fact, were it not for that damn phone ringing now.

"Scott, could you get that?"

"Sure thing, Milady."

He reached readily for the receiver.

The heat of the onrushing water from the kitchen sink's faucet prompted Madelyne to think of the warmth of her husband's hands all over, the night before. They had so many moments in that bed, with all emotions ranging from lust to love to just…languishing placidly in one another's arms. It was a pleasure the likes of which she had never before known.

"Hello, Warren, how are you?"

Summers and Pryor-Summers had fought a couple of times, as with all couples, but it was never anything really major. Almost never about any old flames or anything. Just small troubles with Scott adjusting to normal humanlike life. Although Madelyne did know about the whole history of Jean Grey, even in this reality heard it one hundred times too many.

To be sure, in any case, Mad and Scott would share many more nights like the one in which he held her so close, so cozily; their marital bliss would know no end.

She was just about done with the dishes now.

"What?! But…how could that be? It's impossible! How?!..."

Madelyne's brilliantly beryl locks swung around.

"Scott?..."

The man lowered the receiver to his side and looked to a distant corner of the kitchen. He thought about it for a long, long minute. Behind him, Madelyne stood stock, as if in Jamaica-Bay-submergence-onset suspended animation, the only motion emanating from her entire body the flashing waver in her eyes.

About another twenty seconds passed. She wondered whether everything at this very second was hanging in the balance, in the front of her husband's mind. Whether her world would all fall apart in the next few instants.

She wouldn't be able to take it if it all ended, and from her perspective, for such a silly reason.

A moment more and Scott lifted the shaking phone again to his ear.

"I understand, Warren.

"…But that's in the past now. I have a wife I love more than anything, and a child and a home. I'm sorry.

"Tell her I said hello, but…I won't be able to make it. I wish you all good luck."

And then he replaced the receiver on the wall. Behind him, Maddy was trembling.

Her husband looked at her a second, walked firmly up to the woman to whom he swore a marital oath.

The man encased her in his arms, held her till she stopped quivering, held her for minutes upon minutes more, neither of them speaking.

Then he set her back a foot so she could look directly into his eyes behind the glasses. She could

see the outlines of said eyes even beyond the brilliance of constantly-firing lasers the bifocals blocked.

"Nothing, and no one, will ever—ever come between us, Madelyne."

An instant later, she closed the distance and smothered his lips with her own, harder than she'd ever done before.

The couple reinforced their love again and again in the weeks to come. They did it in the kitchen, they did it in the rec room, they did it in the bedroom.

(Meaning, "reinforced their love" generally in all those places—they washed and dried dishes for each other in the kitchen, and they played board games (albeit intimately) in the rec room. Why, what were you thinking of?!)

(Well, yeah…in the bedroom, they certainly did that.)

At any rate, the strength of Scott, Madelyne, and Nathan Christopher's family bonds flourished, all the while Maddy loving her husband for his staying true to her, even in the wake of the resurrection of his first love, which was what Warren had called Scott about. She's…the way he's talked about her before, with her ability to ensnare men, and all her self-sacrificing hullaballoo, it's like Jean Grey is the lovechild of Venus and Jesus.

Madelyne turned it over and over in her mind. She's like…Vejeansus.

But Lady Pryor then quickly pushed out of her head the new name for the original, once-other woman in Scott's life, as the appellation sounded kind of dirty.

One serene afternoon, the couple was basking on the second floor balcony once more, listening to a boom box and bathing in the rays of the Alaskan sun. It was so relaxing and peaceful, and neither of them would have another flight to go on for a few days, so they could continue on like this for a bit. Inside, the baby was sleeping tranquilly, just in a crib by the curtains in the master bedroom.

Scott and Madelyne had their favorites playing regularly on the local station whenever they lounged like this. It was slightly different the past few days, though; it seemed as if the music that was coming over the airwaves was jauntier, snappier, almost as if it were coming directly from the future.

In the ensuing moments, the two would find themselves enveloped in the midst of a surefire dynamic hit—just as Madelyne and the other longtime Summers sibling were so enveloped at the commencement of an Inferno in our reality, the speaker blasting out a oldtime yet frenzied melody for which Mads had so arousingly and ironically prepared for, given the song's name.

What pumped out over the jambox now in Alaska for Madelyne and Scott, however, was something that, although mystically through unholy magicks and anachronistically from the future, was slightly less get-up-and-sexy than the "Devil with a Blue Dress On" that Alex heard while sunbathing Down Under in Earth-616:

(JING JING JINGA JINGA JING JING)

"HEY-ey…

(JING JING JING)

"Hey-EHH-EHH-ey-ey…

(JING JING JING)

"Hey-EHH-EHH-ey-ey…"

(JING JING JINGA JINGA JING JING JING)

"Your LIP…STICK…STAINS…"

(JING JING JING JING JING)

"On the front lobe of my LEFT…SIDE…BRAINS…"

(JING JING JING JING JING JING JING)

Madelyne perked her head up. Crinkled her brow in abject disgust at this aural anathema.

What. The living FUCK.

Scott was already off his seat, somewhat lethargically yet intently sprung into action. He grabbed at the knobs, fiddled all he could with the device, but he couldn't change the station or turn it off for anything.

"I knew I wouldn't forget you, and so I went and let…you…blow…my…mind…"

(JING JING JINGA JINGA JING JING JINGA JINGA JING JING JING JING JING JING JING)

This was infinitely more frightening than the whole Mastermind Phoenix scam just before their wedding. Than the poor-man's Peter Benchley (NB: He's the author of Jaws and other seafaring scares) misadventure at sea, with that giant squid. Than even the petrifying prospect of Jean coming back.

