Note: I wrote this for two reasons-to improve the character of Scott Summers, and as a ministry. I'd like to know if I should continue this, and where punctuation errors are.
''Nightcrawler! You on earth?'' a voice exclaimed. I sighed. The voice belonged to Wolverine. He and the rest of the X Men sat in a dimly lit, grey metal room, on metal chairs, around a metal table. Storm or Oruo Munroe, sat to my left-She looked regal, with her long white hair, black falcon shaped headband, and pure white suit and cape. The Dark Phoenix, or Jean Grey sat to her right-She looked more relaxed and had long red hair and a red suit with a golden Phoenix shape. To her left sat Shadowcat, or Kathrine Pryde- She had raven black hair and wore a black suit with a long white band down the middle of it. Beside her sat Starr, or Alvina Duska, our newest member. She wore a plain Golden suite with red star shapes all over it. At the head of the table sat our current leader, Cyclops, or Scott Summers. He wore a plain blue suit with a yellow x and had light brown hair. To his left sat Wolverine, or James (Logan) Howlett, who wore a distinctive yellow suite with blue claw-like markings down its side, and black hair that was shaped like a V. In the chair next to Wolverine sat the Beast, or Hank Mc Coy he had on a plain black suit-He looked like a monster with long toes and fingers and blue fur, but had the brains of a professor, and was twice as mannerly. Next to him was me-Nightcrawler, but please call me Kurt Wagner. I looked strange with blue skin, elf-like ears, two toes, three fingers and a long tail that had an arrow at its end. I wore white gloves, and a Black suit with a Red v. Next to me sat Angel or Warren Worthington. He had light gold hair, a red suit with white sleeves, and a pair of white angelic wings.
''Do you remember what we were talking about?'' Scott asked, looking at me straight in the eye. What? We were talking about something? . . . I thought, confused and said the first thing that came to mind.
''No. We were talking about what to do about Lifetaker.''
Lifetaker? . . .Again, my mind had drifted. Like a wave, it all came back-how life taker had used his hideous powers-A red energy ray that he could shoot out of his hands and use to destroy whole cities. So far he'd been too powerful to tackle head on, and after he defeated us like we were a bunch of mice, we needed a new plan, and it grieves me deeply to say that he killed Xavier and other old members-Gambit, Jubilee, Rouge. . . I can't stop thinking about those losses. Fighting him was worse than fighting the Sentinels in the olden days. The Sentinals were robots designed by the MRD-the Mutant Response Divison- to hunt down, and catch mutants.
Scott sighed again.
''What's gotten into you? You're not usually this distracted.'' He asked, managing the perfect strained look even without eyes one could see. I detected a hint of frustration in his tone. Xavier's death hit him the hardest and he hardly had time to deal with it when he was forced to become the main leader, with Oru, and Jean acting as co-leader. He should have been given time to get over his grief and shock before being burdened with the weight of this crazy team. . .but that didn't happen, and he takes his position far to seriously-which is bad for grief, and can lead to frustration. . . But I didn't want to go into the reasons for my distraction, so I offered the only truthful explanation I could.
''I have a lot on my mind,'' I explained.
''I understand.'' Scott's tone was sympathetic. ''But, if we're going to stop Lifetaker we can't allow the changes around us distract us. . .'' His voice caught and he stopped talking.
I narrowed my brilliant yellow eyes just slightly. He sounded as though he was talking as much to himself as me.
''It is not the easiest time in the world to do that, especially with a new member to get used to.'' I pointed out. I had nothing against Alvina, however, she did complicate things, as we were divided in our opinions as to rather or not we should welcome her. Logan who was stretched out on his chair with one hand behind his head one hand arched, flexed his metal claws in and out, gaze trained on them. At last, he turned his gaze towards Scott.
''I agree with Nightcrawler-Alvina is a distraction.'' He narrowed his eyes at her. ''Besides how do we know we can trust a mutant who just shows up without giving a reason for joining? Remember what happened with Sabertooh?''
I sighed. Of course, Wolverine would be the first one to complain about her. I thought with exasperation.
''Hang on a moment,'' I protested ''I never said that she was a distraction. I meant that it wasn't going to be easy to welcome another member and save-'' But Scott beat me to it.
