Tales of the Timeless #22

Guest written by WarlorTVor, Edited by Marvelite
Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in

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Tales of the Timeless

Nullified Time: Part One - Descent into Darkness

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The ever-constant waves of water, which were forever in motion, appeared to possess a darker coloration than usual, nearing a deep shade of pitch black almost. The unmistakably clear sound of the crashing waves shattered what precious few provinces silence may have held in its seemingly unimportant vigil of the night’s passive events.

The midnight’s air was crisp and possessed the slightest undertone of death’s cold touch; the smell of it was that of the ever present, and somewhat intoxicatingly stimulating scent of the sea air, which seemed to be out in force this night.

Yet the ever so refreshing taste of the sea’s touch was not the only object out in the force on this night. For a thick, unforgiving fog had taken over domination of the night sky, obscuring the normally breathtaking vista of the heavens away from those souls that still found themselves among the realm of consciousness in this godforsaken hour. Certain segments of the swirling mist were denser than others, allowing for a few faint, rouge streams of pale moonlight to filter through, however for the most part darkness and the world of shadow reined. Even the artificial, manmade light, which was being emanated from various lamppost that were electronically set ablaze, seemed to have no affect against the onslaught of utter darkness; their once bright golden flames turned to a dull haze.

Yet, whereas some would find the eternal darkness nothing more than a hindrance of sorts, others thrived on the darkness, making their entire existence within the shroud of shadows, relishing within its several layers of depth, which one can – and most often does – become lost in.

And then . . . there are others . . . who stalk under the shroud of darkness . . . waiting for the right moment in which to prepare for their preemptive strike . . .

Blade bolted to his feet, weapon to bare. It was an impossible act to gaze into the creature’s eyes, for the veils of darkness that were his sun glasses covered them thoroughly, not revealing even the slightest glimpse of life within the dark vessel. Yet, what emotion his covered eyes lack to expression his visage utterly speaks versus on the fury, which burns within the depths of his soul. His darkened facial features, normally dormant, displaying only passive emotions, were now a screwed by an insidious, beast-type snarl that tore away from his visage. His lips arched backward, sinisterly, revealing his two white fangs, a throwback trait from his vampire heritage, and one that he bears in order to strike terror in those who wish to spurn onward the affront against his person. A low guttural growl tore away at his throat, enhancing his animalistic features ten-fold.

Flanking the half-breed on all fronts stood the collective members of a recently formed Vampire Occult who had taken the title of the Brotherhood, and ever so slowly, they moved in, closing the circle around the lone warrior, preparing to make the strike, and draw first blood.

Their uncontrollable lust for blood . . . his blood . . . was blatantly clear, simply from the grotesque expressions, which appeared to have been carved onto their collective visages, as if chiseled in granite-rock. Their complexions were a deathly pale in coloration, even more so than the faint rays of moonlight that had managed to stab away at the ever thickening fog, and supply the once thought of abandoned warehouse with its only source of light. The Brotherhood’s collective, dark, crimson red optics burned and seethed with the venomous ichor of hatred.

And Blade could detect not a glimmer of life within their now soulless eyes; not even the faintest beckon of hope. No more were they freely thinking individuals, with a will and a sprit to forge their own destines the way they saw fit, rather they had denigrated into an bottomless pit of their own lustful desires.

They were beyond hope, beyond such, humanistic notions such as caring or love . . . all that mattered now was the hunger, and the unquenchable, all consuming thirst for the blood of innocents.

The Brotherhood, ever so slowly, made their way closer . . . and closer . . . and . . .

From the faintest of all reflections, emanating from the farthest corner of the sunglasses, that the half-breed bore, Blade took note of one of the Brotherhood’s numbers crouching down toward their floor, a sadistic expression veiling his features, his knees were bent forward suggesting that . . .

And in that moment . . . it appeared as if time itself had utterly ceased to move forward . . .

Everything happening in the moment that existed between the moments . . .

Moving on purely on the animistic instinct, which drives him onward, Blade twisted his waist a full ninety-degrees to the left, at the exact moment that the rather foolish Vampire leapt forward, its elongated talons extended as if to personally deliver the death blow against the chosen prey. An insidious, seemingly hellish scream tore lose from the young man’s throat, and when the dark specter caught his first glimpse of the creature he surmised his age to be no more than sixteen.

