Title: X-Book 2: Shadows and Steel - Chapter 21: Clash
Rating: PG-13 (violence, language)
Genre: Crossover, SPOILERS FOR X2
Summary: See Chpt 1
Disclaimer: I own nothing in regards to the Marvel characters or
any character from a previously published source portrayed in this
As the dust and broken pieces of wood and glass settled around him,
Toad kicked a section of the destroyed wall away from his legs, and
cursed angrily through his coughing. The room was now open to the
clearing night sky, but all of his attention was focused on finding
He shifted the remains of a window frame out of his way as he
crouched among the rubble. There was no sign of the X-Man, but his
eyes found Rebecca lying on the ruined carpet, staring wide-eyed at
the large, new entrance into her dining room.
Rebecca was moving herself backward along the floor, staying low and
creeping slowly underneath the large dining room table. She was
gaping upward, a mix of fear and confusion covering her face.
From the other room, a strong commanding voice rang over the noise
of the battling mutants. Toad turned his head to glance backward
and listen. It was Magneto's voice. Why had he returned to the
house while the X-Men were still here? They, in their condescending
opinion, would need to capture and turn Erik Lensherr over to the
authorities, the one event the Brotherhood sought to avoid at all
costs, even at the risk of their own incarcerations.
He heard Mystique's smooth and silky voice speaking harshly and
the low growling of who could only be the Wolverine cut her off
"He's telling you," the Wolverine was suddenly shouting,
"We all have to get out of this house NOW! There's
There was a sudden crash from outside and the ground shook
violently. Toad looked around in surprise. He glanced over at
Rebecca, who met his eyes and then pointed toward the broken wall.
Her face looked ghostly pale in the dim light, and filling with
Toad moved his gaze in the direction she was indicating, and noticed
out on the lawn, he could see what looked like a giant leg. There
was a base, like a foot, and about ten feet from the ground, there
was a large break, a hinge so it could bend.
What the hell? he thought and frowned in confusion. He began to
move toward Rebecca, as she continued to push herself further into
the room, when the ceiling above them began to crack.
Toad leapt over to the far wall and clung a moment above
Rebecca's head. She did not seem to notice him, as two great
reached through the hole created by the Cajun X-Man and ripped the
remainders of the second floor from the house. The fingers folded
in, one at a time, creating a loud crack as they locked into place.
Rebecca's back had hit the wall between the dining room and
kitchen, and all she could do in that moment of panic was stare,
watching the giant hands destroy her home. In her entire life,
through every bizarre event the Underground or Council had thrown at
her, she never felt more helpless than now. Her power reacted to
anger and danger, but her own terror was dampening her strength.
As the giant machine tore apart the wall, the second story began to
collapse. With a quick jump, Toad landed on the floor and lifted
the girl up by the shoulders roughly. He took a few backward steps
toward the kitchen doorway, and stared upward as the roof fell
away. Toad saw the machine's face and met its cold shining eyes.
He knew what it was, Magneto had insisted they all be informed of
Mystique's discoveries in Stryker's lab, and Deathstrike had
confirmed the plans for a machine like this. Seeing it now, the
growing hate he held toward `normal' human beings raged
furiously within him.
His hands gripped tightly on Rebecca's upper arms and Toad heard
her gasp. She looked backward at him, the quick pain jolting her
back to reality. Her frightened shock began to fade and Toad saw a
practiced and calm determination taking its place.
Then, from his right, he saw the Cajun X-Man struggling to his feet
from under a pile of rubble. The urge to shove him down again was
almost overwhelming, but Rebecca moved quicker than he could, and
she helped Gambit stand.
The three mutants moved into the kitchen just as the four green
search lights began to sweep the ruined room.
Magneto watched the other mutants freeze as the loud tearing sound
was heard from the other room. The ceiling began to collapse and
the X-Men moved quickly out of the house. The Brotherhood, in
practiced and perfect order, awaited his gesture before departing
the crumbling building.
Water sprayed wildly from broken pipes, which Iceman promptly
froze. It took him a moment to realize Pyro was standing next to
him. They glanced at each other but did not speak. There was too
much time, too much pain from the past year that prevented them from
connecting further in that moment of danger. They would meet again,
each knew, as enemies, but that time was not now.
"Where's Remy?" Iceman asked quickly, looking away from
Pyro and back at Storm.
"He followed Toad," she said, "He was dragging someone
else into the other room. They must still be inside
Magneto seemed not to hear her as she shouted and directed the
Brotherhood to follow him away from the house. They moved without
question, but Pyro hesitated, glancing between his leader, the
ruined home and the X-Men. He met Bobby's stare one last time
and then ran after the others.
Cyclops saw the Brotherhood's leaving as a retreat and called the
other X-Men to order. Wolverine unsheathed his claws and both men
ran toward the machine viciously.
Storm glanced upward toward the sky and felt the electricity surge
through the clouds. She tried directing that power through the
humanoid machine, but the bolts of lightning would not connect with
its exterior. She frowned with frustration and followed Wolverine
Iceman focused on the `feet,' and coated the ground with a
thick layer of ice. However, the frozen mass melted quickly, and
puddle at the machine's base. Bobby made another attempt with
Cyclops began to fire at the machine's hinged joints in rapid
succession. Each blow seemed to be absorbed by its outer skin,
rather than impacted by the beams of energy that shot from his eyes.
Wolverine slashed into the outer hull and tore downward. The
machine did not react, and continued to pull apart the home
carefully, almost methodically. If it had meant to kill, Wolverine
decided it would have already. This was something different than a
weapon meant to kill.
It was able to resist a variety of mutant attacks; it could have
easily been equipped with a weapon to destroy them where they
stood. Instead, it was almost searching, examining each attack they
launched with a monstrous curiosity.
After a few more moments of destruction to the home, the machine
straightened its `back' and stood eerily at attention. The
strange motorized internal sounds grew quiet, and its `chest'
to fold in on itself, concaving into its body.
The X-Men positioned themselves in a circle around its `feet'
and prepared for another attack.
Suddenly, from the opened section in its middle, long serpent-like
tentacles flew forth towards the mutants; all of the machine's
slow, focused movements did not exist in the explosive mass of
cylindrical appendages which lunged toward the X-Men with terrifying
"Is the target still priority?" Magneto heard Deathstrike ask
in a cold, monotone voice. He was drawing cars to him from up and
down block to create a barrier on the front lawn. Each vehicle
crashed as it piled atop the one before. He ordered the Brotherhood
to take fighting positions in case they had other enemies
approaching on foot, and finally, spoke loudly.
"The target is still priority," he said, "It seems our
enemies have grown more powerful. I would hate to make another
tonight...if that child comes to harm."
Pyro frowned, "What do we do about the others inside?"
Magneto turned toward him, and Pyro expected to see the rage there
from before, but the older man smiled confidently.
"Our Brother within can take care of himself," he said,
"He will guard our target. Meanwhile, your time to fight as a
Brother...may be at hand."
The scattered lights of concerned neighbors had begun to light, but
the earlier sirens had never even reached the street. Now, the
entire neighborhood fell dark, and the only illumination came from
the Sentinel's large, glowing spotlights.
After another moment, a single set of headlights appeared at the end
of the road, and sped down toward them. Magneto lifted one hand,
and prepared to destroy the vehicle as it approached and Pyro,
following his commander's warning, opened his lighter in
The dark night, however, was not broken by police or military
vehicles. A single blue Mercedes tore down the road and finally
squealed to a halt in front of the Brotherhood.
From within the car, Sid Malloy stared in horror at the battleground
which had once been his home.
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