Title: Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here
Nightcrawler - June 24, 2012 06:28 AM (GMT)
In one moment, they had been engaged in the Worthington Complex. What had been their home became a brief war-zone, the frigid cold of the doppleganger's stolen powers giving the AC unit a run for its money. But now, in a plume of black and violet smoke, such machines would fail to persevere.
Kurt threw the false-mutant against something hard, the metal shell of a piping network that was but a fraction of what was down here. It wouldn't do too much to damage the undoubtedly durable Skrull, but it was enough to give Yez'led a fair shock.
Rather, a burn
Standing tall, Kurt regarded the Skrull almost indifferently, though his attentions were on nothing else. Around him, there was the imperious heat of a large factory furnace, a private taste of a cryokinetic's Hell. Pipes radiated the elevated temperature, the large, circular metal door behind him grated as orange tongues of flame danced within. He could feel the fires against his back despite the door, and already it began to wear on him. Though the heat brought a layer of perspiration to his brow, it evaporated into nothing.
"For a mutant, our Hell is where we cannot be ourselves. Mine was in Bavaria, among the common people, where I was nothing but a freak
. I grew up in a circus where it was hardly noticed and only when I left was I called monster
But I have learned to deal with that, despite my discomforts to this day, and have accepted what I am. I would have it no other way." He spoke in a forlorn tone, thinking of home. "Even then, I was one of the lucky ones. My mutation has blessed me with a body that does not change depending on where I am. Bobby's, however..."
Yellow eyes pierced the dimness, looking down at the imposter. "This would be his Hell, Bobby's. But to escape allegory, I will speak frankly and forwardly, as Cyclops might. There is no moisture here, surely you feel that. There is no hint of water nor accessible steam, no humidity to speak of. This is a place where Bobby cannot be himself. This is a mutant's personal Hell. It comes in many shapes and forms, in elemental natures or even those of the spiritual sort. I do not know if you species believes in a god or a place like this, where there is naught but fire and brimstone, but this will be as close to it on this Earthly realm for you. I could not allow you to remain at Warren's. I know the breadth of Bobby's abilities, the potential he has to change the face of this world. There, you would have endangered my companions and the city. Here, you only endanger me."
Kurt took a step forward.
"The guise of Robert Drake no longer holds purpose for you. You are powerless, Yez'led. You will surrender. You have better odds of survival with me than the man you froze on the roof of Warren's. Refrain from resisting and you will be treated with courtesy. But if you resist..." His three-fingered hands tightened into fist. "I will give you no quarter. Either way, you will tell me what you know of your fellow's invasion, why you are here, what you mean to do, all that you know of your ships and their weaknesses. But, most importantly, you will
tell me where the true Iceman is."
Bobby Drake - June 24, 2012 08:41 AM (GMT)
His back hit fire. It felt like fire. Yez’led fell forward after smashing into the back of a something shockingly hot. Only a few seconds in the inferno and he was already breathing heavy. It was so hot. Kurt started to talk. Blathering on about his Hell, Bobby’s Hell, why they could play power to power anymore.
As he spoke he tried to power up, tried to form ice in his hands. But it was useless. He stood to his feet when he talked about him being powerless. Saying he would surrender and find better odds with him that Logan. The Devil told Yez’led that either way he’d tell him information. About everything.
His response? He started laughing. “You really think I’d tell you anything?” He moved his hand behind his neck, pulling more classic motions from the brain library of Bobby Drake. “Oh Kurt… Ya know, I think we keep him in a room like this. Less risks of burns but just as hot. Really tells you who the courteous ones are, huh?”
He took a few steps to the side, surveying the layout of the furnace. “Between you and the uh…” He hiked his thumb behind him, “Logan-sicle, upstairs… I think I’ll take my chances with him. I’ve failed my mission, Kurt. I’ll take my chances with that feral fuck head than the preachy blue devil. You wear the halo, I’m following the guy with six pitchforks.”
