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Chapter Two: Black as Night
Peter was doing everything he could to by Tessa the time she needed, but at the moment he was having enough trouble staying alive. Dispite their alliance, Peter had clashed with Morbius on several occasions back home, and though his blood thirst rage had posed a problem, he had always managed to subdue him. He had figured the same would apply for these demonic entities, but the blow he recieved that had thwarted his dive bomb told him otherwise. They were stronger than Morbius, stronger than him, and it quickly became clear to the webslinger that if he went at them head on he was going to loose. He needed to change tatics, rely on his spider sense and speed to overcome the beasts.
He had managed to launch one of the hell spawns into the building's exterior, and used the brief moments it gave him to collect himself and try and think of a way to get out of this in one piece. He quickly scanned for Dan and the other vampires, trying to know the three's positions at all times. He found the enflamed Punisher having his hands full with one of the vampires and rushed over to his ally's aid.
He fired two blotches of impact webbing at the vampire, hoping that the sticky substance would confuse and imobilize the demon for a few moments. Two silver strands of silk quickly followed his previous shots, as he hoped to use them to launch the vampire into the air and send it on a collision course with its dinner budy that was rushing towards him.
"Dan! Say the stupid chant already!! Fry these demons!!"
Rogue felt like a failure. She thought she had it. It was right there. Hearing Blades voice she snapped back to the group. Blade jumped off his disc, and Norrin began his desent with Barry. Taking a moment to compose herself, she focused her attentions on what she had at her disposal to help her. As she lowered herself to the ground, she whispered "Clobberin Time", as she hit the ground. Although no change had taken place to her size and shape, her skin was now composed of hard, orange rock. She hoped that the vampires would be unable to sink their teeth into that.

Norrin spoke to Balde and Rogue waited for the answer, trying to mentally prepare themselves for what was going to ensue.
From Sinister's Diary

"It seems so glib to say that I have absolute control over the Phoenix. My control over Victoria hasn't wavered. She sees me as her adoring doting father who is constantly away on "Business". Therefore, since my hold on her is so strong, so is my hold on that entity that inhabits her.
So odd, was it the first time I saw her manifest that being. I beheld the sight with awe and a bit of fright I must admit. She was, as to be expected, terrified by the power that sprang forth from her. I however was there to reassure my darling girl that it was perfectly normal and that I would help her master it.
However, I believe I've become a slave to the entity...."


"Ok kids, hold on tight, Uncle Beast is going to try the old Bait and Switch on these guys. Although, Henry, I must point out that from the films I've seen about Vampires, they have wonderful night vision, but hey, you're welcome to try!"
Victoria sent the message out to their group, hoping everyone would be open enough to listen to her telepathic thoughts.
It took a few moments for her to realize that yet again, she was missing the Asgardian broadsword that Deadpool had bestowed upon her. She had automatically reached it as the vampires began closing in on them.
"Damn.." she muttered. The Phoenix was still brooding after Dr. Strange's little session with it, so it would be no help at all in this situation. Victoria felt almost powerless....with only her telekinesis to use and no Phoenix to rely on, she almost growled in frustration.
But again, that feeling of anger began to bubble within her, something was definately not within her...the mood swings....everything....she knew that once this was over, she was going to have to have a long talk with Hank.
And that thought, worried her.
Tessa looked out the window as she heard Spider-man’s cry for Dan to recite the spell, finalizing the portion she was working on she looked at Wong, “Mind if I try something?” She asked him, standing from her makeshift desk and moving over to the window, reading off the translated text softly to herself and then reciting it louder, projecting her voice out the window and using her telepathy to attempt to project it into the minds of these vampires.

It was an experiment on her part to see if the effects were any more powerful now that she had made a rough translation of more of the text, if the reaction was positive it would further boost her in the knowledge that she was gaining ground quicker than she had expected, if there was no difference in the result she might have to begin from square one again. As she continued to repeat the words in a chanting fashion, she steadily pushed her voice to its loudest capacity, stretching her mental powers as well.
Barry suddenly snapped out of his daze "Sorry Norr, I've just been having these crazy lapses, I just keep zoning out." Barry said to Norrin "I think we can deal with this ourselves, don't you?" Noticing that his hands had started glowing, Barry commented to Norrin: "See, I think you got enough power for this on your own."
Franticly swinging the strap of the bandolier over her head so that the bag rested on her left hip and the strap laid across her chest, Paige tried to keep her calm as the vampires came barreling down on them and she literally pulled her skin off to reveal skin of pure diamond which was the first thing that had come to the young girl’s mind in her slightly frantic state. Throwing a glance towards Vance she caught his eye quickly and mouthed a ‘thank you’ for the gun, ammunition and stakes.

