A/N: Just a short and sweet oneshot idea given to me by AnarchicMuse to help clear away some writer's block. Based off the song Through the Valley by Shawn James.
The air was stiflingly hot, gritty with the taste of sand, and laced with smoke and perfumes wafting from the passerby's. Metal machines with people inside whizzed by, rough voices piercing the air with a crude, unfamiliar tongue. Everywhere he looked were the ordinary, the weak, contaminating his earth with their inferior blood, sullying his legacy.
His hands curled; power long dormant surged through him, only a tiny fragment of his true ability yet far more than these insects deserved. He lifted an arm, letting it gather in the palm of his hand, the same strength that he had used to mow down whole civilizations in an instant. The power that proved his dominion over all living things. The power of a god.
His hand opened and it was set free, blasting outward in a wave of raw energy so powerful it made the very planet quiver. Everything for miles around was instantly, irrevocably obliterated; men, women, and children blasted to pieces as the earth cracked open and the orange-tinted night was overridden with blinding light. It lasted for only a breath of a moment before he curled his fingers inward again, but that was all he needed.
Where once was a thriving metropolis now stood a crater, a monument to the power of The First One. His blue-lined lips curled upward in satisfaction at his show of power; these were only the first to feel his judgement, and very soon this entire world would return to its rightful place under his rule. Too long had his right been denied; too long had he slept beneath the ground, his powers dormant.
En Sabah Nur looked to the rising sun, basking in the warmth for a fleeting moment before turning his back to it. A new day was beginning, and in that moment he made a promise to himself:
It would be the last day that humanity would ever see.
The first was a young woman by the name of Ororo. Her power sizzled through her like electricity, the air around her tainted with the smell of ozone. Her hair was pure white, her eyes a dazzling blue, her features beautifully unique in contrast to the others around her.
En Sabah Nur could taste her anger in the static of her breath, feel her struggle writhing in her muscles, the desire to become one with her power, to embrace the storm completely. He could see her longing to be like him; to have no fears, to stand above the world and know that you hold their lives in your hands.
Wooing her to his side was not as easy as previous Horsemen had been, for no matter the resentment she felt for being mistreated, Ororo was a kind spirit and sought no pain or vengeance on others beyond her imagination. For her the lie slipped easily off his tongue, the promise to spare others like her from the mistreatment of the human race, from being subjugated as if they were inferior.
Ororo Munroe longed to be accepted for what she was, she longed for the ability to become one with her power. Storm was the name she chose, and the storm she would be; riding the winds as her steed, blessing only the strongest with her gift and cursing the weak to oblivion.
And so Storm became the Horseman of Famine.
The next called herself Psylocke. Unlike Ororo, who was powerful yet docile, this woman's anger and passion roiled through her unendingly, allowing her the ability to give shape and form to the psychic energy she commanded. From her fingertips sprang weapons of all kinds, for a person like her could never have been satisfied in the realm of the mind alone; no, she sought blood like the predator she was.
Elizabeth Braddock was a simple conquest. To feel how his power enhanced hers, to be promised the chance to fight for a cause greater than the petty squabbles of lesser creatures was all she needed. Her allegiance was steadfast, sewn in lust for power and a hint of obsession that proved her loyalty far more than petty words.
A woman of combat she was, powerful and deadly as a striking cobra, ready and willing to hunt someone to the ends of the Earth.
And so Psylocke became the Horseman of War.
Magneto was different from the others. He had no violent bloodlust, no secret urges; his struggle was rooted in grief, masked in anger but shattered to its core. He was a man who had felt true suffering, who had seen an entire race brought to the brink of immolation because of one man's misguided ideals; he would not be one to follow easily.
Erik Lehnsherr was a man who sought redemption, who believed himself guilty of surviving that which he should not have. He turned the grief he felt at the loss of those he loved into a desperate craving for revenge; even knowing it would never satisfy him. Like a drowning man he fought the current until he had nothing left but the icy-cold darkness of the depths.
Some part of Erik was still that little Jewish boy, locked away in a camp and aching for justice. And though it was laced with fancy words, with pale visions of revenge and truth, all it took was a promise for that little boy to rear his head. A promise to wipe away the scars of what he'd felt, no matter if those scars were merely hidden, not truly erased.
Erik Lehnsherr was a shell of a man, and so it was to that little boy within that En Sabah Nur gave his orders. Eager to please, desperate for redemption, content to weave himself a false illusion of the world with no prompting. And like a child he chose a name to rid himself of the shackles of his past, a name designed to strike fear into his enemies, a name that spread like the sickness in his mind, the misguided vision of his past and future.
And so Magneto became the Horseman of Pestilence.
Apocalypse watched through shadowed eyes as his Horsemen fought against the traitors to their kind. Mutants, yes, and powerful to boot, but foolish; defending the weak, protecting the humans as if their race had anything to offer this world other than their deaths.
