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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
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30


Written by Valerie Jones
Last updated: 03/23/2007 01:26:56 AM

Chapter 3

Remi heard Rachel shouting at him as if from a very long way away. He knew she was probably close by, trying to get through to him, but he couldnít focus on her words enough to make them come clear. The time portal was always hard on him-- it violated several laws of physics in ways even Hank McCoy had been unable to explain, ripping a hole in reality to let him pass. It had been even worse this time, with Codyís wormhole gate operating inside of the portal. His mind boggled as he considered the state equations. But at least that meant his mind was working, even if his body wasnít yet.

He heard something that sounded like thunder rumbling around him and more distant voices. Suddenly the sounds sharpened as a jolt of adrenaline rushed through him. Rachel must have done that telekinetically, he guessed. The thunder became the roar of a nearby explosion and the voices were Rachel and Renee, mixed with a dozen others. Remiís eyes flew open onto chaos. He could see the iridescent fire of the telekinetic shield that enveloped himself and the two girls. Renee knelt beside him, one hand helping to support him as he climbed to his feet. She, too, could only stare as, all around them, human-looking monsters threw themselves at the shield, howling and slavering.

"What are they?" Remi asked.

"Hounds." Rachel stood behind them, arms raised, as she maintained her shield. "The other Rachel that went back in time before Mom and Dad were married was one."

"Whereís Cody?"

"Upstairs." Renee glanced upward and Remi realized that he had missed the true scope of the chaos they had landed in because heíd been so absorbed by the Hounds. Cody was, indeed, skyborne. The air around him seemed to ripple as he hovered inside a warped gravity field. Laser fire from two Sentinels bent and twisted around the field, leaving him untouched. As Remi watched, the torso of one of the Sentinels began to crumple under Codyís assault, as the local gravity became too much for the high-tensile alloy to cope with.

The other two Sentinels, one of which was headless, poured fire into several areas. One was a shield like Rachelís, and Remi recognized Jean Summers and Bishop inside the protective arc. The other was an area swarmed by Hounds. Remi caught flashes of familiar faces. Wolverine and Jubilee. A few others. The Sentinelsí fire rained down indiscriminately, killing Hounds by the dozen. But the X-Men dodged the blasts time and again. Fighter aircraft filled the sky in a dizzying montage of motion. All together, it was almost enough to overload Remiís spatial power, and he had to close his eyes for a moment to let his power sort the hundreds of moving bodies before he added visual information to the mix.

"Remi, do you know when we are?" Rachel asked him. Her eyes closed in concentration as a ground artillery piece turned its fire on them.

"No." Remi pulled a handful of throwing spikes out of his pocket. "But we canít be much more than twenty years in the past. If that much." He switched to telepathy. Link in, Rach. Give me a window in the shield. He felt her agreement, and began to charge the spikes he held. He pushed the charge for an extra couple of seconds and then, as Rachel opened a brief hole in her telekinetic shield, he threw. The mortar exploded violently. The nearest Hounds screamed as shrapnel ripped through them, followed by fire. Remi was aghast. He was used to using his powers, used to the violence of them, but people didnít scream and bleed and die in the danger room simulations. They were robots, or brood. Something inhuman. These things looked like they had been people once. And even on Shiíar, his combat training was only to first blood.

In that moment, things began to piece themselves together in his mind. "This never happened," he said.

Renee looked at him questioningly. Her powers were useless inside Rachelís shield, but Remi didnít blame her for staying there.

"This battle. It never happened in our history. It couldnít have."

"I know. The Shadow King was destroyed before Bishop ever arrived in our time." Rachel expanded her shield in a surge, bowling Hounds over. "And Mom doesnít know me. I made contact, so the X-Men know weíre helping them, but sheís too busy to answer questions."

Anything else Remi might have said was drowned out by a tremendous crash as one of the Sentinels collapsed under its own weight and then promptly exploded. He felt an instantaneous burst of concern and anger from Rachel.

