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#374
The X Remix Part Five

"The Fire of the Phoenix"
by Chip Caroon

The Phoenix pointed at the holographic cell holding the Skrull. In an instant, she had burned a hole through it. The Skrull quickly ran out and over to his master and fell on his knees, clasping his hands together.

"Oh, thank you! Thank you for freeing me! You are a goddess!" he said.

"Quiet, peon," the Phoenix commanded, pointing at him. In an instant, he was incinerated.

The X-Men stared in shock.

"What are you doing here?" Xavier asked. "I thought you were destroyed!"

"What? The Phoenix, guardian of the universe, destroyed?" The Phoenix threw her head back and began laughing. "That's a joke!"

"What have you done with Jean?" Cyclops shouted.

"Why, she's right here," the Phoenix replied. Then she dropped her flame, and Jean's eyes returned to normal. "Scott?" she said weakly.

Cyclops walked over to Jean and hugged her. "I'm here Jean. I'm here."

Suddenly, Jean's eyes turned completely white, and the fire around her returned. "Fool!" she shouted.

At that moment, the door to the Danger Room opened and the rest of the X-Men entered: Shadowcat, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Cable. Bishop was also with them, returning to the mansion with his newly shaved head just seconds before Xavier's telepathic call. All of their eyes grew wide with shock and fear as they saw the Phoenix. Nightcrawler and Colossus remembered the first encounter with the Phoenix all too well.* They and Shadowcat also recalled their first encounter with the evil Dark Phoenix even more so.** Bishop and Cable remember the legends and stories of the Phoenix.

*(Uncanny X-Men #100-102)

**(Uncanny X-Men #129-137)

Wolverine was filling with berzerker rage. In was times like this that he stopped thinking, and relied on instinct. It took all of his self control to keep him from attacking the Phoenix. Two reasons stuck out in his mind most. First, if he attacked, he could hurt Jean. Second, the Phoenix might beat the tar out of him.

Xavier didn't know exactly what to do. He thought that Phoenix had been destroyed long ago.* There was only one thing he could think of to do. He motioned for Storm to come to his side while Phoenix harassed Cyclops.

*(Uncanny X-Men #137)

"Ororo, we need to attack," he said. "While you do a physical attack, I will attack mentally."

"Agreed," Storm replied. She turned to the other X-Men. "X-Men! Attack!"

This was all Wolverine needed to hear. Before Storm had finished, he was leaping at the Phoenix, claws out. He knew he didn't stand much of a chance, but something inside of him disregarded that fact.

Of course, the Phoenix knew of this attack and halted it. She telekinetically grabbed Wolverine in the air, and threw him across the Danger Room. He never knew what hit him. Meanwhile, the rest of the X-Men tried their best to stop the Phoenix.

Suddenly, Cyclops felt something. It was like a click in his head. Could it be? 'Yes!' he thought. 'Jean's trying to break through.'

He ran to Xavier, who was preparing to attack the Phoenix's psyche, and stopped him. "Professor!" he shouted. "Jean's trying to get through! I can feel it in the rapport. Be careful."

"Scott," Xavier said, looking up at his first X-Man. "I will do whatever is necessary to defeat the Phoenix."

"Even if it means destroying Jean as well?" Cyclops asked.

"If that's what it takes."

"You heartless son of a gun!" Cyclops shouted. "Is that you're new method? Kill or erase our enemy's memories, no matter who it hurts?"

"Cyclops!" Charles shouted. "I don't know what else to do!"

"Why?!" Cyclops shouted, each sentence of the verbal fight becoming louder and louder. "You used to know! You used to be the leader! You ARE the leader! You should be setting the example!"

"I DON'T KNOW WHY!"

"Then maybe you shouldn't be the leader of the X-Men!"

All of the X-Men, no matter how hurt they were from the battle with the Phoenix, nor how much they were concentrating, could hear the fight at some point. When they heard Cyclops shout those words, they all turned their heads. The Phoenix used this opportunity to seize the battle.

"Fools! Relying on your foolish emotions! You have no logic!" she shouted, filling the room with fire.

Storm tried to drench the fire, but was unable, since the fire was not real, but a psychic illusion. She shouted at Cyclops and Xavier. "You two need to put aside whatever differences you have and find a way to put this monster down!"

"Very well," Charles said, peering into the mind of the Phoenix-Jean hybrid. Cyclops looked at Cable.