He knew, one way or another, he would secure the telepath. Though these X-Men may slow him, might even stop him, it would not be forever; he was eternal, powerful beyond their wildest dreams, and destined to rule this world one way or another.
"I heard your call, Apocalypse."
The ancient mutant closed his eyes, a rush of unbidden glee surging through him. He crushed down the foolish emotion as he turned, for the first time taking in the very individual he had been waiting almost five thousand years to lay eyes on.
The Fourth Horseman was young in appearance, his pale features holding an almost timeless look, bright green eyes heavy with weight far beyond his years. The dark hair atop his head was unkempt and wild, like a dark flame frozen in place. The dark robe he wore covered all but his hands, spreading out from his feet like a pool of shadow. In one hand was a long, narrow shaft of wood, a golden ring with a large cracked black stone perched on one finger.
The boy's head cocked to the side as the costumed heroes battled the Horsemen, the red-haired girl flinging Psylocke back only to be blown off her feet by Storm. "Do you ever wonder why they fight?" he wondered, turning to look at Apocalypse with a mildly puzzled expression. "Does it ever cross your mind to wonder why they do not follow you?"
The mutant scowled as the boy with the optic blasts cut through a building, nearly burying the two female Horsemen under it. "Because they are blind," he spat, gesturing to the hundreds of bystanders fleeing from the fight. "They protect those who cower like insects, fleeing from the light; in my world there will be no more weakness, only strength and power."
"Power does not equal strength," the boy at his side informed him softly. "Power does not make goodness, or kindness, or compassion. Mutants, human, wizards, we are all one people, even if we live as though divided."
"And why do you protect these feeble creatures?" Apocalypse questioned. "You are powerful beyond their wildest dreams, yet your people are forced to hide while once they were seen as gods among mortals. Do you not wish for the betterment of them all, Death?"
The boy sighed. "My name is no more Death than yours is Apocalypse. You aren't the first to try and set yourself apart with a title and a dream. You are En Sabah Nur; I am just plain old Harry."
"I am the most powerful being on Earth! The savior of the human race! I am the lord of all creation and the master of you!" With those words the mutant's hand lunged for the boy, wrapping around the collar of his robes and hoisting him clear off his feet. Yet even dangling high off the ground those green eyes remained passive, unworried.
"You think you are the first to believe your conquest is justified? I have seen many men like you."
Apocalypse drew Harry close, dark eyes boring into green. "There are no men like me!"
"There are always men like you. Countless others have sought to rule this world, and where are they now?" He gestured to the endless sands around them. "They are the dust at our feet."
"But I will win for I have you. And you, my Horseman of Death, hold the power I need to rid myself of all who would challenge me!"
Suddenly Harry threw his head back and laughed. It was a long, shrill sound that sounded unearthly amidst the desert dunes. "You don't see, do you? You are powerful, so powerful and so blind." He raised his hand, displaying the shaft of wood held between his fingertips. Then before Apocalypse's eyes he snapped it in two. "There is no Master of Death, Nur. No Horsemen, no ultimate power for you to steal like you've stolen the lives of countless others. You see life as a game to win, but all games must come to an end."
Apocalypse hurled the boy to the ground, sending him rolling and scattering the broken wand pieces. "I will save this world! Save it from these weaklings poisoning it!"
Harry drew himself back up, the smile sliding from his face as his green eyes bored into Apocalypse. "You wish to save the world. But how will you save it from itself?" He opened his hand and let a stream of sand pour out from between his fingers. "This is all we are, Nur. Specks of sand in an endless sea of time, waiting to be forgotten forever."
The mutant's eyes turned to the broken wand half-buried in the sand, and with a thought it crumbled away to ash. "You would turn on your own kind? For the sake of humans?"
Harry spread his arms out wide. "And what makes us so superior? For all our power, when have we proven ourselves better?" He pointed to the fight in the distance. "For all our supposed superiority we still bicker like children, we still fight for supremacy. We are not gods; and you, En Sabah Nur, are just a man."
With a roar of fury Apocalypse turned the full force of his power on the Fourth Horseman. But before it made contact the green-eyed boy vanished, leaving the shifting sands to take the full brunt of the man's power. But then a voice rang out across the desert sands, a final taunt to The First One.
"Is fearing nothing strength or blindness? Is your soul to be restored or damned? All will be revealed in time. All will be revealed."
A/N:Just a random oneshot challenge I performed with my friend AnarchicMuse to help us get over our writer's blocks. Based off the song Through the Valley by Shawn James. Did anyone catch the Avengers and X-Men: Apocalypse references?
Check out my other, far more developed, HP/X-Men From Fire or AnarchicMuse's HP/Avengers story Prometheus.