Nothing was worse than the auditory abomination that plagued the planet en masse circa 2009/2010, unfortunately for all of us, and even more horrifically for this couple nearly a quarter of a century sooner, in 1986. This one moment could be considered a horror feature unto itself, never mind what was to come for them.

From inside the house, poor little Chris was now standing up in his crib, crying miserably at the cacophony sounding all around, the infant crying worse than he ever would in a more mainstream reality with trillions of demonic entities all around him.

"WAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!"

Then Madelyne: "Scott…MAKE IT STOP!"

"I'm…I'm trying, hon!"

He made sure to stand with his back to his wife, then he abruptly flipped off his glasses and fired at the thing.

Nothing. It didn't even get blasted off the deck, the machine fast against the railing.

"I knew when we collided, you're the one I have decided, who's one of my…kind…"

(JING JING JINGA JINGA JING JING JINGA JINGA JING JING JING JING JING JING JING)

As the retired Cyclops continued to try all he could, optically without avail, to dispose of the infernal device; as Madelyne shot up from her chair promptly to run to her squalling son; and as this author's own eyes continued aching from looking just now at a lyrics site for fucking Train (you didn't really think this author knew the song by heart, did you?!), the mechanism spewed forth the worst sort of foulness ever (as well as the worst foreshadowing that any character or reader would ever experience)…and in the same instant, the eyes on the box opened and blinked twice at Scott as he stood there, astonished.

"HEY, Soul, Sis-ter, AIN'T-THAT MIS-TER SINIS-TER on the radio…"

(JEAN JEAN JEANA JEANA JEAN JEAN JEANA JEANA JEAN JEAN JEANA JEANA JEAN JEAN JEAN)

And thus did even the strumming of the fairy ukulele guy in the song's background take a far darker, all-the-more-corrupted turn.

"Scott…"

The man kept staring at huge unearthly eyes staring back at him from the box. He could swear in those seconds he also heard some sort of threatening whispering over the miserable musical morass:

"I'm comin' on over there to take…what's…mine," the sinisterly inflection uttered, almost with the chick-hit verse cadence of Pat Monahan.

(This author just now had to look up the lead vocalist's name also. Just so everyone is clear.)

"SCOTT!"

Then Summers turned in a trice. He let out a breath when he saw his lady and his baby safe in the bedroom, but Nathan Christopher bawling his baby face off.

"Please come and help…he's so gross…"

Scott shot one last look back at the radio before he joined his family. The device was ordinary once again, unpossessed now, playing "The Neutron Dance," which, while nearly as unholy, was at least contemporaneous.

The next day passed without incident. Scott constantly watched the windows to ensure the safety of his lady and child. Madelyne too made sure her hunting rifles were in good working order. The red state redhead prided herself on her firepower; it made her feel closer to the Clops to be the expert markswoman that she was. In addition, the lady could throw with the best of them, be they fists or fastballs. Mad was the pride of her airline's softball team in pitching, even though her overhand was far superior to her underhand.

And now she was exhibiting said overhand quite cogently, one fine night in her Alaskan abode, as she grabbed and tousled playfully at her husband's hair. "Gimme this hair! Give it to me!"

Scott was actually improbably depicted enjoying himself, for once in an odd eon, as he snickered at his wife's antics. "Maddy…what the heck (hee hee hee)?!"

"I think you and I should trade hair for a day, Scotty," she said, relenting a second later to pull back, resting a kneeled leg on either side of her husband's torso. She flipped her head around to check on little NC in the crib behind them, then flipped back. Her follicles of flame were more than magnificent—enough to make one wonder why in Wundagore would someone ever leave a woman like this, in any of a multiverse of realities. "I get sick of being so conspicuous with my…mane of blood all the time. I want to have the earthy, boring-ass brown that you have, for once."

Scott shot her a lightheartedly incredulous look, which Madelyne could tell more from the mouth than the top part of his face (of course). "And would you like my eyes, to boot? You'd get the best of both worlds—as they're brown, too, in the irises, but from what they radiate, you'd still be a 'redhead,' sort of."

"Hmm. I guess that makes us both redheads, then, doesn't it?" She spread her hands slowly across his chest, then ducked in at him. "Give me your ginger ass, now!"

She was certainly always full of fight, as much as was he, if not moreso. Madelyne grabbed at him all over, at several denuded parts because she liked her man au naturel.

In turn, Scott grabbed at a couple of accoutrements on his snuggling spouse that he requested she wear, on occasion, which always turned him on. Perhaps because his own pair of peepers was perpetually shadowed by shades, the man had a thing for pairs of parts being covered. What inevitably resulted from this was not only a shoe fetish, but a major boot one, the huger the better, to the point where if Mads wore hip waders to bed—which in fact she did on this evening in particular—Scott would "arrive" in a sexual sense to an amount that could saturate the Bering Strait.

What she brought to the table, er, bed, herself was her own quirky penchant for medals and medallions. She would quip that her name was an anagram for "Medal Yen," and go on and on endlessly about how so many small gold circles chronicled the successes of her somewhat spotty existence. For some reason the woman couldn't remember all of the years that came before, but what she could recall, she measured by medals. The ones she garnered from placing in local biathlons. The ones she secured from nearby intramural softball tourneys—the pitcher of the season.