''Logan, didn't you find out your fight with Sabertooth, and the events surrounding it, were all lies?''
Logan glared at him. I shivered. It's a good thing Scott can't see that glare-or he'd be shirking. I thought, as Logan slowly rose from his chair.
''Listen here bub,'' He growled ''The only lesson I ever learned was my life was all a lie. Do you seriously think I could just, I don't know, forget all of that?''
''Enough!'' Scott ordered. ''We have more important things to discuss then your past-or have you been so caught up in your rage that you forgot?'' He asked the last question respectfully but Logan took it the wrong way.
''Rage?'' He laughed faintly and extended his claws. ''I'll show you rage and I'll bet you won't be so quick to say a word about it next time.''
''Can we focus?'' Warren cut in before the two got into another argument. ''We came here to talk about defeating Lifetaker, not argue. So can we please talk about defeating Lifetaker?''
Logan retracted his claws and sat down again. Scott gave Warren a nod, stood up and cleared his throat.
''Which brings me to the real subject of this meeting-Lifetaker.'' He began and shuddered as he went on ''As we have seen, Lifetaker has caused unimaginable damage-he's burnt 1000 houses, streets, and towers into ash, and ruined the lives of millions of people. We know his base seems to be the old MRD HQ. And we know he has the worst powers to ever be given to man-the ability to create or destroy anything with a certain Ray. It is clear he uses his powers to annihilate, and it is those powers that make him impossible to defeat. So does anyone have any ideas on how to defeat him? ''
A sudden stillness came upon the room. Did he really just ask that? I wondered feeling as though I had been struck by lightning. I had no suggestion to offer. I was as unsure about how to destroy Lifetaker as the rest of the team. I wished I had the answers. I wished I could remove Lifetaker in an instant, and relieve the team of the burden. But I had no idea how to began doing that. And judging by the looks on the other's faces, the same thought was running through their minds.Then Alvina tentatively raised her hand.
''I have an idea.'' She announced.
''Let's hear it then,'' Scott said and nodded her on.
''What if we find a way to destroy his powers, without actually harming him?'' She suggested. That's brilliant! I thought. A mutant who could come up with a way to defeat an enemy without actually harming him was, to me, one smart mutant. I sighed. But saying we could remove his powers, didn't tell us how to do that.
''I don't follow,'' Logan commented. I grinned. Trust Logan to question everything. I thought. No matter what, Logan would always be tough, wild, crazy, hot-tempered, Logan. There was a certain comfort in knowing that we would always stay the same even if the world around us didn't.
''Then let me elaborate, '' Alvina began ''We could remove his powers by undoing his DNA, or draining his powers that way we don't have to harm him physically.''
''We had Rouge for that.'' Logan pointed out. ''And, if you hadn't noticed, she's dead.''
''True,'' Alvina admitted ''But there is more than one way to remove something, and more then one way an enemy can be defeated.''
Now, where did that wisdom come from? I wondered, meeting her intense green gaze. She seemed far too wise for a woman of 24. Oruo raised her hand.
''If I may speak Scott.'' She asked. Scott nodded, and she went on.
''That sounds like a foolproof plan indeed, but I must remind you, Alvina, that to defeat Lifetaker we must understand his weakness, and he has proven himself to be a powerful opponent.''
That's when the problem hit me.
''What about Jesus?'' I asked ''Will taking away his powers show Lifetaker our Lord's love for humans and mutants alike?''
Silence. Then Warren speaks
''Kurt makes a point-we need to think of him as a fellow mutant. Remember his abilities are a gift, not a curse.'' Then he adds in a catchy voice ''As Xavier so often said. . .''
Like a shadow, grief falls across the team. A knott hardened in my stomach. Grief washed over me like water. We'll all miss Xavier, I thought grief and misery tearing at my heart. He was a noble X Men-and a light to us all. Things have never been the same without him. The hallow place his death had formed in my heart had never gone away. Then Logan raised an eyebrow.
''Going soft on the villain are you weak one?'' He queried.
''It's not my fault my powers aren't strong. But neither are they the weakest.'' Warren defended himself his eyes finally felling on Jean. ''I'm just glad they aren't the strongest.'' He added. Jean looked like she was about to retort when Scott clapped his hands for attention.
''Hank? What do you think?'' He asked.
