title: Kurt's albatross.
category: crossover (X-Men & The Mummy -- both I and II of
reply to the Opening Line Challenge from - Khaki, I think.
disclaimer: Not mine; except for any original fictional
summary: like the Ancient Mariner, Kurt Wagner has an
albatross of his own: his past. and not just any past at that.
takes place about a month after X2.
POV: Kurt Wagner's.
note: the items in Italics are the parts which are not First
PRESENT DAY -
"You ever killed anything?" I am asked.
I do not need to look up from where I kneel to know that it was
Wolverine asking me that question. I finish my prayer before I
reply: "Yes." Many things."
"What," he asks me. "A rabbit? A fish?"
I stand and perform the proscribed rituals demanded of me by my
faith. Only when I complete those, as he is looking like he assumes
his correctness in this matter, that I reply, "I have killed men
"When? When you raided the Pentagon under Stryker's control? That
doesn't count." Is he trying to provoke me? Hoping that I will be
angry enough to challenge him to a fight? That I will lose control
over reason and go along with his ideas `for the hell' as humans
I do not meet his eyes. "Before then. Years before, I killed men
and mutants alike." And those who were said to be angels and gods.
And small children, before they could become any of them.
"Then you shouldn't have any trouble with jumping jacks," he quips,
even as he sizes me up; those who act up in his classes are called
out onto the mats, where he lets them try and fight him, in front of
everyone. "C'mon," Wolverine tells me. "Ev'rybody's waiting."
He teaches gym. Phys.Ed. for mutants.
Physical fitness. The irony occurs to me, though I do not speak of
"Very well," I say, and motion for him to lead the way out of here,
down to the exercise mats.
"You ever gonna get anything to put in your room?" Wolverine asks
me. Yes, my small room, my private space, is undecorated by and
large. Beyond a cot and a little recepticle for my clothes, what
more do I have need of?
Ah yes; I remember.
"What I need," I tell him as we leave, "is not something that would
fit in this room, or in all of this school's grounds."
"What's that?" he asks.
My old home.
It was the Kingship of Akenaten. The center of the civilized world
was Amarna. All things were ruled by the great god Aten, whose
living representation on Earth was Akenaten, lord of the Two Lands.
I walk slowly into the throne room of the great and mighty, the lord
of Two Lands, the living emissary of Aten. I could simply appear in
the room, but such an act has been forbidden years ago. There are no
others in the room, very odd: not even Tut or Nefertari are present.
No servants fanning my lord Akenaten, nor any scribes to record our
words. Even the guards and serving boys and girls are noticably
I kneel on the floor, prostrating myself before his glory. "I have
arrived as per your summons, my lord my king my master." I am your
right hand, ready as ever.
"When you were first brought before me," my king says, "I could have
ordered your death." There is nothing to say to that - it is truth,
and would have been his right. "But Aten stayed my hand, and moved
me to task you suitably."
"For which I give daily thanks to you and the great Aten disk," I say
"As you should." Then he falls silent. Disturbingly silent.
"My lord?" I ask, concerned.
"There are enemies of the true faith," he tells me. "Those who would
delight in my death."
"Sick men, my lord. Deranged lunatics who do not know their shadow
from their wife," I say.
"In many cases, yes. But there are enough of them to trick the
populace into following them." He sighs, a sound that bodes naught
but ill. "Aten has seen fit to show me my death. Within ten years,
I will be one with Aten Himself, and the infidels will once more
I draw in breath of my own, a gasp, a surprised noise that garners
his attention. I know not what to say -- I dare not contradict Aten,
much less Akenaten -- but such terrible news. "What do you wish me
to do?" How many do I slay?
"Be determined," Akenaten my lord tells me, calmly, as though he has
not just revealed that he is going to die. "When the blasphemers
return to power, they very likely will bring the Medjai with them.
Use the Medjai however you can; I forgive any trespasses you may make
in preserving the true faith."
"My thanks, my lord."
