Dere are a few constants in dis world dat people don't
give nearly enough credit for: de X-Men always gonna find trouble
wherever it be hidin', de world always goin' t' go t' hell by way o' fire
an' burnin' if y' let de mos' powerful mutants live, an' somewhere
in de middle o' everyt'in' will be Raven Darkholme.

Inky blackness swallowed up the back alley behind two dark buildings in the middle of a slum district of New York City. The only light came from three red pinpricks, closely spaced—the end of a cigarette and a pair of demon eyes. A storm was brewing on a far horizon, but the clouds had not yet reached this place. The night was clear if starless, backlit with the busy distant glow of the streets nearby. Heavy smoke breathed out its sharp, rough scent in the alleyway, but there was no light to see it.

A dark form materialized nearby, easily visible to those bright red pinpricks. Lean curves wrapped the figure, but the voice was harsh.



He dropped the cigarette to the asphalt and ground it out beneath his heel, leaving only two bright embers for light.

She came closer, crouched beside him to look out of the narrow space between brick walls. He thought he could see a wicked smile curving the blood red hue of her lips, setting off her skin's radiant blue. Yellow eyes glowed sharply in the darkness because of his own enhanced sight.

He looked out with her. "Y' came t' discuss business?"

"Plans are afoot," Raven stated quietly. "We would like your assistance."

"Oh?" He turned toward her, glancing over the fall of red hair over her skin. He knew by her snort of derision she could hear the smirk in his own tone.

"Your employer is interested in mutant potential." She didn't once glance at him. "Perhaps he should let us make him more."

He mulled over her words, leaning back on the wall to slip out another cigarette and light it. It burned briefly with a magenta glow before falling into the dull red of human fire.

"De machine, it works den." He said it leadingly, deliberately leaving out the question mark.

Raven shrugged eloquently. "We seek more manpower."

He barked a laugh and pushed off the wall. His long duster swirled around his calves. "Y're chasin' a pipe dream, chère. Can' hire de Marauders."

"Don't walk away from me, LeBeau!" Her furious voice chased him to the end of the alley and he paused, turned his head just enough to catch her standing at the corner of his eye. "We're willing to work with clones."

That gave him pause. He turned all the way, stared into the inky blackness between the buildings and Raven's dark form therein.


"Malice, Psylocke, Cre—"

"Non." He waved her to silence, and though she could not see the gesture clearly, the word was as effective. "Malice," he stated, "cannot be cloned. She ain't a body. Ain't got no genes."

It was a point. Raven digested that.

She stepped forward. "Our priority is Creed."

He nodded, understanding. "I'll talk t' de boss."

"And you."

The demon eyes narrowed sharply. He turned away, staring down the cold New York street toward his next destination. "Can'."

"Why not?" she demanded. "Sinister clones all of you."

He turned on her a sardonic smile. "Y' wouldn' want him t' clone me, chère." He started walking.

Her voice followed hard behind him. "We need your skills."

He chuckled coldly as the darkness swallowed him up. Essex didn't share the things that mattered. Never had.

Never would.

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    FANDOM: X-Men: The Movie

    STORY SUMMARY: Lives, fates, and time itself lie broken in the hands of the Witness.

    DISCLAIMER: All characters and organizations (with the exception of small, mostly unnamed minor characters) throughout the series are the product of Marvel.

    CANONICAL NOTES: This story arc utilizes a strange combination of movieverse and comicverse and none of the above. Sorry about that.

    LANGUAGE AND ACCENTS: Cajun French is courtesy of Heavenmetal (many thanks). I will attempt to reproduce accents in this story arc.

    AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fic is the granddaddy of my entire fanfiction universe (with a couple of exceptions). Expect to see characters, relationships, names, and premises you recognize. Realize: it all leads somewhere you won't.

    (UNBOUND) entries are in drafting phase and are likely to change radically before complete.



    0. Entertaining Angels
    1. Queen Of Thieves
    1.0 The Storytellers
    1.1 Queen
    2.1 Night
    3.0 Prelude To Legacy
    3.1 Legacy
    3.2 Legacy
    4.0 Prelude To Remember
    6.1 Fierce
    7.1 Court
    9.1 Shattered
    9.9 Coda

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