With her hand shaking slightly Paige pulled the 9MM hand gun out of the bandolier, trying to keep her hand steady as she held it at her side trying to keep a non-threatening stature about herself as Hank tried to convince the vampires that he was taking the group of them to Logan for food. Food? Did ah just think of mahself as food? Paige visibly shivered at the thought of someone or something drinking someone’s blood like it was a soda. Stay calm, yuh aren’t a rookie so don’t start actin’ like one now. Trying her best to avoid locking eyes with any of the vampires Paige shifted her weight and fought the urge she had to attack these horrible creatures, Hank had a plan and so she would just sit tight until Hank’s plan either worked or failed. Please god let his plan work…
"I have enough power to deal with this?! Sure, my hands are glowing, but it doesn't seem to be doing anything other than just that!" Norrin was frightened and overwhelmed at the same time. He knew what was at stake here, and he also knew that he had a total lack of knowledge as to the extent of his abilities and powers. "Do you have any idea what I can do to make use of myself, Barry? I've been able to do the glowing hands thing before, but it doesn't seem to have any effect on anything. Any suggestions?"
When life hands you lemons, you gotta squirt lemon juice and life's eye and make it your B!TCH
Hank snarled at the creatures as they approached. His every muscle was poised to throw himself towards the first creature to attack one of his group.
"Perhaps you have forgotten how insistent I can be." he hissed at the advancing vampires.
"You got your vamps, you got your balls of light. Far as I remember from rewatching every Buffy episode about 5 times, vamps don't like big balls of light. Any sunlight you can generate or use them for vaporising blasts or whatever?" Barry questioned to Norrin.
Doing his best to inform Tessa of her would be attackers, Wong gave the Watch’s resident genius the information she requested, “Thunderbird is super strong, even for a vampire. He and Husk, whose powers you are already familiar with, can usually be found at the side of the grey-haired monster there. You might be inclined to call him Hank. However, we have simply taken to calling him Mad McCoy. He is one of Logan’s hunters, and he is as bad as they come.” Pausing in his explanation, Wong lifted his hands in front of himself and cast what he hoped would be an adequate barrier spell between the advancing McCoy and themselves. Continuing he added, “And no, you are not the target of their attack. But yes, you are unlucky enough to be in the vicinity of their true targets, namely Dan and myself.”

Halfway between Greenwich Village and Salem Center, a pack of vampires had been following Castle, Beast and the others for some time, watching and surveying their prey. They knew that they had the advantage, with more than a two to one ratio in their favor. But they were wary. Castle and Astrovik they knew well. McCoy and Guthrie were well known to these vampires as well, but they were obviously different from those they had become accustomed to. However, it was the fifth member of their traveling group that kept them at bay for so long. They didn’t know what to make of Victoria Essex. She seemed oddly familiar to many of them, but yet completely different, and extremely dangerous. But the bloodlust could only be held at bay for so long. The dozen vampires that had been secreted away in the underbrush finally made their presence known, as they quickly moved in for the kill. Only Beast’s words gave them pause. With a chilling cackle, one of the hellish group replied. “You do sorta look like McCoy,” she said as she lifted her nose to the air, “You might even smell like him. But you aren’t fooling us for a second. Get ‘em boys!’ And on her command, the five heroes found themselves besieged by blood sucking demons.

Back in Greenwich village, Spider-man and Ghost Rider had their hands full with two very dangerous vampires of their own. With clawed fingers of adamantium, the vampiric Husk tore at Ghost Rider’s face, trying to open him like a can. It was Spider-man’s quick intervention that prevented the slice and dice. The impact webbing momentarily blinded the girl, giving the web slinger enough time to grab her and propel her like a shot at her large Indian friend. With two of the attackers temporarily down, the duo were left to watch as Mad McCoy made his way toward the studious Tessa, who was attempting some heroics of her own.

Within the forest that surrounded what used to be the Xavier Institute, four fantastic heroes readied themselves for the evil that lurked within the trees. With fists of orange stone clenched tightly, Rogue listened as Blade spoke, “I can see seven of them. I can hear even more. They are out there, just waiting for his command.” With a bit of nervousness in his voice, the unwary Norrin asked, “Who’s command?” But the question’s answer would not come from Blade. Instead, the answer came in the form of a short, gruff man who moved from between the shadows. With a heavy Canadian accent, the vampire lord called Logan snarled, “My command, bub.”

In the brownstone on Bleeker Street, Sage moved toward the window, intent on trying out the spell she had been working on. Reluctantly, Wong lowered the barrier, giving the young mutant a clear shot at Mad McCoy for which to try the spell. She recited the spell as perfectly as she had heard Wong do earlier, only this time adding in the new parts that had only recently been translated. As the words rang out into the street, Husk and Thunderbird, having been incapacitated, couldn’t help but to hear the incantation. In a flash they disintegrated, leaving but a large pile of ash that was whisked swiftly away in the night air. But for some reason, the spell did nothing to impede McCoy. With a large, blood stained, tooth filled grin, he planted one large hand on either side of the window frame and leaned in to where his face was inches from the stunned Sage. With an oddly familiar voice that now dripped with cruelty and evil, McCoy growled, “I must apologize my dear, these stupendously effective, and highly fashionable earplugs must have prevented me from ascertaining what it was you said. Would you care to repeat it?”
Without a moment's pause Hank hurled himself towards the largest mass of vampires converging on them. As he flew through the air, his muscles popped and bulged beneath his hardening skin twisting over the new bone mass which was forming almost instantaneously.

