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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21

The Cast of Shadows - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by NicoPony
Last updated: 04/17/2007 12:31:03 AM

Chapter 19

Jean watched as Xavier constructed a basic cube out of the same clear and slightly iridescent material he’d used to plug the hole in her broken wall. The cube set down upon a solid base. Evenly spaced gaps appeared in the surface of the box, forming the bars of a cage. Then Xavier turned to her and gestured her near.

“Jean,” he said. “I need your help to strengthen this cage.”

“Do you really trust me to do this?” Jean asked. “I was the one who freed him in the first place.”

Xavier shook his head in dismissal of her comment. “The wall you built was amazingly solid. I could use the same kind of fortification with this. When I first imprisoned Shadow, I was foolish enough to allow him some freedom of movement. At the time, I hadn’t the same kind of confidence you have now.”

“Please,” Jean said, looking away. “Don’t try to pay me any compliments. I know what I did was stupid. My confidence turned me into a monster.”

“That was Shadow’s influence,” Xavier said sharply.

She looked at him, doubt etched in her features. “I’ll try to help,” she said uncertainly. She approached the bars of the cage and concentrated. She imagined the rough-hewn walls of her world, the formidable strength of the bricks. When she looked up at the cage, she found it to have changed from Xavier’s crystalline crate, to a stony prison of dark gray. An ugly cage for an ugly creature.

“Very good,” Xavier said, putting a hand on her shoulder. “Now, to find the monster.” He turned to look over his shoulder at Emma. “Are you ready, Emma?”

Emma jumped to her feet. “Yes!” she declared.

Xavier extended his hand to the girl. She took hold of his hand and held her free hand out to Jean. Then Jean and Xavier linked hands, completing the circle. “Together, we’ll blanket the area,” Xavier told them. The three bowed their heads as if in prayer. Bright blue light began to stream from Xavier, followed by Jean’s signature red glow. Lastly, Emma’s bright white light completed the trinity. The three colors spread from their small circle, spilling outwards like bright shadows. For several long moments, there was not a sound, until Emma gasped.

Both Jean and Xavier opened their eyes to look at the youngest telepath.

“I found him,” the girl whispered.

The X-Jet roared over the flat landscape, causing the grasses to toss in the wake of the aircraft.

“We’re getting close,” Beast said, studying the computer screen. “The signals are growing weaker.”

“I pray your hypothesis is correct,” Storm said. “And we are not flying in the opposite direction of the missing students.”

“There!” they heard Kitty exclaim. She was pointed dead ahead to the pale glint of white on the horizon. “It’s Sinister’s base!”

“Begin descent,” Storm told Beast, who nodded. “Kitty, we will have need of your powers. Will you be able to phase both Henry and I at once?”

Kitty sat rigid in her seat. She nodded her head once, her face determined. “If I can phase a jet through a mountain (5), you two should be a piece of cake!”

Storm smiled slightly. “Very good,” she said over the scream of the engine. The trio braced themselves against the powerful g-forces thrusting them forward. “Touchdown in ten…nine…”

5.) Episode 22: Joyride

Remy and Rogue backed cautiously away from the advancing robots. To their surprise, the robots did not pursue them, but gathered around their fallen comrade. Using their pincer appendages, they righted the upside-down robot.

The pair exhaled with relief. “Don’t do anything stupid again,” Rogue hissed.

“You’re stupid,” he snapped.

“Ah’m not, you are!”

Their argument was suddenly interrupted as they realized the robots had come to an abrupt halt. The little machines turned and quickly departed.

“Where are dey goin’?” Remy asked.

He was answered by a low growl. The pair whirled around. A huge beast of a man filled the hall. He took a sliding step forward into the light. “Sabretooth!” Rogue exclaimed.