"Geez, Cody! Warn me!" she muttered and the telekinetic shield winked out. Remi saw it reappear at the feet of the collapsing Sentinel as Rachel acted to protect the X-Men there. Then he and Renee had no time to think about anything as the Hounds surged over them. Reneeís bo staff appeared in her hands, and she spun it with effortless grace. The weapon was ancient, but it had been her fatherís and Renee refused to replace it. Remi scattered charged spikes, hoping that he wasnít killing too many of the Hounds. Their bodies littered the ground already, and he and Renee were simply adding to the pile. But, as they had been trained, they tried not to kill.

Then the shield was back, expanding out from them and driving the Hounds away. Remi breathed a sigh of relief.

"Remi." Remi looked around at the sound of his name. Rachel had taken up her earlier pose. "Would you mind ripping those Sentinels apart, please?" Her voice was full of forced patience and Remi glared at her. Just because she was three years older was no reason to always take that superior tone. But, superior tone or not, she did have a point. With the fiery death of their brother, the remaining three Sentinels had turned their firepower on Cody. His gravity field turned the beams so that none struck him, but his powers were useless against the heat dissipated in the process. He was slowly being cooked under the intense barrage.

Remi concentrated. It was much harder to launch one of his portals at a distance, but he succeeded after a moment. The swirling black circle appeared behind the most functional of the Sentinels. It grew rapidly, a black disk whose interior defied definition. The center of the disk formed a doorway through which Remi could travel through time. Everything outside of that was a maelstrom of forces borne of the meeting of two very different physical realities. They ground against each other like poorly meshed gears, and anything that got caught between them would be shredded. The edge of the disk was like a sawblade on the fabric of reality. Even the air burned away in its presence, leaving a gap that was continuously filled as the surrounding air rushed in. The effect was a loud hum that set even Remiís teeth on edge.

When the disk was almost as wide as the Sentinel, Remi tilted it and pushed the edge out a little further until it touched the giant robot. The effect was satisfyingly catastrophic. At the edge of the disk, metal vaporized in an instant. Then, as the disk cut deeper, hydraulic fluid and wiring caught fire, sending up clouds of black smoke and pouring flames across the disk and down the torso of the Sentinel.

As the diskís edge passed completely through the Sentinel, it simply collapsed, sawed in two. It didnít explode, but the fire spread quickly, driving both Hounds and X-Men away. Remi turned his attention to the next Sentinel and heard the metallic crunch as the fourth began to crumple. With two Sentinels down and two threats to deal with, the machines could no longer pour enough energy at Cody to neutralize him. The ground guns had gone silent, destroyed either by the X-Men or by missiles from the fighters.

Two fighters made a pass over the big squat ship that sat beyond the Sentinels, releasing the bombs clustered beneath each wing. The explosions were deafening. This time, both Rachelís and Jeanís shields disappeared, reappearing in the midst of the inferno to protect the X-Men. The Hounds around Remi, Rachel and Renee surged forward and Remi struggled to meet them. But controlling the disk took too much of his attention. As he focused on the Hounds, his hold on it slipped and it began to expand dramatically. It sliced easily through the Sentinel, and came dangerously close to the multicolored explosions that marked Jubileeís position before he managed to rein it in. And as he forced the wild power back under control, he lost all sense of the danger around him.

"Just stay behind me, cousin!" Renee flashed him a smile he felt rather than saw, and her staff became a silver blur. Behind Remi, Rachel also took up a defensive stance. Protected by the two girls, Remi began the difficult task of bringing down such a large portal. The problem, he reflected grimly, was that it didnít obey the laws of physics. Hank maintained that the most important rule it violated was the Uncertainty Principle. Personally, Remi had long ago voted for Entropy. If he let go of the disk, it ought to lose energy and eventually fade away due to some strange equivalent of friction. But it didnít. If he let it go, it would continue to grow, and grow faster. Only his will held it in check.

Remi heard the crash as the final Sentinel fell. Then Rachel was nudging him.

