Eve groaned as the overhead lights burned through her bleary eyes and directly into her pounding brain. She was sorely tempted to close them again and retreat back into that wonderful dark calm of unconsciousness but decided against it. There were things much more important at stake here than just her discomfort. Banishing the headache she looked around her.
*Where am I?* she wondered. She was lying on a cushioned slab in a corner of a tiny room. *Cell is more like it* Besides the bed, a single chair and table were the only other furnishings in the room. There were no windows and a thin field of static covered the only exit. And standing behind the field...
"Please you have to listen to me!"
Cyclops *hmphed*. "Oh we have all intentions of listening to you. And don't get any ideas. This force field not only keeps you from escaping but it also negates any and all mutant powers. Now, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself."
"And what you did to Logan," Jean Grey-Summers finished for her husband.
Eve looked at her captors. Cyclops' face remained a stony mask, but his stance and the tone of his voice left no doubt as to his mood. Seated quietly behind him, Professor Xavier had tried to arrange his features in what he must have thought was a kind, understanding expression but what was reflecting in his eyes was a completely different story. Unlike the others, Phoenix didn't bother with putting up a false front. Sparks literally flared from her eyes and her teeth were fixed in a permanent snarl. Nope, she didn't have any friends here with *this* bunch either. Eve had learned the hard way that with people this upset, it was best just to do as they say.
She stood and walked as close to them as the field would allow. "My name is Eve, and I never wanted to hurt Mr. Logan once I realized the kind of person he really was."
"Fat lot of help that was to him *then*," Jean growled.
Eve chose to ignore that. "If these static things cut off mutant powers then you must put one around Mr. Logan as soon as possible."
"And why is that?" Professor Xavier asked.
"He'll be awake soon. We don't really have time for explanations...Oh, all right, if you insist! What you rescued from our labs wasn't Mr. Logan, not really-"
*"I knew it!"* Phoenix spat. *"You killed him you little-"*
"Jean stop!" Cyclops grabbed the red head before she could disarm the field and then do the same to Eve.
"Violence solves nothing here Jean!" the Professor yelled over her grunts of effort.
Eve put up her hands to block any forthcoming attacks. "No, you don't understand! He's not dead, part of him is just...somewhere else. The part that makes him Mr. Logan."
Xavier put a soothing hand on Jean's arm. "Please, Eve, elaborate."
Phoenix had calmed down a considerable amount and Eve felt it safe to continue. If someone like Phoenix ever got a hold of her... She decided to put it as simply as possible. "I didn't kill Mr. Logan. I only separated part of what made him himself, his essence if you like, from his physical shell. I'm sorry to say that the process was not a very pleasant one and was quite painful."
Eve almost didn't hear the quiet protest from Phoenix. "But I felt him *die*."
"Yes, Mrs. Summers, you did." She looked away, ashamed. "The Dark Riders needed you to stay away for a while so they made me hurt him. The Separation terminated the link between Mr. Logan and the physical world. Death is essentially the same act, only on a different level. And for Mr. Logan this Separation was twice as hard because his senses and self were so deeply in tuned with the world around him. Mr. Logan has been in another plane, utterly alone. Isolated with his memories and his pain. Everything he remembers or has ever tried to forget has been let loose from the mental constraints that he'd placed on them. I'm guessing that an equal equivalent for us would be if we were to cut out our eyes, ears, tongue, nose and fingers and then being dropped in the middle of a war zone...It hasn't been a very pleasant experience for him, I'm afraid."
Cyclops had gone several shades paler. "If it's that bad than just return him back into his body from this other plane."
Eve's small laugh held no humor. "But I *can't*! After the initial Separation Serenity took over the process. Mr. Logan has two distinct personalities; *one*, the man that you've all come to know and love and *two*... the monster that he has hidden from you. You might have seen glimpses of it when his control lapsed but for the most part he's kept it stored safely inside. Up until now, Mr. Logan has been the only one aware of how horrible this creature was, and that knowledge hurt more each day he suppressed it. It's woken him from his sleep in a cold sweat at least a thousand times." Eve noticed the way that Professor Xavier stiffened in his chair at this revelation.