The one she cherished more than anything, and which was girding her rosy throat right now, which Scott gave her for their one year anniversary. To The Most Memorable Maiden in All of Alaska, it was engraved—and boy was it ever true (at least until the 2008 Presidential Elections anyway). For My Cuddlin' Queen, it said on the back.

And Scott would kiss the medallion he made for her as it played between her bra-freed bosoms—then of course he would kiss said bosoms, especially the undersides, then he would smooch smotheringly at the bared belly, and then he would literally lick away along the lengths of her navy blue boots, endlessly up and down.

And so the pair went at one another for the next several minutes, as the baby stirred a bit in his sleep while the clock struck X, as two hours from midnight a murder of mutant-massacring emeffers commenced to mill around the Summers' wintery residence from all sides.

A moment later, Maddy mwahing abruptly off her spouse's mouth and darting a glance left, then rightward: "Did you hear that?"

"Mmmnh?"

"I heard something."

She gathered her hip-wading self off her cushy quotidian altar of love and started for the bedroom window.

"Lynne, wait."

Mads kept on, proceeding for the far dormer, thinking of the other two members of her close, intimate familial team before herself all the while. "Scott, I could swear I heard…"

By now the Clops was full into clothes—no uniforms or anything, mind you, but just a sweater and khakis, comfortable and flexible enough for anything unexpected. (His wife wouldn't let him have denims or corduroys because their more common, popular moniker happened to be homophonically synchronous with the most hateful syllable she'd ever heard in her entire patchy existence).

But it was that goddamn syllable that she could swear she heard out there, repeating, throbbing, kind of as it did ever so lightly when she and Scott were listening to that terrible…

"Maddy, GET DOWN!"

She turned just in time to encounter her man's form tackling her to the bedroom floor. Above them, a spear crashed and caromed through the sanctum, the projectile charged red and shearing straight through the wall closest to the door.

Immediately Scott summoned himself back up off the floor and sprinted for the window, heedlessly. He tore off his glasses and belted off a blast instantaneously, but the laser only shot through unoccupied snow.

Beneath them, a knock sounded on the front door.

Then a heavy thump followed.

Then a full-bore bash that tore the thing completely off its mooring.

Summers shot a look at Pryor-Summers. "Maddy, listen," he said, "I'm going down there…"

"No, no, no, you can't," she protested, holding him firmly by the shoulders, "you call the Xes and they'll come for us. Kurt'll teleport everyone in, I'm sure of it…"

"He can't cover that kind of distance, and carry that many people fast enough, listen to me. You and Christopher stay up here, I'll throw up a rifle and rounds in a minute. You two just sit tight."

"Scott," she said as her man initiated the most stressful act of leaving his wife and child that he ever would initiate in this reality, "…I love you."

"And I love you, with all my heart, soul, and being."

He headed off, knowing full well that he would never reach a light switch, much less that rifle or rounds. When he reached the top of the stairs, he beheld only the shadowy outlines of furniture on the landing.

Ever so carefully Cyke maneuvered himself down the steps. Upstairs, Madelyne ushered herself and her son into the walk-in.

As Scott neared the middle of the stairwell, realizing that he still did not make any of the owners of what sounded like a dozen pairs of feet issuing into his home, he noted the mirror that hung by the coat closet in the rec room. Since there were apparently so many intruders in his place, he figured, What the hell.

The optic blast that reflected off the pane a second later lugged with it the luck of Longshot, as it scored the back of the cranium of the tough who took down his front door. With an "aghhk" the hulking figure toppled to the Summers' foyer floor.

Cyke hit the floor feet-first himself as he whirled to encounter the cluster of other enemies who all faced him now. One or two of them were checking on Blockbuster, the largest of their number, who was now out cold on the ground. A spindly figure pranced over and flipped the lights on as the confrontation ensued.

"Whoever you are, get the hell out of my home, right now."

A purple-haired minx by the door chuffed instantly at this. And it sure as hell wasn't Psylocke (of either flavor, Occident or Orient). "Shhyeah. You're really gonna take down friggin' all of us, all by yourself."

"Can always give it the old Mansion try!" he said, somewhat cornily just as he dove to the side and a crustier gentleman seemingly decked out only in metal lifted a sophisticated pistol and fired his way.

In his descent, Scott blasted away at the cream-jelly-swirl of a person who had flipped the light switch a second ago and was now winging shurikens liberally his way. Despite being in midflight, and despite his target's spinning off, Summers' blast caught the man right in the middle of his gyration, taking the man known as Riptide quickly down for the count.

Then, just as Arclight was about to slam her hands down and literally bring down the house, Scott caught the motion out of the corner of his evolved eyes and glanced another shot just lightly enough off the window to strike her in the neck, knocking her out cold as well.

Encouraged by the Marauder-mowing momentum he was starting to get going, Cyclops took again to his feet, beginning to sprint across to try and reach the firearms in the back.

When the scenery all around him began to shift and shuffle, kind of like the way his mind would mix itself up in his frequent nightmares about fire and life incarnate—which in this reality he feared fervently—Slim slowed in his tracks.

"Don't resist," said a silky, sultry voice belonging to a girl whose body looked as crème de menthe as Riptide appeared vanilla-grape. She spread her arms wide alongside the resident homeowner superior, the Vertigo powers ensuing from the eponymous attacker ensuring his near-complete incapacitation. "That's my little Spazclops."

"Ain't nearly as much a spaz now as what I can make him!"