Yet this factor scathed him not in the slightest.

With his one free hand, the slayer lashed outward, catching the soaring creature only moments before he would have the opportunity to write the dark specter’s epitaph in a pool of blood.

The creature screamed once more, and it appeared as if his fangs started to increase in size at the indignity of it all.

With his grasp firmly in placed, slightly below the base of its skull, and applying mass amounts of pressure, his fingers drilling into the creature’s pale skin, Blade twirled the creature, and himself, in another half circle. When they had reached the peak of the semi-circle, and Blade was once more facing in the direction he was before taking note of the other’s presence, the half-breed released his hold on the creature’s neck.

The creature, traveling only on momentum, soared forward for only a few moments, until the half-breed decided to deliver the kill.

And before the vampire could enjoy its newfound freedom, for more than a nanosecond in time, it a piece of metal firmly implanted between its shoulder blades, and jutting from his torso, a slick trail of red coloration painted on the blade’s otherwise blemishes metal. His death throws were torn asunder into nothing more than a pathetic roar of pain, blood fountaining from its maw, spewing its grotesque contents onto his own person. An expression, one of puzzlement, was etched onto the creature’s facial features, for only a moment before they went slack . . . and lifeless . . .

Blade stood there, unscathed by the appearance of the now limp body that clung to the blade of his well-sharpen katana sword. The thick ichor of the hell-spawn’s innards escaped from the freshly open wound, running freely on the sides of the blade and pouring, in rivets, on the cement floor, creating a homage to the creature’s death. His reflexes had served him well in this instance, as they had many a time in the past. ‘Pon releasing the sixteen year old, he had whipped his right arm across into the air, once more he brought his sword to bare, and within moments he lodged the weapon firmly into the creatures torso. The blade tore through bone and sinew with the utmost ease and not without the slightest twinge of morbid grace.

With a sudden twist of the blade, the body released its death grip ‘pon the blade’s metal surface, and lifelessly the husk collided into the pool of its own making with little to no resistance, drained of all struggle and all life.

The entire intercourse took place in less than a moment . . .

. . . in fact it appeared to those who merely stood by, serving only as spectators to the death of one of their kin, that the entire ordeal took place within the moment, between the moments . . . in a blur of death and darkness . . .

Then time resumed its normal pace . . .

And the Brotherhood attacked, en mass!

First to strike was a female this time, same age as the now lifeless husk that had mounted an offensive only moments before, and had inadvertently leapt forth into its own death. She darted forth several steps, before rendering her menacing appearing talons to bare, and it was quite clear from her disposition that she meant to render him limp from limp with her bare hands.

Unscathed by neither her current hellish appearance nor the issued war cry she had set forth, Blade swiftly placed his left hand into the shadows of his long, black leather trench coat. A faint smile touched his face and within a matter of only a few seconds, the vampire found herself starring at the barrel of a massive energy weapon, a type that she had never seen before this.

Her vision turned on Blade and she watched the smile, on the thin hard line that served as his lips, widen with something close to the lines of perverse, black humor. A scow of defiance deepened on her visage, and her hands rose upward, talons steadying themselves to strike. And she would have surly performed a lobotomy on the half-breed if given the chance, which even she knew she would not have. Blade then nodded as if answering some unspoken question then pulled the trigger . . .

The resulting chain reaction set another member of the Brotherhood spiraling into the dark depths of Mistress Death’s realm.

Without a second moments thought, Blade swirled around and fired three more times, all in deferent directions, all without the benefit of taking time in order to carefully aim each discharge.

For he was being driven on both animalistic instinct and the adrenaline that pulsated in his veins pressing him onward to continue the confrontation. And above all he needed to trust his instincts, for if he did not, and he hesitated the fate of the two poor bastards, he had already sentenced to death, would surely be shared by him.

His aim remained true to form as always, and in the wake of smoldering torrid metal tearing asunder the flesh of the soulless ones another three of the newly formed Vampire Occult joined their fellow brethren on the other side of existence.