"While he's been in this other plane, his...*Other* has been given free reign on his body and his memories. Serenity has been there the whole time, taunting it and teaching it how best to use what thay gave it. She's blocked both parts of Mr. Logan away from any outside stymulus. You see, I was lucky that I could even get in to *talk* to him let alone *save* him!" Eve looked desperately at the three X-Men opposite her. "Don't you get it?! Your ・rescue' wasn't an accident on our part, every one of your actions had been planned on by the Master. You must get Mr. Logan's body down here very quickly before the Awakening is complete. If not, Mr. Logan may be gone forever and you will be at the Other's mercy!"
Serenity turned to her Master. ~Now, Lord?~
She closed her eyes and gathered her strength.
Cyclops turned as a white beam shot through the walls toward them. As it passed through him, gooseflesh raised every hair on his body and the chill made him shudder. He saw the beam bounce harmlessly off of the force field to scatter around the rest of the room.
It seemed to have a more drastic effect on Jean and the Professor though. Before they could scream, blood burst from their noses and each slumped forward, completely limp. Scott barely caught his wife as she fell, he was so terrified. Not of the apparent injury to his love, but of the fact that their link had shared nothing with him. Not a forewarning, not a cry of surprise- even her pain had not crossed over to him. In fact, it was as if the link had never existed at all.
・Jean? *Jean?!* Can you hear me?・ No response from his now unconscious bride. ・Professor?!・ None there either. The Professor was sprawled in his wheelchair, head lolling against the backrest. Scott gently shook hid wife. ・What・s wrong baby? *Please* answer me・・
A barely heard whisper interrupted his plea. Scott looked up to see the white-eyed girl slowly backing away from the holding field.
*・What?・* he demanded. He dimly realized that the walls were still in place and intact. The force of the blast surely would have turned them into rubble?
・Serenity,・ Eve whispered, eyes large and frightened. ・If not for the force field she・d have gotten *me,* too.・
・Can you fix this?・
Eve slowly shook her head. ・N-no. It・s already started. We・re too late・・ She tore her eyes away from the unconscious telepaths and looked at Scott. ・But *maybe*・You have to let me out of here now. I・m the only one he can・t get to. I don・t know if I can stop him or not but I・m your only chance. Please!・
・You better have a good explanation for all this,・ Scott muttered as he laid his wife on the floor and headed toward the keypad lock.
~The telepaths are out of the way Master.~
・Excellent Serenity. It is time for the end of the old world, and the beginning of *ours*. If our puppet is successful here, *nothing* will be able to stand in or way again.・
・Wake Logan, Serenity.・
Beast was in the medlab when the cold white beam strafed the house.
*What on earth?* he wondered. He made only four steps to the intercom when a loud, rhythmic buzzing diverted his attention. Henry rushed to where one of his monitors was going crazy. As he reached the table housing both computer and patient he gasped.
・Logan! You・re awake! I-"
Any comments, medicinal or otherwise, died on his tongue as his friend・s eyes connected steadfastly on his own. Henry tried to back away, or in the very least blink, but found himself unable.
A red the color of dried blood had somehow creeped into Wolverine・s eyes, swarming in a pool of blood-shot white. Before Hank・s unbelieving eyes, a red haze seeped out from under his lids, giving them a bizarre, entrancing allure.
And then Hank was gone, being pulled headfirst into a blood filled nightmare.
Cyclops had punched in the first three digits when his hand suddenly dropped to his side. Alarmed, Eve rushed forward. She gasped, hands flying to cover her mouth. A light red mist hovered obscenely over Cyclops・ visor and, she assumed, his eyes as well. And then he simply fell, landing hard on the ground next to his wife.
・Oh no,・ she whispered, backing away from the door to crouch in the furthest corner. ・It・s over. It・s all over. I was too late・・
As the first cries and moans penetrated her cell, tears had already made well-worn tracks down her cheeks.