Logan sat near the back of the sleek craft and wondered how they would manage to get the drop on Madelyne Pryor. She may be, as Scott pointed out, insane, but she was just as powerful as Jean herself was. She could sense them coming before they could attack, unless of course Jean in combination with Rachel and Alexander could block her from picking them up. He subconsciously pulled a cigar out from a hidden compartment near his seat and prepared to light it up, then he caught Jean’s rather pointed look and giving her a grin he put the cigar back as he knew she didn’t like him smoking in the jet.
Jean had to suppress her own grin as she turned back to the front of the jet. Logan had an effect on her which she could never really explain. From the moment she had met him a more playful and daring person had come out, before Logan had arrived she had always kept herself under tight control and rarely did things spontaneously. She had followed a set pattern, when that pattern began to change her friends and Scott especially had taken notice. To Scott it was the worst thing that could have happened, he didn’t like the changes he saw in her and he let her know it. But there was nothing he could do to stop it. Jean’s interactions with Logan continued and she liked to believe she was a more complete woman thanks to those interactions.
“So what’s the plan?” Bobby inquired from his seat. “Pryor is not someone who is easy to sneak up on,” he reminded them all.
“No she isn’t Bobby,” Jean agreed with a nod of her head. “Which is why I’m going to go in there first, to put her attention on me while the rest of you sneak up on her and can get into a position for an attack,” she added.
“Bad idea Jeannie,” Logan argued before Scott could put forth his own protest. “You go in first and she’ll blast you into a million pieces before we can do anything,” he argued as she turned to look back at him. “Same with one eye,” he went on with a jerk of his head in Scott’s direction. “I’ll go in and get her attention; she won’t be able to do me any real lasting harm,” he said confidently. “And you might be needed to help keep her from sensing the rest of you,” he finished.
“I agree mother, I don’t know how precise this Pryor’s telepathic powers are or what it would take to block her sensing us,” Alexander said in support of his father’s view. “Best we take no chances, if we are to do this as quickly as possible as well. We need to ensure we catch her off guard,” he told her as she narrowed her eyes at him and Logan.
“As much as I don’t want to agree with the little shit on anything, I think he is right Jean,” Scott growled out. He was still very angry over Alexander reading his mind without his permission, he was even more angry than the memories he had stirred had been some of his worst.
The whole Madelyne Pryor business wasn’t something he ever wanted to remember, his guilt over marrying her in his mistaken belief she was Jean as well as his actions once he found out the truth always haunted him. He knew he had acted in the worst possible way. Abandoning her and their child had been the worst thing he had ever done in his life and he knew that. The fact his actions had, as Alexander had stated, pushed Pryor over the edge enough to be corrupted, by whoever it was responsible for that event, shamed him. It was made even worse that the son he had sired with Pryor had been kidnapped. That he was now the warrior from the future called Cable, made no difference. What Alexander had done had dredged all that guilt and shame up. It made him hate the kid even more than he already did after their last encounter.
Jean glanced between Logan, Alexander and Scott for a few minutes before she reluctantly agreed that Logan was correct. Madelyne would probably attack as soon as she saw her and the same goes for Scott. Logan however was another thing entirely. Madelyne was an exact clone of her right down to her emotions of that time, which included her love for Scott. It also included her lust of that time for Logan himself, which she knew from personal experience, would only grow more powerful as time went by. She suspected Madelyne harbored an attraction to Logan as she had at that time. She refused to admit how she felt about Logan at this moment in time, but knowing how she felt she believed Madelyne would not attack Logan right away.
“Ok Logan you win,” Jean finally conceded. “Just be careful, she may not have the full power of the Phoenix behind her, but it is enough to hurt you as we know from personal experience,” she warned him and was thankful when Logan nodded in acceptance of that warning.
Her brief time as the Dark Phoenix had shown them all just how affective it could be against any of the X-Men which included Logan, she was just thankful she had not caused any lasting harm to her friends. But she knew that her power had left an actual scar on Logan’s body, something that did not fade even after his healing factor had kicked in. That knowledge was known only to her and Logan himself, that he remembered that fact relieved her.
“Even if we catch her off guard, the minute we attack she will retaliate,” Kitty pointed out. “And it will not be an easy fight, no matter what our plan is,” she stated.
“Half-pint has got a point,” Logan said in agreement. “Madelyne is a tricky enemy to fight. She may not have the full power of the Phoenix, but she has enough to be dangerous,” he stated.
“This is why it is important that when the attack starts Mom, Rachel and I are in position to launch our own attack from a triangle position,” Alexander spoke up. “If we can hit her first time out, then the fight should be as short one with any luck,” he added.
“And when does our luck ever run that good in any reality?” Rogue asked in a sarcastic manner as she leaned her head against Gambit’s shoulder while ensuring she didn’t touch his skin.
Alexander grinned and nodded as he realized she had made a good point. The X-Men’s battles were never easy and there had been a few times when it seemed they may not actually win. Going up against a Phoenix host even one who had only half the connection, wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. Still if he was to have any chance of saving his family and friends, they had to succeed and the quicker they dealt with Madelyne Pryor the better their chances were of succeeding.