"Cable, get me into her mind, too! I don't want Charles to try to take hers as well!*"

*(Cyclops is alluding to the time when Xavier erased Magneto's mind in X-Men #25)

The Phoenix screamed as she was assaulted by two powerful minds. However, she knew it was a battle she had a chance at winning this time. She quickly shifted her focus to the battlefield of the mind. Since it was in her mind, she could control the battlefield. On one side, the Phoenix stood with Jean. On the opposite side, Charles stood with Cyclops and Cable. The battle was on.

The Phoenix tried to warp the battle field, but Xavier launched a full-scale mental attack. Cyclops could tell from the energy surrounding him that it wasn't good.

"Cable! Do something!"

Cable immediately set to stop Xavier from killing the Phoenix, or her psyche.

{Cable!} Xavier shouted. {What are you doing?}

{Stopping you from killing Jean!}

Slowly, a small glow generated from Cable, spreading, to encompass the entire landscape. Jean joined in on the telekinetic assault. This, joined with Xavier's powers created a mental overload that caused all four to return to the physical plane.

The blast affected all of the X-Men, rendering most unconscious, some only dazed. All were lying on the floor.

The Phoenix was the first to get up. She raised her hand. Bishop saw her. He knew what she was going to do, as his mind flashed back to the time when he saved the X-Men from Onslaught in the same fashion.* He ran as fast as he could to stand between her and the team. His mutant power to absorb energy would allow him to be unharmed.

*(Onslaught: X-Men)

The Phoenix released a giant burst of energy. Bishop ran in front of it just in time, stopping her from killing the X-Men.

The blast was so powerful, though, that it sent Bishop reeling. He could feel a pull. He could also feel the Phoenix force within him. Bishop recognized the feeling. It was chronal energy. He was returning to his own time! He called out to the X-Men, hoping they heard him. "Good-bye, my friends!"

In a blink, he was gone.


The rest of the X-Men regained consciousness a short time later. Their uniforms were in tatters, their spirits shredded.

Cyclops's first thought was of Jean. He stood up and ran over to her. She was still wearing the green and yellow outfit, but that was only because it was her regular X-Men outfit.*

*(Jean started to wear the Phoenix outfit c. Uncanny X-Men #350)

It took her a few seconds to regain her thoughts as Scott helped her up. She looked at him, and they hugged for several minutes, as the other X-Men stood up.

{X-Men, stand back.} Xavier said. {I will attempt to make sure that the Phoenix Force has been destroyed.}

Cyclops turned to his teacher. "Sir," he said, "with all due respect, go to hell. Jean is no longer possesed by the Phoenix Force."

"Scott, you don't understand! The Phoenix could still be inside Jean's mind, biding her time."

"Don't you think we know that? I can see into Jean's mind better than anyone. THE PHOENIX IS NOT THERE!"

Charles looked down for a moment. "Scott, my student. You are like a son to me. I would never wish to hurt you, but I must see into Jean's mind."

Scott looked to Jean. "You want to speak?"

Jean looked at Xavier. "Charles, the Phoenix is gone. I am okay. I would like to return to my normal life."

"And what life would that be if I hadn't gathered you into the X-Men? You wouldn't know each other. You probably wouldn't be alive, due to anti-mutant propoganda!" Charles shouted.

The X-Men stared at him in shock, scared at what he might do. Storm put her hand on his shoulder.

"Charles," she said, softly.

Xavier grabbed her hand and threw her across the Danger Room. "GET OFF OF ME! I DON'T NEED YOUR SUPPORT!"

"That's it," Wolverine said, popping out his claws. Before he could move, Cable stopped him.

"I think it's under control. If you attack, we could all be in deeper crap than we are now," he said.

"I see yer point, Cable."

Xavier's head began glowing, telepathic energy spilling out. "I WILL STOP THE PHOENIX, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS TO JEAN!"

Suddenly, he stood up, and his hoverchair glided to the other end of the room.

"Charles!" Cyclops shouted. "You're walking!"

"Yes," Xavier replied, an evil grin on his face. "Now I can get to Jean."

"No!" Jean screamed as Xavier came closer. Scott stood in front of Jean.

"That's okay, Scott, I'll get go through you," Xavier said, bringing his fist up.

"That's it, Charles. I've had enough. I'M NOT YOUR DAMN LAPDOG ANYMORE!" Cyclops shouted, right before Xavier threw the first punch.

Cyclops ducked, and hit Xavier hard in the back. That knocked him down slightly, while he spun around and stood back up. He decked Cyclops, who fell to the floor. Charles turned his attention back to Jean.

Wolverine was the one to stop him, tackling him before Charles could move an inch. Wolverine knew this fight was a no-mercy fight, so he wasn't holding back. He didn't have the guts to cut him yet, but instead, continued to punch Xavier.