"Donít shut that thing down yet," she said. Her voice was tired, ragged, and more than a little frightened. Remi dragged his attention back into the real world and opened his eyes, searching for the threat. He was assailed by the sharp smell of ozone and then an incredibly bright flash of light. The ground spasmed, nearly knocking him off his feet. Something cascaded down the sides of Rachelís restored shield, hissing violently. His vision cleared after a moment, and he understood why Rachel was frightened. Huge bolts of lightning rained down across the battlefield. Where they struck, Hounds screamed and machinery exploded. Remi looked up for the source. He caught a glimpse of a dark form and a long trail of white hair. He knew instantly who it was, but was so stunned he could only stare.

A bolt of lightning struck Cody dead on. The white streak twisted when it met his gravity field, shading into blue. For an instant, it formed a ball around him, then disappeared. But the force of the blow rocked him, and Remi felt his consciousness waver. A second bolt followed the first with the same effect, but as the ball lightning flickered out, so did Codyís consciousness. He plummeted groundward.

"Noooo!" Remi wasnít sure if the cry was his or Reneeís.

Lightning struck Rachelís shield, turning Remiís vision white. He had to shield his eyes from the glare, but looked back quickly, desperate to catch a glimpse of Cody-- and desperately afraid of what he would see.

Remi saw the limp form of his friend tumbling toward the ground and bit his lip. Reneeís eyes were wide in horror, her staff sliding from between numb fingers. A flash of motion caught Remiís attention. Then a streak of red and green crossed the brief open space between lightning strikes, meeting Cody just above the ground and bearing him upward. Remi sighed in relief and heard Renee echoing him. He should have known Rogue would be around here somewhere. She would never let her son die that way.

Still, averting the immediate crisis did nothing to end the threat. Lightning fell on them in a steady barrage and chased Rogue up into the stratosphere.

Remi ground his teeth and began expanding the disk once again. It was fixed in place at the center. He couldnít move it, only change the size. And he was going to have to make it awfully big to reach Storm. Maybe it would be better to shut this one down and create another higher up? But that would take time, and the current disk was already growing. Storm noticed the encroaching darkness and rose, her hair streaming above her head in the updraft. For a single moment, she was distracted by the phenomena, and in that moment, Jean struck.

A giant, invisible hand swept across the sky and slapped Storm, sending her tumbling. She recovered with a distant scream that chilled Remiís blood. He had never so much as heard Ororo raise her voice. This sound held nothing but pure hatred.

Remi pushed the black disk as far as he dared, though Storm stayed easily out of reach. He wasnít sure what he would have done if he had caught up to her. One touch of the edge of the disk would kill. He wasnít actually thinking of attacking a woman he loved dearly with a very deadly power, was he?

Storm rose until she was swallowed up by the low-hung clouds. Stillness blanketed the field, ripe with premonition. Remi waited tensely, diminishing the disk by degrees. What was he going to do with it? Around them, the remaining Hounds scattered in terror as if they had suddenly been loosed from invisible chains.

"Iíve got a bad feeling about this," Renee murmured. Remi agreed silently. Under his direction, the disk shrank to the size of a dinner plate, then winked out. Some of Remiís tension drained away. The time portal might be his power by right, but it still made him uncomfortable. It was more responsibility than he wanted.

The wind began to pick up, blowing choking clouds of grit and debris into the air. Rachelís shield kept it at bay, but his vision was severely limited. He could still see the glow of Jeanís shield, and realized that it was moving toward them. Hopefully, the other X-Men were converging on them as well. The winds were becoming dangerous.

With a roar that was nearly drowned out by the raging atmosphere, the last of the fighters punched through the clouds and disappeared, returning to wherever they had come from, no doubt. They had looked like the old F22s, and Remi had to wonder how the military came to be supporting mutants.

Through the blowing grit, Remi saw Jean stop and turn. Bishop had been with her inside her shield, but he left it, returning after a moment with one arm supporting Jubilee. Logan followed him, a figure slung over his shoulder in a firemanís carry. Bobby coasted next to Logan on an ice slide, and behind him came one more, a tall, gray-skinned man that Remi didnít recognize for a moment.

"Angelo... " Renee had recognized him before Remi could. "But... heís dead."