''Stella's idea may or may not work.'' Hank began ''But I believe that if we have a chance at defeating Lifetaker we must take it. If we fail then we fail, but I'd rather die in agony knowing I did what I could to stop him, then die in peace knowing I never tried.''
Shock once again spiked through me. The team was ignoring my comment? They were seriously willing to leave out Jesus the ultimate warrior, and the one who had given us victory over our sin? My shock must have shown on my face for Hank added quickly
''I'm sorry Kurt, but the way towards peace is often paved in suffering, and the way of God is never free of pain. Remember he suffered more than any man on the cross so we could find his peace and forgiveness.''
''Amen to that,'' I commented after a moment's silence. The team echoed it. I sighed. Hank was right. All too right. Why is life so complicated? I wondered with a sigh. It seemed like a foolish question-but all of us ask it at one point or another.
''It seems like we're going with Alvina's plan-Now how do we find Lifetaker's weakness so we can go about doing it?'' Scott announced firmly.
Jean narrowed her eyes. ''I could read his mind and search for a weakness there.''
''That's too easy.'' Logan pointed out. ''Besides the rest of us can't read minds like you.''
''Jean.'' Cyclops says before an argument erupts, ''You are too valuable to risk-and your powers might get the better of you.''
I see a flash of the younger Scott in that decision. But then the older Scott shows through as well. He speaks from a place of wisdom now, not one of obsession. And he is correct. Jean's powers had once controlled her instead of her controlling them. You see, after being struck by a cosmic blast she obtained power in the form of a Phoenix-But that Phoenix sought to destroy so she had to learn to control it. . .but I suspected it's hunger for death still remained.
''I suppose that means we find out the hard way?'' Logan asked a gleam in his eyes.
A pained look crossed Scott's face and for a moment he is silent.
Then he said slowly, ''I don't see any other way. But I hate to risk it not after so many deaths . . .'' He shakes himself then adds briskly ''I . . .we can discuss this another time. You all are dismissed.''
Instantly I knew that Logan's question had hit him deeply. Scott had dismissed us far too soon. I figured he probably didn't want to risk more lives, yet didn't see another way, and was unable to admit that. I could relate in a way-but concern still nagged at me. Ever since he'd taken on the role as leader he had seemed so distant. So reserved. A different Scott all together. The Scott this team knew was always ready with a joke, or encouraging word, and he seemed so open to talk about his problems, or listen to one of the X Mens. . .but now he seemed less open about his problems. . .and he seemed like he was constantly on edge. That worried me, as Scott is our leader-and if he can't be a friend to this team then maybe there is no team. It's time I found out whats nagging him. So I'm going to do just that. I thought as I walked out of the room, and into the long, wood hallway, where the rest of the Team was headed. I walked to my Training room then backtracked to the Meeting Room, where Scott was. I found that the door was closed. I opened it slightly and peeked in. Scott stood by the window looking out. He was praying quietly.
''Father, I know you hear me, I know you hold me in your mighty hand but why can't I feel it right now? Why do you reopen my wounds when I ask you to heal them? Lord!'' He fell to his knees crying. ''I'm trying to do as you commanded and lead this team, but I barely know how to . . .but I don't want it anymore. I don't want to risk the team's life, but I can't see any other way! Just take it all away!'' His voice lowered to a chocking whisper ''Please. You know I'd die for the team in an instant, but I can't make the choice between their life or their death right now just let there be some other way. . .'' A shudder went through his body. ''Remind me that you are the God of Angel Armies. Remind me again of how faithful you have been. Your all I have. . .'' He stood there on his knees crying for what seemed an eternity, then he whispered ''Forgive me, father. . .Amen.'' Then he slowly rose and went back to looking out the window. I gently opened the door and entered the room.
''Nightcrawler, didn't I dismiss you?'' Scott sighed, turning towards me.
''You dismissed us early. And this is not the first time that has happened. As a fellow X Man, I am worried about you, our leader. Can you tell me what is going on with you? For the sake of the team?'' I asked deciding not to mention the fact that I had overheard his prayer.
Scott gave me a long, look. He seemed to be carefully considering rather or not I could be trusted with his troubles he said at last.
''Can you give me a reason why I should trust you?.'' He responded at last.