"That is all." Time passes; minutes and seconds. "Is there a
petition you wish me to hear?"
I bring myself to nod, even with my throat choked up. "Yes, my
lord. May I remain here longer, to bask in the radiant glory which
you bring to the world?"
He shakes his head, slowly, sadly. "No. I forbid it." A
pause. "Remember always, Aten is the sun. Worship properly." He
fixes his eyes on me. "You may leave direct from here; I wish it."
I nod, and *BAMF*
"Welcome to Westchester," Charles Xavier said to someone he hadn't
seen in a long time; a sight happier to meet than he'd been with
"I'm happy to be here," Alex O'Connell said. "The old truce stands?"
Xavier nodded. "It does," meaning he'd keep out of Alex's head, and
in return, Alex wouldn't let any spirits or things sic Charles.
"Tell you the truth, old chap, I'm very greatly looking forwards to
this vacation -" And just then, overhead, there was a very loud
*BAMF*. Alex's face was taut now. "Bugger," he said. "We thought
he was still confined at Alkali. Well, there goes my vacation."
"`Alkali'? As in Alkali Lake?" Xavier asked, and was answered with a
silent nod. "He's one of my students," Charles said. A new student,
only days since being enrolled in the school. "Are you sure about
"The Medjai elders were very insistant about the sound," Alex
said. "`Bamf' is what they have relayed through the generations,
alongside the names of the doomed." He hesitated. "Is there -
somewhere secure here, that we could discuss this matter?" Without
being overheard, if that's possible.
Once they were in Xavier's office, "I brought reference material for
you to look over," pulling a folder out of his knapsack.
"I thought you said -"
`We thought he was still confined at Alkali.' "I know what I said,
old friend. But I'm still an O'Connell -- which means I always
travel prepared." Xavier seemed hesitant, almost doubt
(ing/ful). "Look, Charles," Alex says, "just look at the
photographs. Ask me any questions about them that you want to.
Just...don't doubt me simply because I'm inconvenient."
Xavier considers, then nods. "Very well," and accepts the papers
from his old friend.
While his friend was looking over the material, Alex looked around
the office. Never much gifted when it came to his nose, there wasn't
anything he could smell. But the sights alone compensated for that.
From the quirky paperweight holding down a stack of graded papers to
the blotter on his desk, Xavier was no more a spartan man than he'd
been a spartan teen. Upon the shelves, there were books by Stephen
Hawking, T.H.White, and a score of others. Physics, classical
literature, mythology, biology. A perfectly apt collection for a
headmaster of mutants.
"When," Xavier asks after several minutes of examining the first few
pictures, "was this picture of monkeys taken?"
"1920, at the Temple of Ramses II," Alex said, relieved that his old
pal was at least showing some curiosity regarding the matter. "And
they're baboons." He said nothing about the second photo of the
baboons, one taken years later -- in preparation for the dismantling
for the Temple's relocation under United Nations auspices...the
second photo was of the baboon's backsides, and one of them had a
long tail, a tail with a phlanged tip.
Imhotep had lived once in the Old Kingdom, and had been re-released
upon the Earth -- for reason the Medjai still debated -- during the
reign of Seti I. But by the time of the New Kingdom, the Old Kingdom
Imhotep had become regarded as a god. Similar forces, among the
royal court rather than the commoners, had led to the tail of that
baboon -- Ramses II had been trying to show that he was lord over
even the slayer.
Then Xavier came to the last photograph. A photograph of Alex
standing next to an aged carving. A carving that was life-sized.
Humanoid, with partly-fused fingers and toes. The remaining flecks
of paint were neither the red nor white traditional for depictions of
humans -- nor the green of Osiris. A same-colored tail ended in a
pointed tip, with phlanges of skin to either side of it.
Charles looked at it for long minutes. "How is this possible?" he
asked. As far as he could tell, it was identical to one of his new
To one Kurt Wagner. To Nightcrawler.
"As I was trying to tell you," Alex said without offense in his voice.