Xavier looked up as he finally sensed that Eric and his children had arrived, well this would be interesting he thought. He quickly moved to greet them. He slowly wheeled himself to the door to find his guests already inside and waiting for him.
“Hello old friend,” Magneto said in greeting and a small smile.
“Eric, I thank you for agreeing to help out with this,” Xavier responded. “I know our disagreements of late have been the cause of much resentment between us, but they have never stopped us from allying when needed,” he continued calmly. “This is one of those times, especially if that beast Alexander described exists in this reality,” he added.
“I agree, the idea of something strong enough to defeat even the Juggernaut with such ease as well as myself and so many other mutants is disturbing,” Magneto agreed. “If it has indeed been created by one of our enemies that exist in both dimensions then we need as much information about it as we can get. Our future may depend on it,” he added in a tone that told Xavier Magneto was dead serious about this matter.
“I agree, we will leave as soon as my team returns with our last member who must be healed first,” Xavier replied with a nod of his head. “If they can succeed in their mission,” he paused as he really didn’t know if Alexander’s plan to heal Madelyne would work.
Magneto sensed his old friend’s unease and wondered who the last member of their team was, and what he meant by healed. Xavier sensed his friend’s thoughts and decided to explain everything to him. He was certain Eric would be just as uncertain as the majority of the X-Men as to whether Pryor could be healed.
(Goblin Queen’s hideout)
Logan walked calmly into the hidden cave hideout of Madelyne Pryor and hoped she wasn’t in a fighting mood. If she was in such a mood then she wasn’t going to be caught unaware and their plan would fail. He paused at the very entrance of the room where his senses told him Pryor would be. He felt a slight pleasant touch in his mind which he knew to be Jean. That more than anything made him ready to face her clone. Madelyne was a dangerous enemy in that she could use Jean’s memories and features to fool anyone, and although his senses could tell one from the other that didn’t stop him from being affected by being in her presence for any length of time.
Madelyne looked up as she sensed a presence she hadn’t sensed since her last battle with the X-Men. Leaning forward she watched as Logan appeared an instant later just as she remembered him. She frowned, wondering what had brought the feral mutant to her. She hadn’t had any run-ins with the X-Men in a year, having grown tired of being defeated. Even more so she had grown tired of seeing her husband Scott with Jean Grey, the woman she had once believed herself to be so long ago. Snarling at the mere thought she unleashed a wave of energy that made the room darken. Logan did nothing but continue to move towards her, even though she knew he must have felt the power flow over him.
Jean also felt the power twist through the wall she was using as cover. It took all of her control not to react to the perceived threat to Logan. She already gave in to the urge to briefly touch Logan’s mind before he entered Madelyne’s presence. She glanced at Scott who seemed very uneasy, not that she blamed him. He was about to come face to face with the biggest mistake he had made in his life, she did not envy him. But the fact that Madelyne was her clone made it just as much her mistake as well, even though she had nothing to do with how she had been cloned.
‘I’m in position mom,’ Alexander’s mental voice broke into her thoughts and she shook them off and focused on the mission at hand. “Alexander is ready and in position,” she told Scott who nodded and informed the rest of the team who had split into three groups, one with Rachel, one with Alexander and the rest with her.
“Now we just need Rachel in place and we can move,” Scott muttered knowing he had to keep quiet or Madelyne might hear them.
Logan looked up at Madelyne and paused as he noted just how much flesh she was showing, her costume was almost none existent and her breasts were proudly on display although not completely visible as they were covered somewhat by the cut up dress she was wearing. Her lower half was covered by a low cut dress and she wore a cape. The majority of her body was shown in all its glory, his body reacted, but it wasn’t Madelyne he saw but Jean in her place. He had to struggle to clear his mind of the pleasing image as he didn’t have time to indulge in fantasies and Jean was probably monitoring his thoughts. He doubted she would be pleased by what he was seeing. Taking a breath he kept walking.
Jean blushed as she had indeed been monitoring Logan’s thoughts. She had seen exactly what he had imagined in his mind after seeing Madelyne’s flimsy costume. Seeing herself basically in Madelyne’s place in front of Logan in such a costume was arousing her, her own mind was feeding on Logan’s fantasies. But this was no time for them to be messing around. She forced herself to push those thoughts away just as Logan was doing.
“You okay Jean?” Scott inquired as he took note of her flushed state.
“Yes, just nervous,” Jean quickly responded, slamming every mental shield she knew in place to keep anything leaking through the physic bond she shared with Scott. He didn’t need to know just how Logan’s fantasies affected her. That wouldn’t help matters, especially right now.
“Ah Logan, long time,” Madelyne spoke up, making everyone quiet down and pray she hadn’t somehow picked them up.
“How have you, Red?” Logan shot back as calmly as he could.
“What are you doing here Logan?” Madelyne demanded to know as she stood up, ignoring his question as she reached out with her powers to check the surrounding area. She couldn’t pick up anything. It seemed Logan had come alone which intrigued her.