Sabretooth snarled in response. His usually shaggy hair was cropped close to his skull, and he was clad only in a black uniform. Sabretooth’s gaze fixed on Remy, and the man leapt with a grace that defied his bulk. Remy dove to the side while removing a cylindrical object from his coat. Rogue intercepted Sabretooth’s leap. His claws missed their target, scraping hard against the floor on either side of Rogue’s head. Her hands came up and clamped onto Sabretooth’s face. Since she did not fear Remy’s touch, she hadn’t worn gloves. Her powers activated upon contact, and she could feel Sabretooth’s powers drawing into her body. She braced herself for the onslaught of memories that usually followed, but was shocked to find Sabretooth’s mind strangely empty. Despite her comparatively diminutive size, the strength she’d stolen from the big mutant allowed her to easily push his weight aside.

A shout of surprise drew Rogue’s attention, and a barrage of charged cards flew overhead. Rogue leapt to her feet to see Polaris standing in the hall. The girl’s face was blank and set. She raised her hands and Rogue could feel the prickle of static-charged air on her skin. There was a sharp hiss and the cylinder Remy held in his hand telescoped out into a staff. When Polaris stepped forward, he found the staff whisked from his hands. Polaris caught the staff in both hands with a sharp snap.

Rogue snarled, and her clawed fingers flexed. Her hair had become wild, her muscles swelled. She sprung at Polaris without thinking, animal instinct taking over. Rogue found herself caught in the stomach by the bo staff, which swept her up and smashed her into the ceiling. She hit the floor with a heavy thud; Sabretooth’s absorbed healing ability saving her from broken bones.

Another volley of charged cards exploded nearby, deflected at the last moment by a piece of sheet metal held aloft by Polaris’ powers. Several more panels joined the first, ripping free from the surrounding walls. The first whizzed over Rogue’s head and she narrowly escaped decapitation. Remy was able to evade the flying metal, which embedded in the wall behind him. He skidded across the floor on his knees, and whipped a single card in Polaris’ direction. She was momentarily without protection, and the card exploded against her chest. The charge was more flash than a killing force and the girl stumbled backwards, taken by surprise. She drew her arm across her dazzled eyes. Rogue stood, seeing an opportunity to strike.

She was drawn up short by the appearance of a dark figure looming out of the darkness behind Polaris. Her heightened senses recognized the figure, and she screamed out a warning. Polaris abruptly went rigid as three adamantium claws pierced through her chest. The green haired girl stared down in disbelief as blood ran in rivulets down her front. The claws were suddenly retracted, and Polaris fell to the floor gasping her final breaths.

Rogue’s eyes widened in horror as Wolverine stepped into the small pool of light. “Logan!” she gasped. She reacted, too late, as Wolverine leapt upon her. She managed to slip free from his attempt to drive her to the ground, but his sharp claws caught her in the side and sliced down her back. Rogue clutched her wounds and fell with a cry of pain. Wolverine was all ready on his feet, raising his fist to deliver the final blow.

Remy cried out in anguish: “No!”

A sharp whine and deafening explosion threw Wolverine back, as one of the metal panels whirred through the air. The sharp panel cut deep before detonating. Rogue screamed as she was showered in blood. Wolverine howled in excruciating pain.

She turned away from the carnage to look at Remy. Surely he hadn’t intended to kill Wolverine! He was swaying on his feet, staring blankly. He crumpled first to his knees, then fell back against the wall. Rogue watched in horror as the pink glow of energy surrounding Remy turned first to red and then to white.

“I’m trying to reabsorb it,” he whispered. “It’s too much…”

Rogue began to crawl forward, clutching her wounded side with one hand. “Remy…” she croaked.

He blinked slowly and leaned his head back against the wall. “Stay back, Rogue. I don’t know if I can contain it.” She saw him gasp in pain and close his eyes. His skin had turned a glowing white, and she was certain she could make out the details of the wall behind him through his body, as if he were transparent. Golden white dots of light detached themselves from his form. They both watched as the lights floated upwards to the ceiling, like dancing fireflies. The charged particles drifted down around them, disintegrating against the walls, the floor, and Rogue’s skin. He was growing more and more transparent by the moment.

“Remy stop!” she cried.

He shook his head, and his mouth formed the word ‘no’, though no sound issued forth. “…sorry…” he mouthed, and smiled softly. By the time she reached his side, there was nothing but the faintest traces of his form left. She extended her hand to his cheek, but found that her hand passed through his body. The lights flickered and began to fade, a faint mist-like glow drifted around her.