As his own fangs extended Hank snarled ferociously, the sound ripping through the night air above the shrieking of he vampires. It had been a long time since he had cut loose and he had a lot of pent up anger to get rid of. Anger at the Timebroker, but since he wasn't around to beat up on these vampires would have to do.

Plunging headlong into the group of creatures Hank's huge mass scattered them like ninepins. With startling speed Hank's clawed hand shot out grabbing one of the vampires. "I did warn you." he hissed into the creature's ear before sinking his fangs deep into the neck of the vampire who had called the attack, almost gagging on the acrid taste. "Jeez! And I thought Scott's cooking was foul!." he thought, then concentrating on 'Toria. "Guess the time for talking is over. Let's give them hell." With a heft of his shoulders, Hank drew his head sharply backwards, ripping away the muscle and tissue he had clamped in his jaws.
Norrin tensed up more than he could ever remember doing before. From what Norrin could discern from the movement between shadows, the Vampire lord was actually quite small in stature. He did, however, posess a presence that commanded the attention that his size didn't. Norrin shuttered when he heard the gravely voice of the Vampire lord, and instinctively turned his body to the direction of the voice. His hands continued to glow with their original light but were getting brighter and more intense with each passing second. "They don't like bright light you say, Barry? Well...HERE GOES NOTHING!" Norrin concentrated as hard as he possibly could on the task at hand, and as he did so he emitted an enourmous wave of energy. It was heading straight toward the sinister voice in the shadows.
When life hands you lemons, you gotta squirt lemon juice and life's eye and make it your B!TCH
From Sinister's Diary...
"I grow impatient. I've spent years in the shadows of Victoria's life, watching her, guiding her...and now. She's always had an affectionate relationship with Katherine and Piotr...poor fools. They had never connected Dr. Essex with Mr. Sinister. Even though my Victoria bears my sigil on her forehead, they've never put it together....until now. In my foolishness, my's my own fault.
But she tasted so sweet...and I threw away decades of planning. For one moment of her strapped to the lab table next to Theresa Rourke after she saw me through the forbidden lab room door. She'll not remember anything, I'm sure they'll have that old idiot Xavier wipe her mind. I'm almost glad...because all that will do is give me another chance.
However, I was rather disappointed when Piotr and McCoy burst in here and collected my Victoria for their own, finding out my secret...who I really was....and McCoy even in at his age, was was rather fun snapping his neck."

Victoria had to hold herself in check to keep from screaming as they were descended upon. Using her telekinisis, she levitated off the ground just enough to try to evade her attackers. Using a forceful blast of the same said power to push them back, she began to try to talk some sense into the Phoenix....asking for it's help....but it remained silent, only a slight hiss as Victoria even asked for some help.
Anger with the entity she was hosting, she growled.
"Like it or not, you WILL obey me!" she said aloud, knowing that it was probably going to freak them all out at this point it didn't matter. She had spent so many years of her life asking the Phoenix for help and in a situation such as this, where she felt powerless, she was going to make the thing obey her, or else.

"Go away Child of Darkness, leave us be." The Phoenix sounded in her head, but Victoria was not taking no for an answer.
The diamond on her forehead began to glow an eerie blood red as she looked at her attackers and willed herself to produce the slight firey halo that usually denoted how angry she was and that the Phoenix was in control.
"I'd back off, if I were you." her voice was menacing, almost chilling. It had the same coldness to it the others had heard in the War Room in Atlantis...
Tessa wiped the stunned expression from her face, refusing to let the fear that was biting at the edges of her mind to take control. She could handle this, she had been in the courtroom with serial killers, murderers, rapists, and when it all boiled down Mad McCoy still fit in that category of evil.
“My apologies, perhaps I didn’t say it loud enough.” Her blue eyes remained unblinking behind her specs, the young mutants genius brain already theorizing at least two different possibilities of what the large vampire would do next. Taking a breath she began to recite the incantation again, moving backwards slowly to put distance between herself and the vampire.

“Wong, can you construct that barrier once again if this fails to work on McCoy?” She projected mentally, still keeping her face a mask of unconcern as she continued to recite the incantation, “I’m theorizing that he’ll strike if I don’t succeed, like an predatory creature would do when weaker prey is in sight. I may have the complexion of somebody who is undead, but I don’t look forward to parting with my blood.” A small bit of humor managed to escape in her mind-voice as she reached the table she had previously been sitting at and grabbed for the gun she knew would be laying there.