"Oh, God, Kim…you don't have to bother, I…"

But the most ordinary-appearing of the Marauding band had already held his hand atop the Clops' head, living up to his own codename as he Scrambled Scott's brain and abilities such that the latter started throwing his lethal looks every which way.

"Get down, Verts!" cried Kim Il Sung (the thug, and not the legendary Korean democratic republic leader) as he took the lime lady down to the floor, all the while Scott's optic emissions firing all over the ground floor. The hero did all he could to focus downward—or at least what he thought was downward, given his state of artificially-induced disorientation—praying all the while that his bursts were striking out at the right targets, and not at his beloved home team of son and wife.

Miraculously, a moment later Scott started seeing the right way up, and given that it was evening in Alaska and his powers were fueled by solar energy, his blasts were starting to burn out anyway—even despite the oncoming Northern Lights that night, which were powered by solar winds. (The Lights weren't to be at full strength for at least another twenty minutes anyway, so Scott was in th direst of straits right now). He managed to make it to the shed adjoining his house, where the rifles were…

…only to run headlong into another fright, made mostly of glass and white light.

With what he had left, Scott belted out another beam. The projectile shunted directly at his foe—then bounced this way, careened that, and ended up striking him back straight in the face.

This alone didn't take him down, but the follow-up punch or five by the Prism, after Scott was suitably distracted, did the trick.

Prism shrugged sheepishly as he began to gather up the man of the house and guide his unconscious body back to the home's foyer.

"Scotty, my boy…" started an ashen-white powerhouse of perversion as Cyke was obliviously ushered back into his homestead, "what happened to you at the orphanage is nothing—nothing- compared to what's to come."

Above, Madelyne heard her husband's optic blasts cease and started panicking. She stood up stock from her hiding place in the closet—assuring herself that her baby son was tucked away carefully in a corner—and started out as cautiously as she could. The lady was still in her peculiar getup of hip waders, diminutive navy underpants and gold medallion, but she didn't think much about it as she considered instead her own urge to survive.

When a meaty, reddish hand threw itself up over the sill of the window smashed minutes ago by an errant spear, Mads froze a second, then dove to the floor for something she espied an instant preceding.

"It's useless to do anything foolish, lady," said the Inuit warrior as he bothered not to look even to his would-be victim, but rather to the weapons in his slung-over quiver. "Harpoon's gonna make it so yaaAGH!"

The Eskimo assailant went down from the unexpected strike to the back of the knee with the container Madelyne wielded. Before he could get up, the maddened medal-lover above him came in and brained him with the brand-named container.

(Of course, appropriately enough, the item was an Igloo.)

(Ba-dum-effing-TISH.)

For a minute, Madelyne felt a pumped from taking the intruder down…but the growing commotion beneath her unsettled her soon enough back into panic mode. Heedlessly she started off toward the balcony…

…Only to get tangled up in the bordering blue curtain, which the wind seemingly inexplicably kicked up at the last second. Most unceremoniously the woman went down with the entire drape, striking her head as she went.

From below, the compound S-name asses known as Sabretooth and Scalphunter started for the stairs. Other than the Inuit, no one was commissioned to start the invasion topside. Maybe it was because it was Harpoon's near-to-home turf, around here in Alaska, that he was given the honor of going it alone upstairs.

In any case, though, S and S made their way to the bottom step of the stairwell, when of a sudden they swore they could hear a baby—the baby, whom they were all sent to retrieve—crying from over in the very shed from which they fetched Scott. Feverishly the Sabre and the Hunter ran on over to check it out, while the remaining Marauders gathered around the out-of-action Cyclops and their mystery, Mistery master.

While all this was occurring, upstairs Madelyne lay out of action herself, her infant safe and sound just feet away in the walk-in, yet his screaming little cry sounding downstairs, his voice thrown by trick, courtesy of forces from the polar opposite of Paradise.

Seems like you're in some trouble, lady, said a gruff voice emanating from a pudgy purple humanoid, a member of those polar-opposite forces now standing before the bewildered wife in an eerily gold-glittering chamber. Mad could swear she could catch what appeared to be a towering green figure with a horselike head a bit over the other being's shoulder.

In fact, the latter continued, I'd say you could really use a…hand…

The being extended his own so that the palm faced himself and the back faced the lady. On one of the black, black fingernails reflected Madelyne's face, but twisted into a look of fury and vengeance.

Back in the waking world, Sabre and Scalp were scampering up the steps after a completely fruitless foray for the child in the shed. They could have sworn the tyke was there from all the wailing they knew they heard on ground level. Upon catching wind of the cries of Christopher on the second floor, now, the hunters readied themselves into position on either side of the closed, locked master bedroom door.

Each of the men had his back to the wall for a moment, ready for the verbal signal from the pallid cad downstairs to break down the door. Scalphunter ratcheted his customized rifle into ready position, but the satisfying sound of it was cut a bit from what sounded like maddened shrieking on the other side of the wall.

"-OU WANNA PLAY GAMES?! OH-KAY! YOU' WANNA PLAY ROUGH?!"

Scalps looks to Sabes and they shared a mutual shrug.

Before they could perk up their ears to listen for their boss's word, though:

"SAY 'ALLO TO MY LITTLE BUNDLE OF JOY!"