And then he was gone.

Rogue screamed an inarticulate cry, throwing herself at the space Remy had once been. There was nothing but pale warmth on the metal floor. She pressed her cheek to the metal, her breath coming in ragged sobs. “Oh no, oh god no,” she moaned.

She watched as Wolverine managed to climb to his feet. His dark form plodded weakly towards her. Rogue made no move to escape.

Let him kill me, she thought, it doesn’t matter any more.

Shadow pulled himself free from the cloying weight of Jean’s body, re-emerging on the Astral Plane. Infuriated, he randomly searched out a new body, finding only four forms, two near death and one unconscious. The mind of Scott Summers was the only one left, and he was open and vulnerable. He readied himself to strike, but was suddenly caught off guard by a blinding white light. Shadow flinched back from the light, momentarily frozen like a deer in headlights. A small glowing shape appeared in the light, wearing a bright white party dress, her pale blonde hair blowing around her heart shaped face.

“I found him,” she said.

A second figure appeared, bathed in red light. She was tall and thin, her long red hair streamed forward. Her lips were set in a grim line, her green eyes cold.

Lastly, a figure in blue emerged. His body was composed of simple shapes, but the unmistakable crown of his dome shaped head and upswept eyebrows were instantly recognizable. Shadow bit back a snarl of fear. “Xavier!” he cried.

Shadow shrank back from the three telepaths. Jean’s eyes flicked away for a moment, her brows pinched together in confusion. Shadow risked a glance over his shoulder. A small flicker, like a dancing flame, was creating a disturbance on the Astral Plane. The flame became a girl.

The girl blinked as she looked about. “It’s my dream…” she said softly. Though her form was weak and pale, it was clearly Madelyne.

Shadow saw his opportunity. In one deft movement, he dove at the girl. She shrieked as he fell upon her prone form. Holding her shoulder in his jaws, Shadow turned to face the telepaths. The trio stood frozen, unsure of the next move. Shadow snarled. “Get back,” he growled. “Or she dies.”

“No!” Madelyne wailed. She dug her fingers into Shadow’s wrinkled muzzle.

When Xavier and the girls failed to move, Shadow gave Madelyne a vicious shake. She cried out in pain, and was thrown aside like a rag doll. There was a sudden moment of stillness and shock, giving Shadow a moment to escape. He quickly found the thread of Scott’s thoughts, and plunged.

A bright line of blue shot out, looping around Shadow’s neck like a noose. He found himself yanked back into the Astral Plane by Xavier. Jean ran to Madelyne’s side, holding the girl’s limp form. Shadow yanked back from Xavier’s pull.

Madelyne’s eyes rolled and finally came to focus on Jean. “My baby,” she whispered hoarsely.

“Madelyne, I’m sorry,” Jean said.

The girl was barely coherent. “Please…” she said. “Take care…” Her small hand reached out. Jean took her hand, only to find that Madelyne had placed something small and round in her palm. “Take care…” she said again.

“I will,” Jean told her. Madelyne sighed, and her thoughts dispersed. Her body faded and disappeared. Jean tucked away the object she’d been given.

Xavier was struggling with Shadow. Jean stood slowly, a long blade forming in her hand. Shadow suddenly lunged at Xavier. The man quickly sidestepped Shadow’s feint, and was nearly yanked off of his feet when the tether pulled tight. The struggle was so intense, neither participant noticed Jean’s approach until it was too late.

Her blade swiped down, slicing through the blue tether. Both Xavier and Shadow flew in opposite directions. There was a sound of clanging metal as Shadow struck the back of his cage. Emma made a sharp gesture with her hand, and the gate swung shut. Shadow let out a sharp yelp of pain. He righted himself within the cage and shook his shaggy head. Looking about with panic in his eyes, he began to scream.

“No! Nooo!”

Jean approached Xavier and helped him to his feet. “Are you all right?” she asked.

He nodded his head. “Yes, just tired.” He beckoned Emma closer. The girl was staring in grotesque fascination at the imprisoned Shadow. Before she ran to Xavier’s side, she stuck her tongue out at the angry creature.

“Nyah!” she said.