Tessa leveled the weapon at Mad McCoy as she halted her retreat and stood very still, the only movement on her entire body was her mouth as she spoke.
“ When I reach the last word, throw the barrier up regardless.” She physically fought the tremor that was fighting to make it’s way into the hand that was holding the weapon, any sign of weakness would not be advantageous to the sorcerer and genius.
Peter knelt by Dan's side, using the moments he had bought them to seal his wounds with webbing, trying his best to stop the bleeding. He was no medical expert, but what he saw didn't look good.
"Dan doesn't look like he can take much more of this. I'll have to keep the vampires off of him, draw their attacks towards me, keep them away from Dan and...TESSA!"
His head bolted away from Dan and towards the building that housed the human computer. His eyes went wide in horror as he saw the vampiric version of Hank closing in on her.
There was no hesitation in the spider's actions. In one fluid movement he had left Dan's side, flying through the air at the wall that stood closet to him. The instant his feet hit the brick exterior he was off it moving to another one, using each wall to push himself farther, higher, faster. He would not loose another teammate. He refused to.

The sheer force of the explosion knocked him off his feet, sending him, along with the other mutants in the room, flying. He hit the wall, nearly going through it, unable to keep the kids from landing as equally hard. The cloud of smoke and dust that now covered the newly applied hole in the wall filtered out the light, keeping their assaliant hidden. His head was ringing, his vision was blurred, he could taste the blood that was dripping from the cut on his forehead in his mouth. Everything was moving so fast, as if the world around him had been placed in fast foward, and he was stuck his current slowed state. He watched as the kids tried to get to their feet, trying to shake off the blow, their clothes tattered, their bodies cut and bruised. They were so close, almost made it to the exit. Almost escaped. But he had been waiting for them. They all had. Had every escape route blocked. Had them trapped. They were going to win, going to kill them. Kill them all.
He wouldn't die. Couldn't. He had to get the kids to safety. Had to get them out of here. He tried to get up, screamed at his body to do so, but it would not responsed, would not obey his command. Then he heard it. A ringing in his head, but not the one he had suffered from the explosion. It was so familiar. He had heard it before. What was that sound?
Spider sense.
He almost didn't see it. Almost missed it coming at him. A second more and he would have been dead. But as if acting on some last reserve, some instictive motion, his body moved. And it missed. He was on his feet, barely able to stand. Suddenly, all of his senses that had seemed dead before immediatley awoke, almost overwhemling his mind with the pain he know felt. His knees felt like they were going to give under the weight of his body at any moment. He took in a breath, and immediately his brain registered the pain that his side was giving off. His ribs were broken. Two at the very least. Maybe more. He couldn't tell. The cut was getting worse. The blood was running over his left eye. Didn't matter. He couldn't use it anyway. His left arm was hanging lifelessly to his side. It was broken in more that one place. He could get rid of it, but he would need it to carry the kids out of here. The kids.
He eyes watched as the snake that had tried to strike him moments ago recoiled back to the cloud of dust, being consumed by it. The kids were screaming in fear. Some were crying. Some were running for the door. Others were helping those that had fallen. And then there screams stopped. Like a flash of lighting they moved, tearing through their bodies like paper, wrapping tightly around the corpses they now held in their grasp.
The crying was replaced with laughing. A man walked out of the hole, the dust whisped around him. A sadistic smile was spread across his face. Peter could see blood on the black shades the man wore, but he knew it was not his own. The snakes came to him, light from the hole finally piercing through the fading cloud, glistening upon their silver texture that was now plastered with shades of red. The snakes looked at him hungrily, having already dropped the dismantled bodies they held and eying their next meal.
"Really, Peter, is this what you've been doing with your life? Trying to protect the weak? Trying to save those who can not save themselves? I would have thought I taught you better Peter."
He spoke, taunting him, every would dripping with a lust for blood, a lust to open more wounds, and scare the spider emotionally.
"You too were once weak. Remember? When they first gave me you, I looked down at you with disgust. A mere child, one who was cowering away, calling out to his mommy and daddy, soaked in his own tears. You were pathetic."
"He's moving, getting closer. The snakes, they're waiting. Why are they waiting?"
"But then I noticed something in you. I noticed a certain...determination, a kind of...spirit. I had broken the others, molded them into the perfect lap dogs to do our bidding. But you. You could not be broken. Oh, you bent mind you. I would bend your spirit, bend you valor and determination. But you never broke. It was like something inside you refused to let go. Refused to loose. Every field test with you ended in abysmal failure, all because you would not break."
"What's he saying? Can't hear him. Can't think. Head's swimming. The kids. Oh my God. He killed the kids."
"And then you were taken from me. You friends stole you before I had the chance to finish what I started. Before I could break you."
"Friends? Panther. Felicia. Got to get to them. Got to save them."
The injured arachnid tried to move. Tried to go towards his friends. His teammates. But such an action only resulted in him falling to the ground. The monster advancing stopped, but his pets did not. He could hear them hiss, could smell the fresh blood that covered the metal teeth that were so eagerly waiting to feast again.
"And now Peter, after all these years, you know what I've realized? You were broken all along. This charade, this galant effort to 'save oppressed mutants' that has been a thorn in both mine and Osborn's side for so long is just a cover, just a mask. Because behind the mask, your still a scared little boy crying for mommy and daddy."
Then they moved, drawing closer to him, preparing to rip through his flesh. He lay their, broken. He was broken. Otto was right, he was going to die, just like his mom and dad. His mom and dad.
His eyes drew closed, giving into defeat, into death......