(BRASSSHHHOOOOOOOOOMMMMM)

Both men were shunted from their feet into the air and onto opposite sides of the second floor landing. It took about a minute for each of the assassins to shake out the cobwebs, with Sabretooth reaching his feet sooner than Scalphunter. The latter, as he began to gather himself into a sitting position from his state of splay seconds before, noticed his mark emerging from the wreckage of the room he and his compatriot had just tried to invade. What she was dressed in was near…indescribable—but it was far more suggestive and alluring than anything his universe's code would ever before have allowed. The woman was decked out in hip waders, which per se might have been a trifle goofy were it not for the remainder of her raiment which rendered them rather enticing. She otherwise had on navy blue underpants, trimmed very briefly for bedroom-seductive purposes most likely—and was she wearing her bedroom's curtains, which incidentally matched the panties, as sleeves and a shawl?!

Sabretooth didn't seem to care about the clothing's curiosities, as he launched himself at the lady, going instantly for the kill. His target merely raised a hand up and caught him by the throat, then threw him over the side of the second floor railing to join his fellow Marauders below.

When she then turned, the other hunter beheld the most peculiar thing about the woman's costume: centered at the chest was a large gold medallion, perhaps cinching together the drapes enshrouding her shoulders. Instinctively Scalphunter raised his rifle, at the same time that Madelyne raised the rug.

Yes, with a wave of her hand, the mistress of the Summers household caused the very carpet of the second floor to uproot itself and curl itself tidally into her would-be murderer. The last thing Scalps saw before the plane of tacky fabric overtook him was a gaping demonic maw widening from the center of the several square feet flowing his way.

Below, the remaining foes collected themselves together to get on with the execution of the Clops already. Mads took notice of this just as the baby googooed from the center of the concussive-blasted bedroom.

What caused those concussions was no mere yellowish streak of power from the point of the lady's forefinger. Undertstanding the full dynamic of her destructive power as she scooped up her son—as she scooped up, indeed, the very cause of the demolition of her haven's wall—Madelyne bounced the boy along in her arms as she reached the railing to address her enemies.

"You think you can take me down, chumps?!" she yelled, adding a haughty "p" to the end of one of her favorite sobriquets. She looked to Scrambler, who was holding an unconscious Cyclops by the head as the latter lay on his back. The brazen rascal was doing all he could to summon the Summers' blasts even as the man was at the moment steeped in oblivion.

Enraged, Madelyne raised her infant son in reply—the child radiating magnificent magenta now—and she hurled him abruptly down to the foyer, right in the center of the small circle including Prism, Vertigo, and the aforementioned, undemocratic Kim Il Sung.

(SHHHHH-BRASSSHHHOOOOOOOOOMMMMM)

The ensuing blast brought all the remaining Marauders to their backs and/or asses (except for their pallid leader, of course, as well as his leading lady who for the moment were safely out of range). The unconscious form of Scott Summers was not out of range of the blast, and his body was consumed by the concussive force of it all—but Maddy batted not an eye at this, and with good reason.

"GAAAAAAAAAAAYYY-YYYOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH!

"HOW YOU LIKE THAT…YOU MARAUDICONS?!"

The explosion-mauled Marauders writhed on the floor below while the woman upstairs smiled cruelly upon finishing this other sort-of-line from Scarface—which Madelyne and Scott viewed not long ago on Betamax, and which the lady loved in a free associational sense, as she had piloted many flights to South America per se, especially to Colombia which she loved for the city of Medellin—a place she loved mainly for its name, as it sounded not only like "Madelyne" but even more so like "Medallion"—the object that she fetishized and which crowned her chest at the moment. (And yes, both Miss Pryor and this author knew that the chief South American locale involved in the Pacino film was Cochabamba (Bolivia) and not Colombia—close enough, anyway).

At any rate, Madelyne now raised her hand, and, an instant later, she uttered yet another line issued by Tony Montana a few decades back, as well as by a travestied and arguably-so-far-fallen rendition of Jean Grey appearing in a crisis of celluloid that emerged only a couple of weeks ago:

"COME TO ME!"

…the infant she flung to the floor impossibly reconstituted itself, the non-PeteDohertyian babyshambles assembling together to become Nathan Christopher once more. The tyke yelped in utter amusement as he was psychically brought back to his mother's arms a second later.

So how, do you ask…?

Maddy thought about it herself as she bounced her son a bit more, looking a bit ruefully at the remains of her husband but nodding confidently that she could fix it in another few minutes, once she rid herself of all these unwanted guests. Even now, all the Marauding mothas were making for the door as best they could, dragging themselves along with bodies intact but aching as all heck. Across from the house's mistress, the carpet balled itself up once again and burped Scalphunter out the side window, the poor Native tumbling to the snow below just as his Inuit compatriot Harpoon was being similarly carpet-catapulted out of the lady's bedroom.

The why of it all was beyond Madelyne's ken, but at least she knew how her new literal baby-booming abilities worked, insofar as she was aware that she could charge up her child with energy, then launch him like an explosive shell, then collect him back up good as new. Madelyne knew that the "collecting up" part came from her demon benefactors' reactivating her healing powers as Anodyne, from a lark in Asgard she enjoyed a short while back—and she surmised that her ability to call Christopher to her hand was an associative ability granted a number of Norse gods—most notably Thor, who could boomerang Mjolnir back to him upon the deity's command. It was the whole "explosive" part of it that escaped her—

-But that too was about to be revealed, at least to the reader, as she was about to be reunited with the man who brought not only the lady herself into being, but also, according to a tale about "The End" penned by the Governor of Claremontana, the man known chiefly for his ability to charge up and chuck—arguably the most overused and groan-inducing goofball in the mutant menagerie: the gallant-yet-galling Gambit.