He lowered his hand and clenched his fists, “I just don’t see what your options are. I don’t you think you can beat the information out of a warrior… and if you think Logan can hold his anger down long enough to not kill me before answers could be made, which I very sincerely doubt, I don’t see how you think you can win this.
X-Men don’t kill, but then that’s what Logan’s for right? He’s the one who’s the best at what he does, and what he does… is what I’m counting on.” He smirked, “So if you don’t mind. I think I’ll resist. Make something more difficult for you, a hell of a lot easier on our favorite Canadian feral.”
Some careless maintenance man left a toolbox. Perfect. Yez’led dashed for the toolbox and quickly dug out a wrench and reared it back prepared to use it as a weapon. His powers as Robert Drake were useless, but Yez’led was not trained to ever stop. He was going to continue looking like Bobby as long as he could, and continue to taint the image of the fun loving jokester from Long Island.
“Come on, Fuzzy… gimme your best shot.” He rushed forward with every intention of bringing the wrench down on his head. And knowing his power he had expected him to ‘bamf’ away. This was a losing battle in the furnace, and he was very well aware of that. It didn’t mean he was going down easily.
He had failed, and Yez’led knew there was no sympathy for failures.
Nightcrawler - June 24, 2012 06:41 PM (GMT)
Kurt's mouth flattened into a grim line as soon as the Skrull began his condescending response, mocking Kurt's words with laughter. The devil shook his head without a notion of regret. "No. I did not think that. It is simply the option we X-Men give to those less fortunate. It is as you said, Yez'led. You have failed your mission. You have failed your people and you have been brought to this place of allegorical significance to the person you have posed as. I do not know what conditions you are here under, but I know you serve the leader of the Skrull forces above. We could have helped you, if you would only relent, but I see that such offers of sanctuary are lost on you."
The devil raised his hands, both curled into tight fists. "My options are infinite. Yours, however... Even if you manage to defeat me, you will be stuck here. It is locked from the outside. You will be shut in here until someone sees fit to come and I do not expect that is any time soon. Nor will you find that the person who would come down here is any kinder than I. After all, the only person who knows I would bring you here is Wolverine," Kurt said coldly.
Shifting his stance, the devil prepared for combat. "As you will, mein Herr." He was resigned to do this, despite the violence, despite the fact that there were others much more suitable for the task. He would never harm life if he could, but in such times, when wars were happening. The scars on his shoulder and arm itched, the angelic symbols long scarred over, the penance for taking a life. He would not allow another to cut into his skin. His soul could not bare it.
But he would do what needed to be done.
Fur rising to a bristle again, Kurt bared his teeth like his friend might. The Skrull came, wielding a heavy wrench. Kurt would have no need for a weapon. Countless hours of training in martial arts and forms specific to his own body, the devil was more than prepared to deal with one measly wrench.
The devil weaved to the right as the wrench was brought down. Vertical strikes were simple things to deal with, linear and unimaginative. With enhanced agility and reflexes true to his form, the wrench passed down his side. The devil notched back his arm and struck. First, he aimed a right hook at Yez'led's face and then another toward the abdomen, countering with a volley of punches. He was more than ready to duck or avoid the wrench, putting that at a higher priority than punching. The metal object could crack a skull and he knew fully well that it was a great danger to be struck.
"You have lived as Bobby over a year! How could you bare to exist in a life that was not your own? All that you and 'your' friends have shared, the horror and laughter, how could you bare to suffer your anonymity for those who would have you do wrong? Did you ever consider to show your true self to any? To share your plight?" Kurt growled. "What about Hartley?! Did you even love her?! Did you care that it was your fellows who killed her?!"
Bobby Drake - June 25, 2012 06:16 AM (GMT)
JP Between Yez'led and Nightcrawler
Yez’led ignored the words of the Devil. But during the attack, Kurt punched him in the face, he had managed to keep ahold of the wrench. Then the punch to the abdomen, then the series of punches. Eventually the punches that were delivered caused Yez’led to drop the wrench. But the final punch the Devil had sent him flying to his back. He wasn’t trying. This was the plan.