I sighed. There's that suspicion again . . .will people ever see me for who I am not for what I look like? I thought remorsefully. I was the last mutant anyone would talk to about their problems, and for a while, I was the last mutant anyone would talk to about anything. It had nothing to do with my listening skills-I was a good listener and I understand a whole world of problems-It had everything to do with the fact that many people think I'm a demon, and forever torment me because of that. When I was a child I was left to wander the streets an orphan, unloved, hated, and very much alone. I wondered if I would ever make it. I was afraid of everyone. As far as I was concerned everyone just wanted to hurt me. There are at least hundreds of scars from my neck to my sides, and all over my stomach. That's how much they hated me. Scott has no reason to distrust me. I thought, and for one awkward moment where we gazed into each other's eyes.
''I would understand any sort of trouble better than most. Do not forget my past.'' I said eventually. There was a heavy silence, that seemed to last for an eternity.
''I might as well tell you, rather than Wolverine.'' He mused somewhat dryly, breaking the silence, then went on in a louder voice ''Right now I feel like I can barely hold the X Men together and I wish Xavier was here to tell me how.''
I thought as much. I thought. But I suspected there was more to it than that.
''But there's more to your grief then just that isn't there?'' I asked. He fell silent. Problems. I thought. They are funny things-You could call yourself strong, but problems always wheedle their way in and make you trip-the weak can never get up. The strong fall.
Scott heaved a deep sigh.
''Xavier never told you my story did he?'' He asked
''No, neither did anyone else,'' I responded.
''I was the first mutant Xavier ever helped.'' He began ''And I sure . . .'' his voice faltered for a moment then he continued sounding as though each word was being forced out of his mouth. ''And I sure needed it. I was a . . reckless sixteen year old, who had no idea how to control his own powers. And I was furious with everyone. You think you know all rage from Logan-but Logan's rage is nothing compared to the rage I once had.'' A shudder ran through Scotts body, as though some dark memory had entered his mind. ''My parents were scared of me, and rightly so-I could have harmed them in a secant. And it wouldn't have been an accident either.'' There was a faint tremble in his voice, and he took a deep breath before continuing. ''Then Xavier met my parents, they told him all about me, and so he took me in, taught me how to use my powers, how to control them so they don't control you. . .and I became a version of myself I could be proud of. And Xavier's best friend. And so the X Men began. It was one of my greatest joys to watch him turn a confused mutant to a proud X Men. . .then all of that is taken away and I have to lead this team with no one to advise me. Do you see the problem?''
What can I say to that? I wondered shocked. Then the words just pour out
''You have the rest of us by your side, and you can be sure that no matter what God is there to guide you. You just have to trust in him, and have faith that he will advise you on all things.''
Scott gave me a sidelong glance. I sighed. He's doubting what I'm saying. I guessed.
''But is faith enough?'' He asked ''Faith doesn't stop people from going hungry, nor terrorists from striking, or save prostitutes. . .and it doesn't stop the world from persecuting us mutants. . .why am I even talking about this with you?'' He asked suddenly, as though breaking out from some trance.
''Maybe it's because I am the only one right now who cares about where this team is headed, and I am willing to listen,'' I responded calmly.
Scott fell silent for a long while. He seemed deep in thought then he said at last
''What if Logan is right? What if the only way to find out his weakness is through battle?'' He asked. ''And what if our only way to victory is through battle?'' I paused and thought for a moment. Maybe that's the only way we can see. But that doesn't mean that is the only way. I thought.
''I know one thing-this battle will not be won in violence alone, no matter how we find Lifetaker's weakness. Remember my friend, greater things are yet to come.'' I said.
Scott fell silent again for a long while. I could see indecision on his face. Then that indecision faded. h
''That's it!'' He exclaimed, then turned towards me. ''I think I have a plan. Gather the rest of the team..''
''I'm glad to see your willing to act,'' I observed
''I'm thankful you're a member of this team,'' Scott responded. Then I departed to go fetch the rest of the X Men. As I walked the training room, my mind swirled questions. Where did Stella come from? Why did she join us? What are the full extent of her powers? Will we truly be able to defeat life taker? What happens to us now? I sighed. . .I just hope the coming battle with Lifetaker doesn't destroy our unity. We will need it more then ever. Then I corrected myself. No, we'll need Jesus more than ever.