And still, with five members of the Brotherhood lying, lifelessly in the shadows, the confrontation continued . . . in earnest . . .

Through the swirling veils of the suffocating midnight’s fog, a lone figure stands, ‘pon a rather unkept rooftop, seemingly unaware of the slaughter taking place from within. And if this particular creature of the night was indeed aware of his fellow brethren’s current plight, he made no outward appearance, nor motion to seem that he even cared for what happened to those Brotherhood members that had opted to remain inside the sanctuary of the warehouse. Its triangular forged crimson red optics were hellishly a blaze, and was untouched, even in the slightest degree, my the darkness and white swirls of soothing mist, which flanks the figure on either side.

He moved from the middle of the rooftop, toward its edge, his pace a methodical one. His eyes burned with a new flame though, that of a seething lustful desire, for he could sense the coming presence of an innocent. The scent of warm blood being pulsated through the veins of another cried out to him.

He placed one leg ‘pon the moisture covered cement ledge and demonically he leaned forward, his optics serving as beckons of demonic intent, burning brightly, ominously, through the swirling mist of the midnight’s layer of dense fog. This eyes turned to cold slits of concentration as he tracked down the source for his sudden yearnings with his vampieric sense that have been finely honed to a weapon of immense power, the result of centuries of practice in mastering his chosen craft. ‘Pon the dark streets below, the creature sensed movement . . . he sensed his prey moving toward him . . . As if moved by the creature’s sheer force of will alone, the swirling mist parted, moving to one side, allowing him to see his unsuspecting prey.

From his elevated perspective the creature could tell that she was, simply put, an attractive feast to behold. She was in her earlier twenties or so, no older than twenty-four. Her hair was shoulder length and seemed to move as if it possessed a will of its own, swaying, slightly, seductively from side to side, beckoning him to quickly make her his for the taking. The woman’s skin complexion was that that suggested she was a creature of the night, for it was of purest of white. The fact that she was a night creature was only compounded by her rather simplistic attire. For she was clad in a dull gray pair of sweats – which strategically covered her well curved figure within its massive folds – and from the pace in which she was traveling along with the seemingly lack of fear within her determined form it was quite clear to him that she was on a customary midnight jog. Sweat glistened over her brow, and her pleasant features, which only seemed to amplify her sex appeal toward the creature a hundred-fold. The hellishly demonic figure also took note of her chest expanding and collapsing in something of a chaotic pace, a telltale sign that she had been pushing herself for quite sometime now. Her eyes were a dark shade of jade, and her lips were lush and full in shape. Yes, he decided, she would be a feast of pleasure yet to be written for him – and in more ways than one.

Then for no reason at all, she stopped her rather hurried pace, the weak light of an overhead lamppost bathed her in a pool of gold. She arched her back forward, her head lowered, submissively, and she had placed her hands on her knees, gasping desperately for air. Air that refused to come and breath life anew in her lungs. Her head arched heavenward for a moment, and he caught his first real glimpse and her beauty, and he could tell that there, deep within those pools of jade that served as her optics burned passion unabound, a fire burned within her heart, one that longed for new sensations.

Now . . . now was the time to strike her down and to allow for the carnal pleasures of the flesh to begin . . .

The vampieric hunger reaching an uncontrollable crescendo within both his soul and his lions, he placed his entire, imposing form ‘pon the ledge in which he was leaning on. A hiss tore away from his open maw in the form of seething venom, his fangs appeared to increase in utter size and animalistic ferocity, the talons on his hands became more predominate than usual. The creature of utter darkness positioned himself in something of a crouching posture, bracing himself for the sudden leap and descent earthward.

He could feel anticipation rising in his form, and with swiftness he pushed off, his entire form free from the rooftop’s rather unkept surface. The night air that rushed into his lungs at that moment, filled with the fragrance of the sea’s never-ending touch, filled his form, breathing new vigor into his already aroused state of being.

