The boat loomed over the crest of the horizon, speeding forward across the harbour. Julian frowned, speeding faster, more urgently towards it, kicking up a mist over the water as he passed. Carrion fog followed the grim vessel, living things dropping from the sky if they drew too close. Julian steeled himself, strengthening his shield.
The professor had said Kevin was more dangerous than ever. Julian was determined to take him down.
He slowed as he came upon it, close enough to smell the noxious odor of death, to see the floating fish nipping at the large hulls. He steeled his jaw as he flew up into an arc, just enough to spot Kevin. At first he didn't know it was the boy he had grown up with, the man who had altered space, time, and ended Ali's death.
He was standing, immobile, gaunt, pale face to the wind. His clothes were tattered, the cloak on his shoulders nearly falling to pieces. And his eyes were closed, his palms feeling the wet cool air, offered to the sky in what looked like supplication.
But Julian knew it was hunger. He gritted his teeth, feeling the power of his shields--both shields, each wrapping around him, one skin-tight and the other encasing him--strengthen yet again.
He didn't know what the hell was going on, but he was going to stop it. And with that, he dove down, fist aimed for Kevin's head.
The first hit took him off guard, and Julian would not get so lucky again. Kevin went down hard, crumpling to the deck, groaning for a moment on hands and knees before glancing up at Julian circling back around for a second blow.
Rising slowly to his feet, Kevin's eyes darkened, fixing on Julian. The fog that hovered above them descended, engulfing them in pitch, the only illumination the glow of Julian's shield. He realized that it was not mere clouds, but swarms of insects, that he cut through as he neared Wither.
Julian ignored the flare of fear raising in him, that immediate flash of self-preservation that shot through him stronger than anything he had ever felt before. Something was very wrong. But he fell forward anyway, with all he had, but this time he did not meet his mark.
Kevin was laughing, his hands outstretched, reaching up to receive Julian's attack. Bare fingers reached out to brush the surface of Julian's shield, and the telekinetic felt a sudden, oppressive feeling against his outer shield, as if billions, perhaps trillions of invisible organisms were burrowing through it, tearing it apart; as if it were simply rotting away.
"...How?" Julian's shocked whisper escaped him before he realized, and Kevin suddenly gripped his shoulders, trying to penetrate Julian second, skintight shield.
Kevin's smile was cold, amused. "I have transcended." His grip tightened; Julian felt his shield waver, like it might give way. "Soon, you shall, too."
Julian steeled his mind, reaching up to throw Kevin's hands from his person, throwing the other man into the bow of the ship with a powerful cyan blast.
He stumbled back, just a few steps, swiping impatiently at the thick buzzing air. The blue of his shield wavered as he pushed it back up. He couldn't hear anything, anything but ominous hum of insects and his own heart. "You won't mind if I take you down a notch, then," he shot back.
Kevin was laughing then, a maniacal boom of amusement that chilled Julian's very bones. He rose to his feet, slowly, carefully. Julian didn't wait; he let it go. The blast was deafening, exploding out in a radius that made the boat's metal whine and bend, pushed the insects and noxious atmosphere out, away; he could almost breathe.
Kevin's laughter ceased, growing serious. "You think that you can stand against me, mutant?"
His hands stretched out beside him, swarms returning double, vermin crawling across the decks of the ship toward him, heeding his call. Now, not only insects, but birds blotted out the sun, fish floundered against the hull. The multitudes combined, not so dense that they swarmed Julian or prevented vision now, but instead forming a dome around the ship, encasing the two men, alone, at the helm.
"Watch me," he growled softly, although his eyes widened and darted around the swarm surrounding them. His pupils and whites glowed, turned an electric blue that wisped with power. Another two blasts formed in his waiting palms, and he shielded himself again, jaw locked.
Kevin took a step forward, a shadow growing around him, shaking his head. He raised his hands, the thick cloud of disease dense, menacing as he advanced upon his foe. Each step he took, Julian felt the pressure of his shield, he fought to keep his concentration, to force the shields to hold.
His voice was resonant, deep thunder in the din. He commanded all microscopic organisms, the harbingers of disease, the precursors for living decay. "Kneel before the First Horseman of Apocalypse and accept your fate willingly..." Julian could feel the deadly swarm begin to penetrate his outer shield, "or you will know the true power of Pestilence."
"I... don't know... what the fuck you're on, Kev..." He forced out, his breath heaving against the weight, the effort. He pushed, he pushed his shield up, but nothing relented and the fear that had plagued him before clamored into his heart. This isn't it, he thought, surprisingly serene. This isn't the way it ends. "...but I don't think I want any."
He could smell it, not quite death but something close, maybe worse, as Kevin penetrated his shields completely, his body convulsing, rejecting the putrid stench. He felt it, the disease, as it surrounded him, permeated him, he could see his flesh begin to change--gangrenous decay spreading rapidly, pustulant, the sweetrot smell of gaseous necrosis made him want to puke. Vomit sprayed across the deck at Kevin's feet.
"You cannot fight me, now, Hellion." Kevin bent, producing a syringe of a strange blue liquid, uncapping it with careful fingers before slamming the needle deep into Julian's neck. He depressed the plunger slowly, serum flooding Julian's jugular vein. "Welcome to hell."
He was burning.
Paralyzed in torture.
The sky above him was black, clotted with the reek of death and violence. With chaos.
He did not feel the ground as it met his knees, jarred into his joints like needles stabbing up into his bones. Liquid fire raced through his veins, twitching his fingers, soaking living cells. He gasped, writhed, head thrown back.
Sightless eyes turned inky ebony and malice and viciousness were his. He was. He felt it, building, suffocating, possessing. Something horrible was ripping and tearing and setting everything beneath his skin up in hot hungry flames.
It tasted heavy on his tongue, like the smell of rotting flesh. Power. Death. Purpose. Hell.
He wanted to die.
And then it was over.
OOC: All yours, guys. XD We're posting this so early so everyone's got a chance today to add to it. It'll be open all day, and maybe into tomorrow. :) ALL BROTHERHOOD MEMBERS AND X-MEN ARE INVITED.