But he knew Kurt would never have it in him to kill him. That’s why he had his chips placed on a different dog. As Kurt shouted at him of the usual drabble, how he could live another person’s life. His words, it was something he rolled his eyes about, but… when he said her name. His demeanor visibly changed. Suddenly the heat, was something easily ignored, an afterthought.
The Skrull who mere moments ago was condescending and jeering. Now his stance was dark, serious, and almost pained. He pointed at Kurt, “You don’t…. get to talk about her…” He had his mission Yez’led had his orders. But there was just one thing that wasn’t in his orders that happened.
The Skrull fell prone, the mutant standing over him. His tail reached out and wrapped around the wrench, tossing it away far across the other side of the furance room. It bounced with a loud clatter into a pipe and fell to the ground with a metallic thud. Kurt growled above the Skrull.
Kurt noticed the change in Yez'led almost immediately after mentioning Hartley's name. It must have struck something within the other man, if Skrulls could be called men.
"No? By what right do you say that? You kidnapped her boyfriend, became him, and then think you have the right to say I cannot speak of her? The woman died because of you and yours. She died because of your people! You did nothing to stop them!" Kurt shouted, fists trembling. His knuckles were sore from the strikes already, but not enough to hold him back.
But Kurt would not strike a man when he was down.
Yez’led wasn’t going to lay there and let the blue Devil talk about her like that. He cried out simultaneously while swiping his leg around to attempt to trip Nightcrawler. Whether it connected or not Yez’led would move after the swipe and roll backwards so he could crouch and still face the Devil. In which he would attempt to tackle Kurt if his leg swipe didn’t take him down.
Kurt managed to react quickly enough to the legs. A small jump and the Skrull's legs passed under him, but by the time he landed the Skrull was already rolled back and prepared to leap, which did not give the devil ample time enough to adjust himself. The force of the Skrull's tackle sent them both falling back, Kurt beneath. The shoulder in his abdomen knocked the wind out of him, his head snapping against the hard concrete floor painfully. Momentarily dazed, Kurt raised his arms in defense, but made for a quick jab upwards with his palm to try to strike the Skrull in the chin.
The tackle connected, good. Yez’led was on him, perfect. Kurt threw a palm upward to hit him on his chin, even better. These punches mean he would stop talking. Anything to get him to stop talking about her. The palm to his chin made Yez’led see stars. He moved his hands and wrapped them around Nightcrawler’s throat. Applying enough pressure to make talking a struggle but not enough for him not to breathe.
“Go ahead, Devil… teleport. Self-sacrifice is what heroes are about after all. It’d be easy, just right into any one of these heat death traps. I’d be taking you with me but then I’d stop sullying your precious Bobby Drake’s image.” His words were venomous. He wasn’t holding much pressure,
He moved closer to Kurt’s face, “I know you’d never have it in you. I’ll make it easier for you. I came in out of nowhere. Grabbed him, and teleported to his Hell, where it’s hot. I made sure to weasel my way into your lives, and none of you even knew. None of you ever suspected. My kind will win, there is more of us than you can even begin to think-“
The pressure increased around his neck, “None of you even knew that the man you know and trust had taken over. How can you call yourselves his friend, when you didn’t even know?!” He sneered, “Oh yea. All that time, alone in the heat. How well do you think he’s holding up? You think he’s begged yet? Pleaded even? ‘Please… please just a glass of water?’ I can picture it… so well.”
Hands wrapped around his neck, gripping tight. Strangely enough, however, it was a lose choke, his wind-pipe pressured enough to find difficulty speaking but not enough for air to pass into his lungs. Even then, Kurt struggled, his hands wrapping around Bobby's wrists. Though the Skrull was not moving for the kill, he was showing restraint. Why?
The Skrull pressed close and Kurt struggled against him, lip curled up still to expose fangs.
"You..." he began hoarsely, the Skrull mocking Bobby's condition in whatever prison he was contained in. "Have no... gyuk," the Skrull's hands were tight, but Kurt persisted. His hands tightened around Bobby's wrists, struggling to pull the hands off of his throat. "Compassion. If you were..."