And it was at that moment . . . when his physical form pushed away from the ledge and he surrender himself, freely, willingly, to gravity’s constant embrace . . . that two blue gloved hands emerged from the shadows, clutching onto either side of the creature’s head. With a thrust of brute force, the creature was pulled from his free-fall and back toward the ledge, which he had so wanted to escape from. The faint scent of cigar smoke curled around his visage and assaulted his sense of smell.

The utter force and power that were in total domination of the hands that now binds the creature was quite impressive, even by a vampire’s rather high standards of what strength was. Yet, he did not feel twinge of awe, rather he felt . . . fear? It was the feeling of dread that burned away, destroying, utterly shattered all notions and thoughts of engaging in sexual activity on that dark night. Now it was simply a matter of survival that weighed foremost on his mind. For his aeon existence had never been in jeopardy as it had been in that one moment that he was taken totally unaware. And in that moment, before his existence was snuffed out by the hands, that melted from the shadows themselves, that the creature only possessed the faintest of all inklings of the fear and terror that must have coursed through his countless number of victims, before they were turned.

He bore his fangs and hissed violently, jerking his head to one side, as if to delve the ivory instruments of death into his captor’s flesh. His talons darting toward the warmth that was firmly in place on either side of his skull, attempting to claw away the flesh that clung onto his captor’s hands.

To no avail!

No matter how hard the soulless construct tried to draining the life from this insolent creature, it could not. Its entire body was thrashing from side to side. A guttural scream of terror tore lose from his now frightened form. Its crimson red optics were no more, this time replaced with the purest of white complexions, for fear, not chaotic animalistic desires of the flesh, was its soul motivation at this current juncture in time.

And with a quick motion the hands moved to one side, snapping the creature’s neck, instantly, the only herald that his death was finally at hand was the sound of wrenching bone collapsing and tearing away from the issue which had held it in place only moment’s prior to his captor’s whim. The sound echoed endlessly in the creature’s ears for what appeared to be an eternity or perhaps even more. Yet, what he was to bare witness to next, in those final, and fleeting moments of conciseness, before Death had her day, and he was to be plunged into the eternal darkness which he worshipped reverently, was beyond even his understanding. For his captor was in the process of making damn sure that his last moments of existence were painful ones.

The sound of his own neck giving way to the captor’s unbridle strength still ever dominate in his ears, the creature heard the sound of unsheathing metal blades. His brow furrowed at this, the edges of his vision giving way into oblivion, he tried to grasp what was happening to his slowly dying form. Then he felt a sudden cold sensation in his lower abdomen, it was an odd sensation, one that he had never experience before, then the feeling of a rather unnerving warmth, promptly falling into step with the former sensation, which he was still slightly baffled about. He casted his last glance earthward, only to see three metallic blade, aligned in a straight path, each blade only separated by the next by a matter of centimeters, protruding from the left portion of his torso, blood fountaining forth at a rather rapidly pace. The creature wordless screamed, for the pain was even unbearable to his extremely high threshold tolerance for such a sensation, and it was clear that he would regret his lustful flight of fancy that he had surrendered completely to, allowing for this wretched bastard to serve as the instrument for his own demise.

And even in the pale light of his time of death being at hand in mere moments, his captor was not done with him, not yet – though when it was over, he would wish that that was the end of it. For the blades, slowly, sadistically started to move upward, tearing away at both his backside and his torso, releasing his innards and the thick ichor of his life’s blood. The creature’s physical form started to convulse, wildly, ‘pon the blades that had been thrusted through his backside, only to make their collective presence known before his very eyes. Blood started to release itself from the creature’s maw, tarnishing it’s pale white complexion with the rivets of crimson red that spewed, unhindered by the creature’s desires for the end to finally embrace him, earthward.

Finally, when the claws had torn apart the creature’s left shoulder blade, did the blades cease their heavenward movement. And the creature preyed to god – to whatever god may exists and whom were listening to his silent please – for Death to claim him at that moment. However, his captor had other plans. For in a swift motion the captor’s wrist, along with the blades turned a full ninety-degrees and proceed to tear apart his chest, making its way, with surprising ease to right side.

His agony reached new heights! His spinal cord and collarbone gave way as issue as did his tissue and sinew under the onslaught of the amazingly strong metallic substance. His pain grew and grew, expanding to reaches untold, his body still convulsing violently on the blades that held him suspended over nothingness, for his entire form merely dangled there, slightly beyond the reaches of the ledge.