He heard her voice. Her heavenly voice that he longed to hear for so long. His mom had called out to him but he had been too busy laughing with his father to notice. She smiled at the sight. They were dressed up, preparing to go to Sunday Mass. He was playing with his ball, his red bouncing ball that he had got for his birthday. It was his favorite. His parents could afford any toy in the world, but he loved it the most. His dad was tossing it to him, he had tried to catch it, but it got away from his grasp, heading towards the front door. He chased after it, giggling all the way in pure bliss, reaching the ball with a childish smile on his face. Then there was a thunder, and the door was swung open. He turned to see who had it was, confused at all the commotion. His parents' once care free and joyful manner were replaced with fear and alarm. Peter turned to them, seeing his father rush to his side. And then there was thunder. His father stopped. His shirt was red. Why was it red? He watched as his dead fell to his knees, and then gravity finished the job. His mom screamed, but their thunder was louder. Her blue blouse was becoming red. The red was spreading. Why was it spreading? She fell by his dad. Tears were swelling in his eyes, cascading to the ground. They tried to take him, tried to take his ball from him. He would not let go. He clung to it with a valor, he didn't know why, but he did. The tears were flowing more freely now. He hung on, but they took it, took his ball, took him. He cried, crying for his parents to get up, crying for them to get up. But they wouldn't.

His eyes shot open. When the snakes hit he was not there. The doctor looked at him in dumbfound suprise. He ignored the pain. Ignored everything. He struck his enemy, struck him unrelentlessly. He was running on blood lust, on controllable rage, the rage of the spider.

-----------------------------End Flashback ----------------------------------

The anger inside him was swelling uncontrollably. He would not loose her. The monster would not touch her. His right hand clenched into a fist as he prepared to release all his anguish, all his rage on the creature. He just hoped he would strike before it did.
Rogue stared in disbelief at Norrin. If the stolen memories were correct and this was the same guy, hed had unbelievable power, whether he knew what he was doing or not. She looked quickly from Barry to Blade, anxiously waiting to see what would happen.


"You don't belong here", he growled at her, flashing his claws. "You're dangerous. Why don't you leave?"

Staring at him, eyes wide with terror she broke down sobbing. "I didn't mean to do it. I can't control this", she said through the sobs holding up her hands. "You have it easy. You know what you can do and how to do it. I don't have that luxery."

He stared at her with hatred in his eyes. "Go somewhere else to learn then. We don't want you here." Spitting those last words at her he walked away.

Maybe he's right. Maybe I don't belong here.

She went back to her room and packed what few belongings she had. She sat at the small desk and wrote a quick note to Professor Xavier.


I'm sorry I had to leave, but I couldn't run the risk of hurting anyone else. If I can ever get myself under control, I might try to come back. Thank you for everything you taught me. I will continue to practice everyday. Thank you for accepting me eventhough the others couldn't. It meant a lot to me that you invited me in and helped the way you did. I'll never forget you.


She didn't have to write it to know he'd get the message, but it was the formality she thought she needed. Leaving the note, she left through the front door without being seen. It was the last she saw of the first place she had called home since the incident.


Rogue wanted anyhting to see their attacker face to face. He made her leave the one place she felt safe. It wasn't the same reality, but the face remined the same.
“Just keep breathin’” Paige muttered as she raised her shaking hands up both of them now grasping the 9MM in her hand, her teeth gritted and her eyes set in a glare Paige aimed at the first vampire nearest her and fired, her face set in a stone cold death glare which was amplified by the fact that her skin was diamond now and made her look that much more fierce, she wasn’t going to go out like this. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Hank’s attack on one of the creatures and fought the urge to vomit right on the spot, his actions being about as feral and primal as the creatures they were fighting. “Don’t think about it Paige.” She urged herself, as she swung around to fire at yet another vampire, if her aim was true she’d gotten the vile creature in the head. She hadn’t spent years learning how to fire a rifle and gun only to have her efforts be useless one she had to use one in a combat situation.