Logan shrugged before answering. “Had some trouble with Oneeye and needed some time away from the mansion. Watching him and Jean makes me ill,” he told her. Jean’s breath hitched as she sensed the truth in Logan’s statement, seeing her with Scott twisted Logan up inside. But he kept it bottled up inside, knowing she would not approve of his feelings. She had never believed the pain he experienced when he saw her and Scott could be so potent. He was always careful never to allow her to feel it, but with his focus on Madelyne his feelings and thoughts were leaking through to Jean, who was keeping a close monitor on him.
“So you came to see me because for all intense and purposes I’m Jean, only I despise Scott Summers just as much as you do,” Madelyne inquired as she stepped down from her throne and began to walk around Logan. “You came here for something. Me perhaps?” she asked. “Is that it Logan, you want my body?” she asked with a slight purr in her voice as she ran her hands down her body in a seductive manner. “Her body,” she added.
Logan slammed his eyes closed as he did everything he could to control the sudden instinct to take Madelyne in his arms. She wasn’t Jean and he wouldn’t be fooled into thinking she was. Jean felt the conflict suddenly ignite in Logan. She reached out without thinking and began to help him to regain control of his emotions and his more primal urges, which she could sense Madelyne had ignited with her powers. She could feel the twisted energies of Madelyne’s powers trying to sway Logan into taking her into a heated embrace. Anger ignited in her at the idea and she fought harder to keep Logan in control of himself.
Madelyne watched as Logan fought himself and she had to admit she was impressed with his resistance. Her powers should have ignited the primal spirit she knew Logan possessed and he should have taken her into his embrace by now. She began to frown as she continued to try and provoke Logan into something she knew he would never contemplate. She knew him well enough to know he only wanted Jean Grey. To him she was a completely different person and these days she would agree, but that didn’t mean she did feel the same lust for this man that had once filled Jean herself when she was created.
“Give in to what you want Logan,” she said, trying to coax him into action.
“N…not why I’m here Pryor,” Logan managed to gasp out as he battled himself and tried to remember the plan.
‘Mom, we are in position,’ Rachel’s mental voice almost caused Jean to stop helping Logan, but she quickly regained control of herself. “Rachel is ready, all teams go,” she commanded, ignoring the fact Scott was beside her and he was team leader. In fact Scott was staring at her in shock at her giving orders instead of him.
(Earth-619, secret hideout)
Scott sat watching as Essex took blood and DNA samples from his former allies. He still felt a slight unease about doing this, but it was becoming easier to stomach as time went on. All he had to do was keep reminding himself that at the end, he would have Jean back where she belonged, at his side. He would also finally have his revenge on Logan, and those who refused to help him stop Logan seducing Jean away from him.
Essex smiled as he watched the samples get collected. He could barely imagine the experiments he would be able to conduct now with so much blood and DNA from some of the most powerful mutants alive. He wasn’t going to rush this. He would take his time as there was only one X-man left free and he was no threat on his own. Soon he would begin to alter the memories of Jean Grey and the other X-Men into his personal guards. Summers just had no idea what he had allowed to happen or just how much power he had placed into his hands.
Xavier sat and waited for his friend to digest everything he had told them about the mission his X-Men were currently on. He suspected Eric would be just as curious as he, if Madelyne Pryor could be healed fully as Alexander planned, just like he had originally thought. The mission was dangerous and yet if they planned to get the whole team transported to the alternate dimension, then they had to succeed. Wanda and Pietro just sat and waited for their father to speak, neither of them had much experience with the clone of Jean Grey, although they knew their father had encountered her a few times when he replaced Xavier as headmaster of the school for a short period of time.
“You play with fire Charles,” Magneto finally spoke. “Madelyne Pryor is dangerous. Her powers are not completely under her control and her access to the Phoenix Force, while slim, makes her one of our most dangerous adversaries even with a full team pitted against her,” he stated. “Her mind is cracked, easily manipulated by whatever it was that pushed her over the edge,” he added. “Yet this Alexander thinks he might be able to heal her with Jean and Rachel’s aide, but he is gambling that he is correct,” he said.
“I believe he is yes, however Alexander seems to know a lot about the Phoenix itself,” Xavier responded. “More than likely it is possible the Jean Grey of his reality knows more about Phoenix than we do ourselves. I’m willing to let them try if it only removes Madelyne as a threat, not just to us but the world as well,” he explained as his reason for even attempting this. “Plus Madelyne was a part of the X-Men, no matter how she became one of us and we owe her this for how we basically abandoned her when we found out she was a clone of Jean,” he stated.
Magneto smiled as Xavier spoke, no matter how much time had passed it seemed his friend would never change. He would always look to the brightest outcome of any situation they encountered, and he would always try to make up for any errors he perceived to have made. Even with all their arguments and conflicts over the years, he still admired that trait in his friend even if he sometimes felt it was naive.
“If they can heal her then it will be a worthwhile fight Charles,” Magneto admitted with a nod of his head. “I just think it is a big risk,” he added.
“Yes I know Eric, but if we are all to get safely to Alexander’s dimension it is one we must take and a risk we must pull off,” Xavier concluded as he settled back in his wheelchair. Magneto nodded in agreement as Pietro went to make them all something to drink. Wanda however pulled a book from a nearby self and began to read as she hated waiting.