Xavier lashed out with a psychic attack that cut directly to the center of Wolverine's mind. Logan cried out in pain as Xavier attacked every aspect of his being. He curled up in the floor as Xavier stood back up.

By this time, Cyclops had gathered his senses again. He attacked Xavier, to stop him from hurting Jean. A left jab, a right deck, and Xavier was on the floor. Scott rushed to Jean and embraced her.

Suddenly, the lights in the room dimmed, and a figure of light appeared in the center of the room. The light seemed to harden into a solid lifeform, and the lights in the room returned to their full brightness. All of the X-Men in the room recognized the visitor as Lilandra, Majestrix of the Shi'ar Empire. She was also the lover of Charles Xavier.

Her look was friendly, but harsh. "The Shi'ar scientists found traces of the Phoenix Force here on Earth," she said.

"Relax, Lilandra," Scott said. "It's taken care of."

"Really? That is a relief. How's Charles?"

Scott stepped aside and motioned to Xavier, lying on the floor.

"What happened?" Lilandra exclaimed.

"He went crazy," the Beast replied. "He had a sudden urge to kill us. Can you help him?"

Lilandra was silent for a moment, looking at Xavier. "Yes," she finally said. "But it requires him to move to the Shi'ar homeworld."

The X-Men were silent.

Finally, Storm, who had recovered, spoke up. "Take him," she said.

"If you're sure?" Lilandra asked, looking around the room at each X-Man. Every X-Man nodded their heads in approval.

Lilandra walked over to Xavier, and held him. She looked at the X-Men. "Thank you. Not only for myself, but for Charles."

Cyclops looked at her. "No. Thank you."

With that, Lilandra and Xavier faded away, out of the lives of the X-Men once more.


The next morning, as Kitty Pryde woke up and came down to breakfast, she saw four sets of suitcases by the front door. As she walked into the kitchen, she saw Cable, Logan, Kurt, and Peter sitting at the table, dressed like they were going out. She also saw Scott, Jean, Hank, and Ororo standing in their robes.

"Why all the suitcases at the door?" Kitty asked.

The four men sitting at the table looked at each other. Finally Logan looked up at Kitty.

"Kid," he said. "We're leavin'."

"Why?"

"Well, I need to get over that shock that Charlie gave me last night. Cable is leavin' to continue his mission, of course."

Kitty looked at Kurt and Peter. "Why are you leaving?"

Kurt looked at Kitty. "Kitty, we feel as though it is time to reform Excalibur."

Kitty was silent. "Excalibur?"

Kurt sighed. "Ya. It wasn't a lost cause. Peter and I want to return to England. Do you?"

Kitty looked around at the X-Men. She turned back to Kurt. "I'm sorry, elf. I'd love too, but I would rather be here, with the X-Men."

Peter looked up at Kitty. "Ja. We understand."

Kurt looked at his watch, and tapped Peter on the arm. "Time to go, if we want to catch our flight."

Logan and Cable both looked at a clock and agreed it was time for them to leave as well. All of the X-Men walked into the foyar, and the four departing X-Men picked up their suitcases. Kitty walked up to Kurt and gave him a hug, followed by Peter and Logan. Scott and Jean walked to Cable and gave him a hug and a handshake good-bye.

As they walked out of the door, Kitty's eyes filled with tears. Ororo saw this and hugged her. All of the remaining X-Men waved good-bye.

A new era for the X-Men had begun.

THE END


In Wolverine #144 - A special epilogue finds Wolverine leaving the X-Men, trying to recover from the shocking events of The X Remix. Then, in X-Men #94, an old friend returns.
Writer's Note: This issue was the toughest to write. I already knew where I wanted to go with the story, but I didn't know how to get there. However, once I started, I couldn't stop.

Another reason I had problems was that I'm not good at endings. I can build up a story, with a lot of suspense, but cannot write a good ending. I had a lot of story I had built up, but halfway through writing, I realized that it was going to be too long, so I took out some plot threads I had started. One of which was the Phoenix. Originally, I had planned to have a trial of the Phoenix. Later, I couldn't come up with a decent premise. The part about Jean's capture was already in the story, so I tied it in with the imposter (which I needed a motivation for), and finished the story.

The battle with Phoenix was put in to wrap up the imposter plot, and to return Jean to the X-Men. I had planned for Xavier to leave Earth, since I didn't want to use him, so taking him to the Shi'ar homeworld was the best answer. Having Lilandra come after the Phoenix was the perfect way to bring her in to take Xavier.