A third vampire was leering at her now, his gaze as fierce as her own maybe more so. He had a predatory look in his eye which sent a chill up and down the young southerner’s spine, a chill which she soon brushed off as she took slow backwards steps towards her nearest companion in hopes that the old saying was true that there was actually strength in numbers. A piece of her mind wasn’t going to let her admit she was scared and wanted to be near someone she knew for safety and comfort, she hated that weakness her in always had and probably always would. But Professor Xavier had once told her that it was their weaknesses that made them human, was that true? Paige let that thought drift through her mind as she reached a hand behind her to feel for someone anyone and soon her efforts were rewarded when she grasped onto someone’s shoulder. Her gaze still locked with the leering vampire. “Thank god.” She whispered, her hand still on the shoulder it had connected with and Paige could only hope it was the shoulder of one of her companions.
In Westchester, Blade stood with sword in one hand and pistol in the other, ready for the onslaught. Rogue stood patiently, waiting to see the face of the man that filled her with so much hatred. But Norrin did not stand on ceremony. He unleashed a sudden burst of power that surprised even Blade, and gave pause to the unseen vampires that were still clinging to the shadows. The chrome covered alien seemed to have more power than he knew, and that could only help their cause. With a moment to spare, Blade sent Barry back for the others, hoping to get word to Castle and his team that they had finally engaged the Master. Not waiting to be told twice, Barry was gone in a flash. Looking back at Norrin and the attack he had unleashed, Blade hoped for the best. The cosmically charged energy was something the dark lord had never faced before and the Punisher did not know how effective it would be. But he soon found out. Stepping from the shadows, Logan laughed at the display. Not that it didn’t hurt him, but the sick and twisted little man paid no attention to the gaping holes in his chest that the Surfer’s blasts had caused, for they were already beginning to heal themselves. In a matter of seconds the only evidence that remained of the attack was the smoldering rings of burnt fabric in the black shirt that he wore. As the wounds closed over he craned his neck to one side, loudly realigning the bones of his spine with a pop that rung out in the now anxiously quiet night air. Turning to the shadows all around him, Logan prompted, “Boys, let’s have some fun!” And with that, the shadows came alive as countless more vampires descended upon the heroes.

Miles away, with a vicious ferocity that neither Paige nor Victoria had seen from him before, Hank tore through the majority of the oncoming vampires like they were not but paper dolls. He flung them every which way in an attempt to gain his friends a few precious seconds. He was not the only one trying to give the heroes some breathing room. The ones that Beast could not reach soon found their attack impeded by a TK shove from Dr. Essex. Taking full advantage of the assist, Frank Castle shot arrow after arrow through the villains chests, disintegrating them on contact. Below Victoria’s levitating form, Paige and Vance backed up against each other as the young man fired mercilessly into the hell spawn’s midst. Realizing the young girl needed a bit of assistance, Vance wheeled around and fired one shot clean through the approaching vampire’s heart. Taking half a moment to smile at the pistol wielding blonde, Vance remarked, “Keep shooting kid, this ain’t the last of ‘em.” As the young man quipped, four more of the blood sucking brood leaped toward Beast, hoping to exact some kind of brutal vengeance for the loss of their leader. But once the four pairs of supernaturally enabled fangs sunk into the steel hard skin of Hank, they found a dinner not at all to their liking. The gamma irradiated blood that now flowed freely through his veins found its way quickly across their pallets, instantly poisoning them, causing an explosive reaction that found the demonic attackers reduced to ash, and leaving Beast none the worse for wear. But just as it seemed that they were dispatching their enemies fairly easily, an awful sound formed on the horizon. As they looked towards it they saw Barry coming towards them, and behind him was the unmistakable sound of hundreds of leathery wings beating against the cold night air.

At the Sanctum Sanctorum, an unwavering determination helped Tessa to quickly back away from McCoy, narrowly avoiding the first slash that he had aimed for her torso. It was only her quick reflexes and her amazing analyzation of his movements that kept her from being cut in two right then and there. The miss did not make McCoy happy, and his eyes filled with rage and a bloodlust that chilled Tessa to her core. If it had been any other member of the Watch, they may have froze up. But Tessa knew how to push that kind of fear out of her mind, and she wasn’t about to fail now. She recited the incantation louder now, hoping that it would work. But the earplugs that the one time PHD, now turned vampire, wore blocked the magical words from his ears. As a vicious grin curled McCoy’s face, Wong knew they were in trouble. Doing as his partner asked, he erected the barrier once more. Just in time too, for as the barrier went up, McCoy lunged forward with all his might, soon finding himself slamming into the mystical field between him and his prey. He stood snarling at the wall, calculating a way to get around it so that he could feast on the scrumptious morsel that lay beyond. But as luck would have it, that would have to wait. Behind the grey furred vampire, propelling himself like a cannonball, Spider-man bore down on the monster that was closing in on his friend. He bounded fearlessly off of the nearest wall and let his fists come down like a hammer against the base of Mad McCoy’s skull. With the creature’s back turned it was no problem connecting with the preoccupied McCoy, but the blow only served to distract him and turn his focus. Spider-man now found himself eye to eye with what was probably the nastiest possible version of Dr. Henry McCoy anywhere in all of reality.