And it was not till the blade threatened to exit his right arm, freeing his body from their grasp that they reconciled themselves, into whatever seal compartment had spawned them, tearing free from the creature’s physical form. The convulsions at that point ceased to continue and the creature – with a sigh of relive still ever present on its lungs – descended into the pits of Death’s uncountable ranks, its physical body – or rather its bloody remains – plummeting toward the rooftop’s unkept surface, where it would remain untouched till the authorities arrived, in a pool of its own blood and shredded organs.

In the perception of time’s ever gazing eye . . . the man’s death lasted only in a matter 4.682 seconds . . .

In the perception of the man who was forced to endure said circumstance . . . those 4.682 seconds was an eternity of unbearable pain and torment . . .

Scarlet Grey jerked her head heavenward, when she thought she heard a scream of sorts, then followed by the sounds of a physical confrontation coming froth from the warehouse only a few meters away. Her breath was only now returning to her at that moment, and she tried to stead herself with massive intakes of the rejuvenating sea air. She waited a few moments, watching the ledge of the distant roof, with a slightly raised eyebrow, her hands clearing the sweat of her palms by brushing them against the massive folds of her gray sweat pants.

She slowly arose to her full looming height, an expression of puzzlement carved onto her luminescent shimmering features. When nothing was forth coming after a moments wait or so, Scarlet Grey shrugged off the eerie sensation, figuring that the sounds was merely her imagination acting up once more, claiming the better of her, and continued her jog deeper into the darkness, unaware that had events turned out a different way on how further into that darkness her existence would have delved into.

The only sign of her existence was the footsteps resending into the shroud of oblivion.

Blade grunted in pain, talons searing off his now exposed flesh. Blood now freely comes forth from his sounded biceps, making its thick presence known ‘pon the heavy leather material that composed his pitch-black trench coat. Yet, he paid the recently received flesh wound no heed, outside the faint audible grunt that escaped his now clenched teeth.

His head snapped around, and his darkened gaze bore down on the one whose talons were still wet with his blood, the creature had taken several steps away from the confrontation. An expression of ecstasy played against his pale features as he greedily removed every last drop of the blood and the small portions of flesh and tissue that had remained on his hand with his tongue.

The creature had drawn first blood only due to the fact that Blade was locked into a series of attacks and counterattacks with a far more worthy adversary than any that he had faced so far within the Brotherhood’s forces. And concentrating only on his current adversary, this had allowed for the creature to slip under his normally unshakable guard and bury his talons deep into the flesh of his arm. An act that the creature would pay dearly for.

The dark specter scolded himself for the amateur sin that he had committed. And if the creature had been more seasoned and skilled in the art of warfare, then there was no doubt in Blade’s mind that he would have rendered him lifeless in a matter of moments instead of merely striking his arm as it had done so.

Blade, growing weary of the current confrontation of attack and counterattack and brute strength of will that he was imprisoned in, swiftly brought an end to his worthy opponent’s horrid existence, by plunging his katana sword deeply into the beast’s throat, to the hilt. It hadn’t even time to scream or launch a defensive action before his esophagus was punctured. When the last ounce of struggle ebbed slowly away from the horrid creature’s body, to be replaced with an ungodly stillness, Blade extracted his now blood-bathed sword.

Boring his fangs even more so than normal, the scowl carved onto his dark facial features deepening, the dark specter swirled around, only to find the one who had inflicted the still oozing wound ‘pon his person was no where to be seen. A roar started to build in his throat; he turned from side to side, scanning the sea of vampieric visages, in search of the one.