"Weíre in the past somewhere," Remi reminded her.

"Oh, yeah." She smiled sheepishly. "I forgot." After a moment, she added, "Iím glad heís alive here."

Remi smiled. "Me, too."

Jean expanded her shield to include the entire group, then turned back towards Remi and the two girls. In unconscious agreement, Remi, Rachel and Renee moved to meet them. The edges of the two shields met and melded seamlessly. Remi didnít know why he was surprised. Rachel was used to working with her mother.

Bishop stepped forward and Remi found himself facing the giant man alone. Renee and Rachel flanked him, but they were both several paces back. Remi was fairly tall for his age, but not as tall as he would eventually be. So Bishop had almost six inches on him, which was more intimidating than Remi would like to admit. Bishopís expression was flat, his eyes were wary, and Remi knew in an instant that Bishop didnít recognize him.

The wind was literally howling now, but Remi could still hear Bishop say, "I donít know who you are, but we appreciate your help."

Remi couldnít help but smile. This was too weird. He held out his hand. "Iím Remi Neramani. These are Renee LeBeau and Rachel Summers." He indicated the girls.

Bishop accepted his proffered hand gravely. "Bishop", he replied.

"I know." At Bishopís raised eyebrow, he added, "We know all of you."


Remi shrugged. "That is a very long--" He stopped dead as the howl deepened into a roar. Over Bishopís shoulder he could see a long thin funnel descending from the clouds. It snaked toward the ground, then touched, swelling into a fat, terrifying maelstrom.

Jean gasped and stared wide-eyed at something behind Remi. He turned to find another funnel cloud descending. A third spawned off to his left, even larger than its brothers. Bishop paled.

"If ya got any more miracles in that bag oí tricks, kid, nowíd be the time," Logan suggested in a casual drawl.

Rachel stiffened. Whereís Cody? she asked Remi privately. He can gate us out of here. She glanced meaningfully at the twisters that were closing in on them with frightening speed. They didnít have any powers that would be particularly effective against those.

Remi reached out with his mind, searching for a certain familiar presence. Cody was his best friend. After a moment, he found him. Groggy and cross, but alive. And more importantly, conscious. Remi explained in the telepathic burst that served almost as a private language between the four. He felt Codyís immediate response, and knew he was talking to Rogue.

Twenty seconds later, Rogue and Cody became visible, flying low over the ground to avoid the worst of the winds. They touched down neatly beside Bishop and Remi.

"Thought youída headed for higher ground, darliní," Logan told Rogue.

She shrugged, pointed to Cody. "Crazy boy insisted on cominí back. Ah couldnít just leave him."

"What now?" asked Angelo.

The three tornadoes were so close that they seemed to form a continuous wall. Debris was hurled through the air at frightening speeds, tumbling by just over their heads and occasionally crashing into the shield. Remi jumped involuntarily when a full-sized mountain fir slammed into the ground just beside him, stopped by telekinesis.

"Now we leave." A wide blue doorway opened behind Cody. Tuned as he was to the telepathic currents, Remi felt Rachel push the shield a bit higher to allow some extra room for the door, and felt Jeanís approval.

Bishop exchanged uncertain glances with Jean and Wolverine, who shrugged.

Jubilee put her hands on her hips. "Well, we canít stay here." With a single glance at Cody as she walked by, she stepped through the doorway and disappeared. Angelo followed her, then Bobby and Wolverine. Remi stepped through next, confident the rest of the X-Men would be following close behind. For a moment, everything simply went awayóhe couldnít sense anything or anyone around him. But then it was gone, as always, and he found himself standing in the middle of a field. Sparse clumps of grass grew in the hard dirt, interspersed with tall brown shoots of field grass. Around the edges of the field, Remi could see the burnt and broken stumps that testified to the death of a thick woods that had once surrounded the area. A few crumbled walls marked the outlines of a long-gone building. It was an amazingly desolate scene, though far better than the place theyíd just come from.

He turned to Cody, who was just stepping through the doorway. "Where are we?"

Cody looked around, his expression full of dismay. "Home," he said quietly.


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