(Whom this author could not bring to bring to this tale, as he had neither the digestive fortitude to perpetrate such, nor the asperity to wreak the corny Cajun upon both of his readers out there).

Of course, there were other abilities which the woman wielded, consistent with the talents that so many condemned creatures bestowed upon her just before a most Infernal time in the X-Cadres' history. Madelyne employed these additional potencies now just as her gruesome guest of honor was trying to make his way out the front door, he now thoroughly spooked from the display of power he saw from her and wishing to retreat and regroup.

But first, Madelyne, even without catching sight of the principal intruder: "Oh, but departing from our company so soon…?"

With a snap of her fingers, Mad made Sinister slide into her field of vision, at the foot of the staircase.

"Nice parlor trick, Tryhard," he began, the steely foe matching Maddy's vindictive gaze as the lady looked him up and down, disgusted at the enemy before her.

"What did you just call me?!" the Steeleye Span namesake shot back, at the same time she feeling little Christopher become a bit heavier in her arms. She propped him up on one shoulder and burped him, she not losing one mote of the mother she had always been.

Sinister knew his ghoulish goose was cooked, but he figured that if his time had come, he had to go down snarking nonetheless. "Maudlin…Jeanifer…Tryhard," he grunted, thoroughly running the woman's name through the mud, er…frozen dirty slush (it was Alaska). "That's what you are. That's all you are. Just all overemotional and trying so hard to fill that other redhead's green miniskirt, and matching yellow booties and mask.

"But you can call me FATH…"

"Fathead."

"?!"

Mads closed her eyes a moment and allowed a grin to spread across her flawless countenance. "You're a fathead, Sinister—Nathaniel—I know exactly who you are. It took only a minute, with my newfound abilities, the magnitude of which you cannot begin to comprehend. I know everything you're going to tell me, about how my entire past is false, how I was born not in a hospital in Alaska but a laboratory in Nebraska, how I'm just a carbon copy of some overprivileged princess in the overrated Empire State. I've already learned it from your own brain banks, and you know what? It's a few seconds later, and I'm already over it.

"Scott loves me more than he ever loved the professor's priss. I can read it even now in his remains." And Madelyne would be sure to repair those remains in another several minutes—but, to be safe, she couldn't lay that card down to this Sinister sleaze. "He sees me as the redhead romance he's always wanted—we're Alaskans (and screw your cornhusking nonsense), we're pilots, we're introverts…we're soulmates. I'm MUCH more of a match for him than whore-duhr-oy Jeans ever was. And her monstrification into the Phoenix only sealed the fate of his first 'love.'"

(NB: All due respect to the state of Nebraska; this author meant no offense to that American component, or its inhabitants.)

(NB: This author did mean it when busting on the Empire State (New York) just now, though.)

"And besides," Madelyne continued, "Scott loves me because I have bigger boots than Jean ever did. Much bigger boots."

Sinister strained his ear. "I'm sorry…did you just say…?"

"No. Boots…BOOTS, you perv." Almost as if the babe in her arms heard incorrectly as well, Nathan Christopher reached up a bit in his mother's arms, a look in his infant eyes as if he wanted to suckle. Mads softly turned his face the other way. "Though what you thought you heard…for the record, those are bigger also."

Shaking his head in his frozen, transfixed state: "Man, I should have just kept you with me at home, after I made you."

The lady in charge sniffed. "Well, since I'm sending you packing, you illegitimate spawn of a drunken evening between Colossus and Dracula, I'll let you leave with a little…consolation prize. What you came here for, after all."

"Madelyne, please…"

"No, no, I insist. You terrorized my family, with your lyrical leviathan a few days ago. You paid a visit with your dozen insipid douches.

"You came here for my little Christopher," she shouted, bouncing the baby more and more rapidly, to get him to wax magenta all over…

"TAKE HIM…HE'S ALL YOURS!"

Before Sinister could even blink, Madelyne had charged her child again, full to flush fuchsia—the her energy for this originating from the same solar source as the ammunition on which he husband relied…and she with the benefit of the solar-powered Aurora Borealis behind her now—and the lady fired her baby straight at her anemic enemy, striking him straight in the center of his gothically clothed yet thoroughly untrimmed chest.

(NB: Must…avoid…any more Train references…)

(SHHHHH-BRASSSHHHOOOOOOOOOMMMMM)

And again with the baby boom, and the reconstitution and the calling back to his mother's arms.

(Warning, by the way: Babies in actuality are not indestructible (or at least reconstructible). Do not attempt.)

She remained atop the stairs, looking satisfied at the black ash stain where Sinister once stood, looking sadly at the crumpled cremains of her husband, even though she could fix the latter in an instant.

Maddy also noted mentally that there was one more Marauding guest who stayed behind now, more out of fear than defiance. She waved her hand once more to make Malice materialize in the place where her bombed-out boss was a minute preceding.

"Pl…please," sputtered the possessed Polaris in her paralysis, "sp…spare me…"

Even despite her inherent insidiousness and shamelessness, Malice knew when she was outmatched. She prayed that she would not share the fate of her superior and some of her peers.

Now Madelyne took it upon herself to usher herself to the ground floor at last, with babe in tow. She strolled right up to her last remaining guest and grabbed at her neck.

"Nice choker you have there," she said, nabbing the necklace right off of the altered Lorna's throat. "Though I must say…in my household, I'm the one who wears all the benighted bling."