Another vampire, deciding to capitalize on Blade’s temporary loss of control, lunged forward from behind, well aware of what happen to the first of them that had engaged in such a maneuver and henceforth was the first of their number to fall in combat. Yet, she cared not. Only she wanted was blood, in the name of vengeance, vengeance for the fallen, and the hunger, which was only enhanced a billion-fold with the scent of his recently spilt blood. She soared through the air with grace and agility, tearing away at the darkness and entering the pale moonlight with the utmost of ease, her talons crying out for the death that would be at hand in a matter of moments. However, her actions were met with a swift motion that defied believe. Without even turning to face the newest challenger, Blade rose his right fist, which still held firmly onto his instrument of destruction, over his shoulder, allowing his hand to crush her countenance, utterly shattering her visage beyond repair. Blood sprayed wildly into the air, from the creature’s now shattered noise and maw. From the sudden, jarring pain that coursed through her, the creature went into a state of shock, only moments before sweet unconsciousness claimed her. Her body limply, mindlessly tumbled earthward, slamming into the cemented pavement in a graceless heap of bones and flesh . . . and even still the slayer did not even afford her even so much as a sidelong glance in her direction.

And it was not until then, that Blade took note of the lone dark figure standing within the shadows, before him. Judging only on the basis of her body structure and the way in which it was built, it was clear that the lone figure was female. And judging from her rather leisurely stance, Blade also surmised that she had been there for some time now, possibly since his arrival into the darkness.

Blade took one solitary step closer toward the lone figure, in order to test the Brotherhood’s reaction to what may or may not be considered a threatening action. And as he suspected, the sea of vampires rolled in, creating something of a barrier between himself and the lone figure, whose features not even his keen eye could detect with any great amount of accuracy, in the shroud of darkness that she had entrenched her physical form within. With that one simple act of protection and something a kin to that of concern that if she was not the leader of this newly formed Vampire Cult, then surely she was a person of grave influence, and more likely than not, she was in their higher echelons of power. A warning hissing sound filled the silence that had captured the warehouse, due to no small part that all the screams of those bastards in their death throws had ended moments before. Each creature bore their white fangs as if to ward the coming herald of death away to a darkness never ending.

And it was clear to Blade at that junction in time, that she was to be his next victim.

A faint smile played across his thin lips, and he took one more step, his instrument of distributing death to the soulless ones firmly in place, ready to strike on his faintest whim. And as before, the soulless one’s display their greatest weakness, they move in ever so closer to the silhouetted figure, who merely stands there, impassive, as if totally oblivious that her death was in any parallel at all, and surely not in an immediate threat.

‘Pon the third step on the march toward the lone figure’s death, she moved this time. It was a faint ill relevant gustier, yet it was one of power to be sure. From the folds of her immense cloak that covered her slender figure she placed forth her right hand. At once all sound emanating from the collective maws of the Brotherhood ceased, abruptly. And Blade watched intently as the sea of soulless demons parted to one side or another, as if willed by some unspoken command, the Brotherhood took to the shadows . . . and from their they watched with mounting anticipation in their corrupted hearts . . . and . . . waited within the ether of darkness eternal . . .

Wolverine stood there, over his freshly made kill, not a hint of emotion was carved onto his stern features, that of remorse or otherwise. He merely cleaned off what little blood had gotten onto his gloved hands, impassively, using a small area in of the corpse’s close was not singed in its own fluids. Once that was done, he removed a fresh cigar that he had kept within the leather jacket that covered his yellow and blue X-Man uniform. With his yellow stained teeth he tore asunder one end of the cigar, spitting it near the lifeless husk laid dormant, its eyes a glaze with that distance sheen of death. Placing the Cuban cigar – a "present" from Colonel Fury, a few months back when he and Mystique had broken into a S.H.I.E.L.D. installation in search for the answers concerning a thirty-plus year old mission that returned to haunt him and the rest of Team-X * – in his mouth and lit it.

(*This is made in direct reference to Christopher Golden’s X-Men Novel, Codename Wolverine.)

The man named only as, Logan inhaled the smoke, enjoying the taste of fresh Cuban tobacco pulsating in his lungs, a faint smile adorning his face. He removed the cigar from his mouth, the gray, near black, smoke seductively weaving its way around his stoic form, he became lost in thought for a moment, thought that was quickly shattered with the revolting smell of sulfur that permitted the air all of a sudden in a flash, the smell was not unlike that of brimstone. After all these years, Logan grumbled in his musings, only turning his head slowly toward where the flash of light had taken effect, you’d think I’d become us to the elf’s stench by now!