The muscles of his arms ached as he fought against the grip.
"... Truly Bobby... Truly replacing him... You would have learned that first of all..." His yellow eyes glared upward. "You forced... Hartley to suffer... a false love... in her last months... Your kind will destroy all... that is good in this world..."
He’d had enough. “Ya know… Kurt I was gonna stall this out, wait for you to grow a goddamn pair and do what needed to be done. But I’m sick of waiting. I’m just going to kill you, then wait for Logan to thaw out, find me, see what I did and have him do what needs to be done.”
His grip got tighter and he forced Kurt up close, “You’re gonna look at the face of your friend killing you as you die. And you wanna know the real kick in the ass, ‘buddy’?” He raised Kurt further, so her ear was next to Yez’led’s mouth, “All that’s good in the world… died with her two days ago. I could give a fuck about anything else.”
Kurt was kept too far of a distance before, now he was close, too close. Yez’led was letting emotion get in the way. And if there was anything you shouldn’t do was to let your emotions get in the way.
The tightening grip spelled disaster for the mutant, his windpipe closing. His larynx tightening, his lungs gasping for air. The veins of his face began to bulge, eyes standing in their sockets. He was drawn up from the warm concrete, hands still trying to pry the Skrull's deft grip from his throat.
He could not breathe.
Struggling as he was, even his trained, athletic lungs would be unable to last longer than another minute. That was, if the Skrull did not break his neck first. Resisting as best as he could, a weezing growl rose up in his throat. His tail slithered between his legs and turned upward, pressing into the ground. With the ability to hold Kurt's own weight and a bit more, he suddenly let go of Yez'led's arms and grabbed at his shirt. Using his own pelvic as a fulcrum, the devil pushed up with his tail and pulled down with his arms. The motion would send the Skrull soaring over him, powerful and flexible legs kicking him into the air.
Right into a set of scalding pipes.
As soon as the devil was released, he drew in air with a great gasp and rolled over into a crouch, one hand still on the floor, the other nurturing his throat.
"I do not believe," he breathed in deep, speaking with a raspy voice through the probably screams if the Skrull actually made it to the scalding pipes, "that if all that was good in the world died with her, you would have let her died knowingly. May God have mercy on your soul if you did..."
Struggling, Kurt rose to his feet. "Kommt. Let us finish this."
One minute it seemed the fight was over. But then he flew. Before Yez’led could figure out what happened his back hit the searing hot pipes. The pain… it was, unbearable. He cried out in pain. Yez’led breathed heavy hearing Kurt talk about how he didn’t believe him. His arms and hands shook from the pain on his back. He struggled to his feet and said to finish the fight.
Anger and pain radiated through him. “You think… for one moment, that if I knew-.” He paused. No. He wasn’t going to do this, not with Kurt, that would make it more difficult for him. It was Yez’led’s goal to make it so easy for him. It would appear that he had to prod further; these fucking mutants weren’t getting the picture. He kept his eyes to the ground, not looking at Kurt as he spoke, “You think I ever cared about any of you? I would have killed you all off myself had you not caught me.”
He stood up and faced the man, all humor gone his face was dark. “Julian… Then Nori, Terry, you, Paige…” He was naming the order of the people he would have killed. He was done playing, and he was done listening to him talk about Hartley. He gave a grim smirk, “Josh would be useful to us though. We’ll dissect him. Rip him open… all while he’s awake.”
He voice was flat, and lacking any emotional attachment to the people he had come to know this past year. In all honesty, to himself there was only one person who could have changed his stance on this war, one who he would have taken away and protected with all his might and power. But it didn’t matter anymore. The rest of the world can rot. He raised his hand and urged Kurt to attack. “Next time I get my hands around your throat… I will kill you.”