Back at the roadside battlefield, realizing it was now or never, Victoria implored the Phoenix to rise from the shadowy recesses of her mind and come to her aid. It taxed her to summon the Phoenix force even on her best day, but whatever it was that Dr. Strange had done to the cosmic entity was holding it firmly in check. The primal force that resided within Victoria had never been held at bay in that manner before, and it had sent the thing into some kind of shock that it was not going to be roused from easily. But Victoria Essex was persuasive, and that determination finally manifested itself in a fiery glow around her as the Phoenix came to bear. And she would need it too as she and her teammates now faced a swarm of vampire bats that were approaching over the tops of the nearby trees led by a vampire with pale blue skin and razor-sharp wings that most of them would eventually recognize as Warren Worthington III.
He made it. Barely, but he had. Tessa was safe, for the moment. But keeping the demonic version of Mr. McCoy away from her was only half the battle. Now, he had to find a way to keep its attention on him, beat it, and survive in the process. Right now, it appeared he had accomplished the first of the three.
Peter leapt backwards, firing multiple rounds of impact webbing at the beast, his rosary being caught in the wind as it hung from his neck. If this version of Beast was anything like the one he worked with, he knew the webbing would not hold him for more than a few seconds if even that. But he needed all the time he could get and at the very least it would keep the monstrosity's focus on him.
But the futile effort of his webbing was the least of his problems. It was clearly evident to the spider that he was in trouble. His punches hadn't done more than annoy the vampire. If he kept going at it head on he was going to exhaust himself and become easy prey for 'Hank.' He would have to rely on his speed and spider sense to keep him one step ahead of the demon and buy him as much time as he could; but in there lay a problem as well. Simply dodging attacks and firing web wasn't going to defeat the beast, and as strong as he was, his continuous acrobatics would eventually start to tire him. As Peter continued to move and unload blotches of sticky silk at the vampire, he knew that the moment his reflexes started to slow, the beast's attacks was going to cnnect.
"If I can't beat him physically, my only other hope is for Tessa to get the chant to work. But she tried it already, twice infact, and both times it failed. Did she translate it wrong? Maybe Hank's to strong of a vampire to be effected by it. Or maybe he's found a way to shield himself from it. Whatever the reason I gotta find a way to get the spell to work or I'm not going to last much longer."
The spider refused to let panic take him, he was too experienced to do so. He had faced an army of sentinels, Weapon X, Doctor Octopus, and the two symiotic spawns of the V.E.N.O.M. project. He had gotten through those, he would get through this. He just had to stay calm, collected, and at all times moving.
Keeping his eyes on 'Hank' Peter shouted out to Tessa, hoping that she and Wong might be able to provide some kind of aid.
"Hey Tessa! Now would be a very good time to fix the spell and use to burn this guy to ashes!"
From Sinister's Diary...
"I watched from the relative safety of the shadows today as Gambit came upon my Victoria and her comrades. I remained silent as he told her the truth of my "evils"...and the truth behind Ben Grimm. Sadly, Poor Franklin Richards did not take it well at all. And Victoria, in her puppy dog love of that boy, was heartbroken and crushed as he walked away from her, telling Gambit that for all he cared, he could kill her.
It was the Parker boy that rescued her. Not I. Just as I was about to step in, as Gambit came in for the killing blow, Peter Parker stepped forward and swept Victoria up into his arms and whisked her away into the night. I know now, that Parker is indeed who I suspected him of being. He is the Spider-Man who roams the skies and fights the "good" fight. Pity him, he'll have to be the next to go..."

Victoria winced slightly as the halo formed around her. Something wasn't right with the Phoenix and she could sense it. Although the entity wasn't in it's full blown form, she had hoped that a mere taste of it's flames would scare off the creatures of the night.
From above the fray, she watched the creatures of the night and her companions battle...her eyes on Hank as he tore through the vampires as if they were paper dolls. But her attention was quickly diverted to the bats coming at them, and the blue skinned winged vampire who was closing in on her.
"I said...BACK OFF!" She yelled, throwing out another telekinetic blast towards the onslaught. Yet there was something...something about these creatures she couldn't put her finger on...she felt something close to kinship with them, although she couldn't understand how or why. Maybe another one of Sinister's synaptic programs? Or maybe that other thing that had her so worried right now? Either way, she'd find out eventually. Right now however, her attention was needed in the here and now. Flames began to reach out from her fingers as she shot blast after blast towards the fanged creatures.
"Barbequed Bat anyone?" She let out a bit of a cold wicked laugh as she called it out to group below.
"Crapcrapcrapcrap! I hate Bats!" Barry yelled as he ran at blinding speeds, which luckily deafened most of the horrid sounds the bats made as they flew "Love that Vic. We kinda ran in that master guy back there... think you could do him next?"
Breathing a sigh of relief as Vance wheeled around and shot the leering vampire through the heart, Paige made a mental note to stay close to him. She wasn’t new to battle not one bit, but she was new to fighting the undead, and Vance knew what the hell he was doing and she didn’t. So when it doubt Paige figured stick close to someone who’ll have your back when you’re to busy trading glares with the creatures to realize your life is on the line.