With a flourish Madelyne destroyed the base bauble, knowingly and generously freeing Lorna Dane from the Malicious spiritual prison to which she was confined. "Now go," she told the other woman, "I sense that mutants in Manhattan are in need of a sturdy Summers; your love Alex can fit the bill just nicely, and you should join him. Go; go on," Maddy prompted, "there's a snowmobile in the back. You can have it."

Nodding a bit nervously but thankfully also, Lorna mouthed a "thank you" and spirited herself off and away.

As she watched the woman go into the night, Madelyne thought a bit more about Alex. Like his brother, he's a good man—a real morsel, actually, and I can honestly say I'm a bit jealous of old Lor. Perhaps in another life, I might have liked to…with the younger Summers…ah, nevermind.

"Have fun with a nice little love triangle in the 'Factor, with you and your man—and Bobby, of course," she added, a bit naughtily, to the chill night air.

She stood satisfied for a minute, glad to have taken out the genetic garbage with style as she did. Later she would remind herself to pay a little interdimensional visit to the ones who activated her abilities-N'astirh and his creep compatriot, the grape galoot, S'ym—and thank them, too, most threateningly and viciously. They would never control her, or interfere with her beloved family.

Those demonic dolts had completely underestimated the one whom he thought would be their charge, but who rather was in charge. What neither demon could begin to understand, which was the theme of this entire tale, was this:

One consumed by rage, one like the Madelyne of the mainstream reality, she could be manipulated, at least for a little while, by those steeped in perdition.

But one fueled by familial love that was functional and strong—which was the Madelyne of this reality, thankfully for her—she belonged to others first. Belonged to two other powerful male presences, to be exact.

And their names were not N'astirh and S'ym, but Nathan Christopher and Scott—and they belonged to her in turn.

Now she had to go and reunite the Summers clan—with a little merrymaking being in order, of course, along with it.

She went over and kneeled by the ashy essences that were once her husband until several minutes ago. Utilizing her Anodyne abilities to full capacity, Madelyne waved her curtain-sleeved arms, and Presto! There was Phillip Summers's pilot grandson, lying completely alive and intact before the woman once more.

"Unn…"

Scott looked up at his wife, shaking out the cobwebs a bit, then blanching at her outrageous getup that appeared to be the embodiment of both their fetishes, embellished. Maddy could see him blinking in disbelief even behind his glasses. "Umm…(cough)…hi," was all he could manage.

"Hi, yourself," she said, graciously and gratefully, as she embraced her husband passionately and engaged him in a breathtaking kiss.

This was just the beginning of Slim's bewilderment, in any case, as the man in the next several minutes watched as his abode evolved into a most fiendish-looking stony shrine, with etchings of devils designed all around.

"Maddy…what…?"

She looked down at her lover as he continued to lay in his place. "Oh; I just decided to redecorate a bit, in light of my new…talents. I thought this place needed some livening up, you know?"

And boy, did the place ever liven up, as Madelyne raised a hand, then squeezed it abruptly shut, causing a host of small green demons to appear out of nowhere. There must have easily been about a hundred of them, and they all gazed at Scott and Christopher gleefully.

In response to this, Scott made a hand toward his glasses…but then found that he couldn't remove them. "Don't be rash," called his wife from the far end of the floor, the kitchen now transmogrified into a hellish furnace. "Unlike the Moronauders from earlier tonight, these guests are welcome ones. They mean us no harm."

"I don't…understand."

"You don't have to. You're retired now; you've done all you've needed to do in your life, my love. And now, my little servants and I are going to take over everything. You just lie back and relax.

"Neither of us are going to the grind of international flights for North Star anymore, Scotty. I'm sending these boys," she indicated all the cantankerous kobolds around her, "to nab a shipment of maple syrup over in Saskatchewan—it's worth millions."

(NB: It's been done before, in real life; perhaps a good idea for anyone willing to risk freedom for some extra cash).

"We'll be set for life, Mister Summisters—as well as in our unholy afterlife."

Scott shook his head feverishly, believing all this at first to be the strangest dream or…nightmare (he couldn't decide which, as in this reality he loved Maddy unconditionally…but these demons!) he'd ever had. He decided not to say anything more for the moment, trying to take it all in.

She came over to his side, motioning toward his torso. He realized for the first time that he was in the same kind of tempting tatters in which his wife was bedecked, in a similar navy blue (but no gleaming medallion for him). Also with no medallion, but with similarly sketchy attire now, was even Nathan Christopher, who had on a shredded bib and diaper OKAY LET'S ALL MOVE OFF OF THAT!

(This author wanted to describe only just marginally the transformed clothing of the infant child; no one with a healthy mind needed to deliberate on the scant togs of a toddler.)

(Of course, only the healthiest of Machine-conniving minds could conjure the scant togs of the possessed Madelyne, barely-there clothing which was completely appropriate for ten-year-olds such as, at that time, this author/once-young-precocious-comic-book-reader who needed to have adolescence thrust upon him a few years early and singlehandedly by Miss Pryor's latent eighties demon's wear).

(Not that this author is completely complaining about it, mind you.)

Anyway, the demons in the wings closed in on the family, not to consume but to kumbaya with them as the aurora outside finally began to shine, as a couple of the goblins took up lutes and began to strum. "They're here to housewarm us, Scott, with a song," explained the magnificent Queen Madelyne, as she spread her arms across the wonder of her new converted home. "Well, I suppose it's not really a house anymore, for now, but still.