Nightcrawler - June 30, 2012 05:45 AM (GMT)
These were not idle threats that the Skrull gave. The green-scaled villain spoke the truth, but provocation would not get to Kurt. No matter what strife would fall from the Skrull's lips, he would not give in. This was goading, egging on to a final trade of blows. A trade of blows it would be, but final it was not. Those threats of cruelty against his fellows served only to harden Kurt's resolve against this monstrous entity. He would not allow any of his companions to be killed nor taken. He would not let them suffer as Bobby might be suffering right now or even the untold numbers of their kin.
Kurt's eyes narrowed upon the Skrull, who spoke of wrapping those green, clawed hands around his neck again. Somehow, though, that apathetic, distant, unattached tone wore upon him more than the idea of being choked. His brows knitted together in a furrow, lips turning from scowl to a frown.
" 'Only a Sith deals in absolutes,'" Kurt quoted. He remembered fondly seeing those movies with Bobby, enjoying the revel of epic battle, a duel of fates, torn between darkness and light. Here, Kurt felt no pleasure, no notion of happiness, only the grim darkness of the flickering shadows around them. "If you remember that from Bobby's memory, Yez'led, then you know this will be it. I take no pleasure in this," his frown remained, yellow eyes meeting the Skrull's.
"I pity you."
A billowing burst of smoke replicated from where Kurt was standing into the air in front of the Skrull. A three-toed foot swung through the plume at the Skrull's head, the top of it soon to collide with the Skrull's cranium. But the chains of burden had been removed and all of the talents of the X-Man's agility and prowess flourished. He disappeared less than a fraction of a second's passage whether or not he actually struck the first blow. In another burst of cloudy air, reappearing down against the ground. Crouched on one foot, the momentum of the other kick still in play, he spun on the axis of the ball of his planted foot to swing at the Skrull's leg.
Quoting from a movie that Bobby watched with the Devil. He remembered from those stupid Star Wars movies. How anyone could stand to watch thirteen hours and fourteen minutes of a movie marathon of any kind was beyond him. Even though Bobby was a powerful mutant, he loved the Star Wars movies for the heroics of the Jedi.
In Bobby’s memory, Yez’led could recall how Bobby wanted to be a Jedi one year. It seemed like Yez’led was finally going to get what he wanted, a real fight. One with the only outcome he wanted. But his warrior blood wouldn’t let him quit. The foul smelling smoke make the Devil disappear and reappear with only the image of a foot coming across his face.
He bent slightly at the hit, it nearly knocked him off his feet, the next blow was at his leg the swipe made him land on his side, but Yez’led wasn’t down for the count. He brought his leg forward to hopefully kick Kurt in the face, torso, or legs. It was hard to tell with the brimstone smelling smoke.
Kurt gasped aloud as the foot found perch on his face, the blow jarring him. His head snapped back as the foot bounced against his skull through the billowing plume. He rebounded, however, instinctively rolling with the force of the blow, his tail coming up over head. Hands planted into the ground and pushed, his feet throwing themselves into the air. The strength of the motion lurched Kurt back onto his feet.
A fist flew through the air, aimed at the Skrull's chest.
He appeared back to the Skrull's side, another curled hand throwing itself at Yez'led's kidney.
The air was full of smoke as he appeared down before the Skrull again, aiming another blow at the Skrull's solar plexus.
A foot tried to plant in Yez'led's face.
The cloud thickened, the rank stench of his jaunts even wearing thin on Kurt in its density. He was in the air, gravity bringing Kurt's weight down on the Skrull from behind in a full body press. If the Skrull did not react, his feet would find themselves on both of the Skrull's shoulders, Kurt would roll his body forward and down in a tight circle, the momentum and pull of the ground bringing the Skrull down with him. He'd roll and release, flinging the Skrull across the warm concrete.
Hit, after hit, after hit. Kurt was winning. Not that the Skrull warrior didn’t see it coming. But the blows didn’t even allow him to see clear, let alone strike back. The acrobatic mutant certainly lived up to his name. He was fine with it. This was part of his plan. Losing.