Wondering for a moment where her nerve had gone, she used to be the spitfire that when it doubts would deck a man with her combat boot to save a teammate and had for the first mission been the ‘muscle’ so to speak, where’d that girl go? Had she been replaced with someone who realized she was only mortal and could die easily…had it been the fact that she found out her world wasn’t gone that gave her reason to be cautious with her life now?

Whatever the reason was Paige knew she needed some of the spitfire back, she couldn’t rely on Pete Wisdom to give her courage and she couldn’t replace Pete with Vance. She needed to dig deep down inside of her petite frame and find that passion and courage inside her again, the courage that had helped her secure the leadership position on Gen-X and that same passion that had made the always ‘cool’ Jonothan Starsmore fall for her.

Paige was determined to find that part of herself again, to throw caution to the wind and fight for herself and stop letting her insecurities to force her to take refuge in her teammates or Vance. She knew she could fight on her own and hold her own in a fight, she had before and would again. She just needed to break down that wall of fear that had erected itself around her, she was a Guthrie after all and they weren’t known for being careful and cautious.

“Thanks.” Paige breathed giving Vance a small smile before focusing her attention on another vampire, staying just in sight of Vance but far enough away to make her feel independent and self-reliant. Her stance now more confidant and her hands no longer shaking she aimed the gun at the next vampire and pulled the trigger, her eyes never leaving her victim her stare steely and harsh. Paige wasn’t going to let herself be the damsel anymore, she was made of tougher stuff then that.

As her gaze swiftly left the now dead vampire’s, Paige saw the faint glow that had formed around Victoria and had to shiver slightly. If the Phoenix was coming out to play things were going to get messy or more so then they already were.
“Earplugs, he’s wearing earplugs. There is nothing wrong with the spell, It worked perfectly on the other two.” Tessa projected to Spider-Man mentally, careful to keep her thoughts guarded from Mad McCoy in the off chance that these vampires had telepathy, “ If you can get at least one out I should be able to destroy him with the incantation.” The cyberpath felt secure behind the barrier that Wong had created upon her request, still holding the gun in one hand as she continued to give Spider-Man instructions, “I’ve analyzed quite a bit of his movement, he’s predictable in he’ll attack like a vicious predator; he’s quick too, I narrowly escaped injury earlier.” Tessa looked at Wong briefly.
“Will this barrier hold long?” She asked him seriously, saving whatever unfinished data she had and closing the holographic windows she still had open. Pushing the frames up onto her head Tessa watched what was going on beyond the barrier with a keen eye. Noticing one very prominent thing that Spider-Man was using, and realizing they could use it to their advantage…hopefully.

“Spidey, your webbing, do you think you could aim for one or both of the earplugs and remove them?” Sage inquired of the wall-crawler, it wasn’t going to be easy even if Spider-Man said he was capable of it; but it was better than Spidey getting physically closer than needed to assist the cyberpath.
“With your agility, if you time it properly you could remove the plugs and vacate the room before McCoy had a chance to react to it.” Tessa said, her blue eyes still watching both creatures like a hawk, “But, I don’t foresee getting more than one chance at attempting this. McCoy was most probably a doctor before he was a vampire, which means the McCoy intelligence is still intact; He’d figure out our plan quite quickly.” Sage looked at Wong again, briefly wondering if she should let the Asian man know what she was attempting to do, and deciding that yes, she should let the Punisher know.
“So, can you do it?” She asked her teammate out loud, taking the time to give Wong a short synopsis of her intended plan of action.
Spider-Man continued to move and fire webbing at the beast, doing what he could to buy him time. He listened closely to Tessa's instructions but made sure to keep his attention on 'Hank' at all times.
He watched the vampire closely, studying its movements, trying to get a feel for its attacks and how it would to evade them. But also, he was asking himself the same question Tessa had just asked him. Could he do it? Dan was injured, Tessa and Wong were protected behind the shield, unable to attempt such a feat. For him, it wasn't a question of ability. For him, it wasn't could he do it, it was he had to do it. His eyes narrowed on the target and inside he said a short prayer. After a brief pause he replied.
"Have the spell ready and be watching for the exact moment I jar those things loose."
With that, the spider continued to move, looking for an opening of which he could take advantage of. All he would need was one.
Rogue knew she had to find a way to protect her allies here. Almost without thinking, her orange rock skin began to smolder and flame as she silently mouthed the words: flame on. Running between the evil master and her teammates, she threw her arms in the air and tried to create an invisible field between her and her friends.

"YOU WILL NOT HURT THEM!", she screamed at Logan

Praying that her shield would work, she created the successful image in her mind and tried her hardest to make it so. She doubted that Logan would try to go after her between the fire and the rock, but her new friends were a target. These people trusted her and she was willing to lay her life on the line for that.

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