“I’m going to return,” Xavier told Jean, as he scooped Emma up in his arms. “Are you ready to go home?” he asked Emma.


“I’ll show you the way,” Xavier said with a smile, then turning to Jean he said: “Will you be all right?”

“I’ll be fine,” Jean replied. Xavier nodded at her, and both he and Emma vanished into multicolored ribbons and were gone.

Jean let out a long breath. Time to go home, she thought. She searched out her physical form. A cold wave of panic washed over her when she realized she could not return. She gasped and looked about. She was still on the Astral Plane. Jean made a second attempt, but found no trace of a line leading back to her body.

“No!” she screamed. To her dismay, Shadow began to laugh.

The door was blasted from its place by a bolt of lightning. Storm soared through the open doorway, held aloft on rushing winds. Beast bounded after her. Shadowcat clung to his back, her arms around his neck.

“Where would they be?” Beast asked. “This base is huge, it could take hours to navigate.”

Storm alit on the floor, her heels striking hard against the metal. “We will go down,” she said, looking at the floor. “Kitty?” she extended her hand to the young teen.

Beast plucked Shadowcat from his back as if she weighed nothing at all. He then set her on the ground. Shadowcat first took Storm’s hand, then Beast’s. “Last floor! Tires, socks, and ladies lingerie!” They then sunk through the floor, down into the depths of Sinister’s base. The floors whipped by, flight after flight. Shadowcat drew up short, finding herself out of breath. She reincorporated, becoming solid again. Beast landed in a crouch and Storm buffeted her landing with a breeze. Shadowcat, however, hit the floor with both feet, a sharp stinging sensation shot up her legs.

“Ow,” she said, before collapsing.

“Kitty!” Storm exclaimed, rushing to her side.

“Is she all right?” asked Beast.

Storm tested the girl’s pulse and listened to her breathing. “I believe she has just fainted from the strain.”

Storm looked up at their surroundings. They were in a poorly lit hall. A pair of double doors stood at one end. “Where are we now?” she asked.

Beast began to respond when he was suddenly cut off by a scream. The sound was akin to the cry of a bird. Both Storm and Beast put their hands to their heads. “This way!” Beast shouted, and bounded down the hall. Storm was hot on his heels. They burst through a door adjacent to the double doors at the hall’s end.

They were brought up short by a blast of red light.

“Scott!” Storm cried.

The boy was standing over Madelyne’s fallen body. He looked panicked and ready to fight.

“Relax, Scott!” Beast held up his large hands in a gesture of surrender. “What’s happened here?”

Scott’s hand went to his jaw. “Maddie,” he managed to mumble, pointing down at the girl. “Maddie!”

“By the Goddess,” Storm breathed. She ran past Beast to Jean’s body, which was sprawled on the floor. A pool of blood surrounded Jean. Storm leaned close to the girl’s face. Her breathing was weak and ragged. Stripping off her cape, Storm pressed the fabric to Jean’s bleeding wounds. “She is dying!” Storm cried.

“We have a situation over here,” Beast said grimly, looking up at Storm from where he crouched beside Madelyne. “She’s had a seizure. The baby is coming.”

Storm lifted Jean from the floor. “We must return to the X-Jet.”

“I’m afraid there’s not enough time for that!” Beast exclaimed.

Scott took hold of Beast’s arm, and gestured toward the door. “Mud lamb!” he said through clenched and bloody teeth. “Duwm dere!”

Beast stared at Scott for a moment, uncomprehendingly. “Med lab?” he asked. Scott fervently nodded his head, wincing in pain.

“Let’s go,” Beast told Storm, and he picked up Madelyne’s trembling body.

They hurried down the hall and burst through the double doors. Storm set Jean down onto the med lab floor. “Scott, come here,” she said. “Begin chest compressions.” Storm stanched the flow of blood with the gathered folds of fabric. Scott fell to his knees beside Jean’s body.

Beast laid Madelyne down on one of the steel tables. “Maddie, Maddie,” Beast sighed. “What have you gotten yourself into?”

Madelyne did not reply. Strength was quickly draining from her body and blood was pooling around her hips. In moments, she would be gone.

But her child would soon arrive.


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