The weight from the Devil as he landed on him and flung him across the concrete. Yez’led, still in full Robert Drake form, tried to lift himself up, and the pain from the blows made him groan ever so slightly. He looked to the side and saw the wrench Kurt had thrown. He just needed to get Nightcrawler to get close enough. He started to laugh.
“Hey Kurt… remember my first session in the Danger Room?” He still operated under the façade, to make it even more difficult. “Man, I was such a lost kid then. I’d like to think I got better with time…” Yez’led looked up at Kurt and asked, “Whaddya think?” He quickly grabbed the wrench and raised himself up to throw the wrench at the Devil’s face.
Yez'led went flying and Kurt came to his feet, his chest rising and falling at a rapid pace. More than use to this activity, it still took its toll. He drew in the heated breaths, his throat dry as dessert from the choking and the air temperature. The Skrull was labored, too, Kurt could tell, struggling to get back to his feet. After the assault, the devil knew full well what the alien's condition might be. None were immortal and the Skrull, though durable, was still a man.
"I do," he replied with a small growl. "I remember watching Bobby lope around as a snow man, his powers still yet undefined. I remember him only throwing snowballs and skating on skis rather than slides. You are not Bobby..." He stepped closer slowly.
The wrench went flying from the Skrull's hand. Too close to move aside, he twisted, that fifth limb of his tail snaking up like a blue flash of lightning. It caught the wrench and Kurt continued to turn. His tail curled and twisted like a cobra, then struck, throwing the wrench right back at the Skrull's skull.
Yez’led’s last jab seemed to work well enough. Or maybe it was the heat that was confusing him. He didn’t even realize that Kurt had caught the wrench. He was trying to stand when he brought the wrench down, cracking it on his skull. Darkness. Sweet darkness. Yez’led groaned but he was down for the count. He wasn’t expecting to wake up from the darkness. For the time he was out, he didn’t feel the pain, or the heat. He’d have one hell of a headache if he did wake up.
Kurt watched as the light faded from the Skrull's eyes, his body going limp from the savage return. The heavy wrench had made a painful crack against Yez'led's brow, then landed in a clatter of noise. The first step of what needed to be done had been completed, but the rest was of no avail. He had defeated the imposter, defeated the fake Bobby, but discovered little.
It was then that Kurt felt the wet texture of coagulating blood, the swelling around his eye beginning to grow it shut. His breath still labored, chest rising and falling, his fists slowly uncurled. But as his eyes soon began to wander, they fell upon the burning furnace, the grating glowing orange from the fires within. He considered walking over to it and opening the door, lifting the unconscious Skrull into the hellish inferno. Cremation was a rite fit for the warriors of old faiths, to burn on the pyre and ascend to the gods. It was also a horrible thing, the darkest stain on his own heritage.
The self-afflicted scars on his shoulder and arm itched... And Kurt shook the image away from his wounded head.
The devil regarded the unconscious foe in silence. Yez'led had become Bobby, a twisted form of his friend. He had lived under their roof, shared meals, watched television, trained, laughed, cried... If he was not Bobby now, having been him for so long, then who was he? Was he still the Skrull warrior he claimed to be?
In his years, Kurt had seen the eyes of a warrior, cold and deathly.
He had also seen the wholeness of love and wounds of loved loss.
Both, the Skrull had shown in these few violent, abhorrent minutes down here. And here, Kurt would have to leave him. He could not bring himself to do the deed. It was too final. Too absolute. It broke his soul before. The seeds of what Kurt believed to be evil had rooted themselves, sealed away through penance and scars. Some day, perhaps, if he truly needed to, if he could not force his foe to end, his hands would be red with blood again.
To Kurt, his teleportation was without its sound for once. He was glad to be leaving this Hell, but he knew he would be back soon.
Locked in the abyssal darkness, where only Inferno was there to keep the Skrull company, the limp body of Bobby's doppelganger would remain. Even if he awoke, too broken to move, too battered to care, the fires would forever burn. What had once been Bobby's Hell had become Yez'led's.
And soon, Kurt knew, the cold claws of death would come to find the Skrull.