"Ach!" a voice, lashed thickly in a somewhat pleasing German-accent, from behind him drew Logan’s steadfast attention away from his cherished possession and toward a demonic form, even more so than the poor bastard he had just placed out of its misery by inducing more seconds prior. The creature was short in stature, much as was Wolverine, though only slightly shorter. His eyes were a luminescent shade of yellow, that seemed to give off a strange hue of life, which uttered volumes of kindness and generosity. As if to merely offset his eerie blazing eyes, his skin pigmentation was that of a dark-blue, dangerously approaching a deep adumbration of eternal darkness. The creature bore his fangs, and it was clear that he was lost in throws of a great pain that Wolverine was unaware of. His normally pleasant – yet rather demonic visage – was contorted in pain. He staggered forward a few steps, dazed, his arms darted helplessly through the air, as if to regain his control.

A faint groan issued from his throat. "Don’t . . . you think that was . . . over kill . . . mein fruend . . .?" Nightcrawler managed to ask, forcing something of a sly smile to cross over his lips, each word was thick, horsed and came only with a grave amount of effort and determination on his part. Finally his knees buckled and gave way to the pain that he felt within him, his form limply started to plummet earthward.

Instinctually, Wolverine darted toward his fellow X-Man, his muscular well endowed arms swiftly catching his old friend, before he descended into the ever increasing pool of death, left in the vampire’s death wake. It was then that he noticed that Kurt Wagner was drenched, his entire form covered in water, as if he had been submerged. Logan sniffed the air, twice, in two sudden intakes of air through the noise, the stench of brimstone had then been replaced with that of strong aroma of salt water, which was overwhelming to the warrior’s enhanced sense of smell.

"Thank . . . you . . ." Nightcrawler gasped, in was obvious that he exacted, drained of all strength even. It was clear to Wolverine now, that the mutant’s own power of teleportation was beginning to wear somewhat thin on his strength levels.

"What the hell happened to ya, elf? Take a midnight swim or something?"

"Something to . . . that effect, yes, Logan," the former leader of the band of mutants known as the Excalibur answered, and it was clear to Wolverine that his fellow mutant friend was regaining his strength with each passing moment. His stance became more rigid, more sure of itself, and his tone was no longer as horse as it had been moments before, when he had first appeared on the rooftop in an explosion of light and sound.

"Ya take care of our two ‘friends’ down there?" Logan asked, referring to the two vampire watch men that he had set out to remove from active duty, whereas Wolverine was to handle the manning his watching vigil from the post of the rooftop.

Kurt nodded his head vaguely at the question. And his bright smile returned, not without a grave effort of strength in order to keep the pain he allowed displayed on his demonic visage down to a bare minimum. "When our . . . friends awake . . . if they awake . . . it’ll be at the bottom of the Hudson River," Nightcrawler replied, tossing a seemingly graceless gustier toward the immense body of dark colored water behind the two of them.

Wolverine smiled at this. "Can you walk, elf??" he asked, his voice something of a guttural rasp, rather than anything else. "Or . . ." before he was even able to finish the second question that he was on the verge of posing, Nightcrawler interrupted Wolverine with nothing more than a faint motion of his head.

"Nien. I shall manage . . . on my own accord, mein fruend."

"Now . . ." Wolverine said more to himself than to his fellow X-Man even has he released his hold on Nightcrawler’s still drenched form. "To find a way inside without attracting too much unwanted attention." His smiled widened somewhat when he reached the last words of his musings that he had given voice to. Nightcrawler opened his mouth as if to utter an answer to the posed statement, yet was abruptly silenced with a mere curt wave of Wolverine’s hand. "Not a word, elf," Wolverine snapped, turning away from the swashbuckling acrobat, and slowly he stalked his way through the swirls of mist and fog till he reached a service elevator. "Your in no condition at the moment to be performing any of your ‘porting." He placed his hands ‘pon the cold metal surface of the panel doors, and nodded his head approvingly. "Besides, elf," he grunted, turning back to face Nightcrawler a faint smile playing across his visage, his hand rising coming only inches away from his chin. With not even so much as a blinking of an eye, his adamantium claws from their bionic housings within his forearms. "Where’d be the fun in that?"