"And in terms of the entertainment for this evening, since with my demonic powers, I can inexplicably and anachronistically pull future cultural minutiae such as popular songs from the years to come…since we now live in a stone temple…and since we're pilots…I thought at first about borrowing a song from another Scott, in fact, one by the surname of Weiland. But then I put it aside, and went a bit further into the future; I ended up finding a perfect tune for the occasion… and one sung one by another devil, who shares not yours but your grandfather's, our North Star employer's name…none other than an artist who goes in the netherworld by the name of F'ilup F'ilup F'ilup F'ilup F'ilup F'ilup F'ilup F'ilups F'ilups. (And there're no fairy ukuleles in this fine number, trust me.)

"Anyway, I hope you enjoy this, babe."

She motioned for one of the creatures around to start up the tune, which he did duly as Madelyne stood before her man, cleared her throat, and started to belt out the melody.

[DUM DA DUM DUM, DUM DA DUM DUM, DUM DA DUM DUM, DUM DA DUM DUM…]

Hold on, to me as we go

As we roll down this Anchoragey road

And although this snooooowww (Background Kobolds: snoooooowww) is sledding us along…

Just know you're not alone,

Cause I'm gonna make this bitch your home.

[Goblins: CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP]

Settle down (ooooohhh), it'll all be clear!

Please pay some mind to these demons, they'll fill you with cheer!

Marauders, they might drag you down,

But if you're lost to me, you'll always be found,

Just know you're not alone,

Cause I'm gonna make this bitch your home.

[CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP]

Ohh, ohh-ohh, ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh,

Ohh, ohh, ohh, ohh, ohh,

Ohh, ohh-ohh, ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh,

Ohh, ohh,

Ahh, ohh-ohh, ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh,

Ahh, ohh, ohh, ohh, ohh,

Ahh, ohh-ohh, ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh,

Ohh, ohh,

All the while, Madelyne danced livelier than she ever remembered, in this awe-inspiring "bitch" that was the new very-demonically-convertible home of the Summers.

Whether the dance was more of the "jig" kind, before Scott (for those readers more about empowerment of female protagonists), or "lap" kind, upon Scott (for those readers more about exploitation of, er…fascination with the female form), this author will leave it up to the given reader to choose his or her own adventure on that detail.

(Though this author must say that it is nearly physically impossible to conceive of anyone perpetrating a lapdance set to the music of Phillip Effing Phillips).

[CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP]

Settle down (ooooohhh), it'll all be clear!

Don't pay no mind to the Phoenix, she phills you with phear!

Thoughts out in space make you frown,

If you go up you will always come down,

Just know you're not alone,

Cause I'm gonna make this bitch your home.

[CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP]

Ohh, ohh-ohh, ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh,

Ohh, ohh, ohh, ohh, ohh,

Ohh, ohh-ohh, ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh,

Ohh, ohh,

Ahh, ohh-ohh, ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh,

Ahh, ohh, ohh, ohh, ohh,

Ahh, ohh-ohh, ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh,

Ohh, ohh,

[CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP]

Regardless of the type of aforementioned dance, Maddy ended up in her husband's arms, where she would remain. Each spouse found the love of his or her life, and they had Nathan Christopher between them, the little wonder trying to clap all along with the demons in tow.

Everything was perfect as the Aurora Borealis continued to radiate over the set-back home of the Summers. Though demons abounded in the abode, the place was paradise for this warm, loving home team.

Mads waved for the lute-strumming creatures to go one more verse, which the lady sung closely, cautiously, and softly into her husband's features:

Settle down (ooooohhh), it'll all be clear!

Don't pay no mind to Vejeansus, she fills us with tears!

Thoughts of the States drag you down

If you leave, you will always be fou—

[CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP, CLAP]

She was going to utter the rest of her little musical somewhat-of-a-faint-threat to Scott, but she never had the chance, as the man locked her lips with his own before she could finish.

Which was just as well, because Madelyne decided a moment later that anything remotely close to a threat was never necessary with this man, this wonderful hero who was always there for her from the beginning and always would be.

He looked to the gleaming golden centerpiece of her new otherworldly outfit. "You're my Cuddlin' Queen, Miss Medallion Pryor," he said.

She smiled, widely and wildly. "And you, chum, are my Cuddlin' Prince."

"No way…I'm your Cuddlin' King."

Her eyes glowed with glee. "You're my little ginger fuck!" she cried playfully, carefully kissing his glasses' lenses.

Scott was just as ecstatic as was his wife. He finally had his moderately-dominating maiden fantasy fulfilled, in the love of his life, which technically could still be thought of to have begun with a J.

Not a Jean, but a Jennifer, to be exact: Madelyne Jennifer Pryor-Summers.

And Mad reached her own fulfillment through her man, her child, and her old regained healing abilities, as well as her new occultish ones. Scott would know now who was wearing the tiny blue underpants in the relationship, that was for certain.

But her love persisted, pure and unadulterated. A beat and several creature-claps later, Madelyne, passionate and sincere: "I love you, so much, Scott. So very much."

"And I love you, Maddy." He hugged her tightly, not daring to let go. "Always, Milady."

And so the two continued to kiss and cuddle as the demons all around completed the tune, then vanished, leaving their mistress to her husband and son and converting the home back to its ordinary, previously-undamaged configuration.

And as a postscript, Hank meanwhile hung out in the Awful Apple of New York, slightly amused at Bobby's antics against Alex in the name of his love for Lorna, while Warren and Jean enjoyed a love which might never have happened, but for the alterations of this particular reality.

Lastly, Logan was alone, or at least without the Marvelous Matron of the Mansion that was Jean, as c**kblocking the overexposed Canuck has always been this author's day job.