"I have nien idea, mein fruend," came the crisp response, along with something of a nonchalant shrug of good nature. Nightcrawler returned the smile in kind, and in spite of his rather demonic appearance, the smile possessed no demonic intent or foreshadowing, rather it was genuine warm-heart smile of friendship. Wolverine had always admired Kurt Wagner for that, as did all his fellow X-Men who had have the privilege and honor to work alongside the "demon" – as others had called him in the past. For next to the ol’ professor, Charles Xavier, Nightcrawler had to be one of the most generous and kind and decent men Wolverine ever ran across with, even in light of the fact that he had every reason and right to be bitter. Every excuse to become as much a demon inside as he was out. The world needed more men and women such as Kurt Wagner, for if there was then perhaps animals such as Logan would not be needed.

Pushing his inner musings aside, for the current moment, Wolverine allowed an animalistic growl to become forth coming from his throat. He braced himself, his entire form taking up a stance of physical aggression; he pulled back his right hand and lashed out at the steal panel doors, with all his might. His claws punctured the reinforced steal as easily as they had the cold corpse that started to already show signs of decay, its putrid smell was offensive Wolverine’s advance smell, yet he paid it no heed. For in a few moments it would not even be concern.

Nightcrawler watched, as he had many a time in the past, as Wolverine made short work of the metal doors. In a matter of a few moments of the doors were no more, now standing in their place, in something of a twisted almost morbid monument to the animal within the man, was shredded metal. With a final jerk of both hands, Wolverine thrusted his arms backwards, in an arch motion, the last pieces of metal remaining quickly gave way in a blur of cobalt blue.

Wolverine peered into the darkness of the elevator shaft for a moment. Then turned a darkened gaze toward his companion. Nightcrawler’s brow furled slightly, and he raised a questioning eyebrow in his fellow X-Man’s direction. He made his way toward the shaft and he too peered through the veils of darkness only to discover that metal cables, which normally supported the elevator compartment, had been cut. Nightcrawler’s first assumption that Wolverine must have accidentally tore through them and not even noticed. However, he knew this was not to be so, for Wolverine was after all "the best and what he does" and when it came to the usage of his claws accidents never factored in. The gentle demon moved in closer to examine the tear which was present, and it became clear to him that Wolverine was indeed not the culprit. Rather they had been torn asunder by a viscous set of fangs, for sharp teeth-markings were present in the cable’s metal threads, and a faint residue of saliva was still present.

The two X-Men exchanged glances, for a moment.

Nightcrawler took a step back and away, and slightly, nobly bowed at the waist, his right arm, which was closest to the elevator shaft, extended outward indicating the darkness ahead, while his left came across his chest in something of a fluid motion of utter grace. His head humbly rose to met Logan’s unamsued gaze, "By all means, Logan . . . after you . . ." he smiled divinely.

"Thanks a lot, bub," Wolverine grunted, his teeth grinding in that much deeper into the cigar, which was nearing its end, and quickly.

Nightcrawler arose. "Any time, don’t mention it."

Wolverine grunted a harsh laugh at this, a thick stream of fleeting cigar smoke curling around his visage slightly as he turned his head over his shoulder to face the "demon" once more, his features good nature. "I won’t." And with those few parting words, the man who is in constant conflict with the beast, the animal within him leapt off the roof and into the darkness below, his claws extended and pulled away from the rest of his body, he was ready for anything.

Kurt Wagner waited only a few short moments after Wolverine started his decent into the darkness before he followed suit. He took only a moment to enjoy the sea air one last time; a faint smile touched his lips as the sound of the crashing waves summoned new life into him, rejuvenating him. Already after the strain of teleporting the mass of three adult male bodies, and into water no less, was beginning to falter greatly, he could feel new strength within him, pulsating. He nodded approvingly, then with grace and skill, which came with years of practice and honing his abilities, Nightcrawler leapt into the darkness . . .

Unaware that the Brotherhood were lying in waited for the two mutants within the depths of darkness, which they freely gave into of their own accord . . .

To Be Continued . . .

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