The X-Men enter Misty Knight’s Manhattan apartment via teleportation, phasing or even the door, only to find the shocked young woman in there is not Misty. Wolverine immediately becomes aggressive and asks who she is and what she’s doing here. She lives here, the woman retorts angrily. Who are they and what’s the idea of bursting into her house? They could scare a girl half to death!
Storm apologizes for causing undue alarm. They are friends of Misty’s. This is still her apartment, is it not? It’s their apartment, the young woman clarifies. She’s her roommate. “Harmony Young!” Kitty bursts out, recognizing her. She’s one of the top fashion models of New York, she explains to the others. Nightcrawler immediately goes on his knee before Harmony and kisses her hand. An honor obviously well deserved, he flatters her.
Wolverine, in the meantime, takes himself off to the kitchen to look for beer. As ever, the soul of tact and diplomacy, Storm thinks sarcastically and explains to Harmony they had a standing invitation from Misty to be her guests, if the need ever arouse. They’ve been out of touch recently. They did not know she was sharing her apartment. They do not mean to intrude. They’ll be on their way.
No problem, Harmony assures them. If it’s okay with Misty, it’s okay with her. She likes having guys around, especially when they are cute, she states, pointing at the smiling Colossus and Nightcrawler. Colossus is not cute, Kitty thinks, ticked off.
Wolverine reminds her she’s got a date with her folks this evening. That’s why they are here after all. And she sure can’t go there dressed in her uniform. She lost track of the time, Kitty realizes. She’ll change right away. Ororo will come with her, won’t she? Storm apologizes that she did not bring appropriate clothes. She has nothing to wear.
Leave that to her, Harmony promises and opens her immense wardrobe. Storm warns her that they may be the same height but hardly the same size. Details, details, Harmony replies dismissively while Kitty exclaims “wow” and instantly goes for the clothes. Harmony marvels at Storm’s hair and downstairs Wolverine sighs and reaches for another beer. Eventually, a slow six-pack later, Ororo and Kitty are all dolled up and soon after they are on the way strolling through the fog-shrouded Greenwich Village in search of a taxi.
Meanwhile in the Rio Diablo, Scott Summers and his brother, Alex, take a stroll. Scott has informed him about the situation with Professor Xavier. And then there’s their father. Alex states that having Corsair popping up after all those years must have been rough for Scott. At least when Alex was adopted he had surrogate parents. Scott had nothing. He survived then and now, comes the reply.
Life is more than simple survival, Alex points out. Perhaps, Scott agrees and asks if he has been practicing the use of his powers. Sure has, comes the reply. Prove it, Cyclops demands and punches a rock into the darkening sky with his optic blast. At the apogee of its rise Alex fires a cosmic energy starbolt that shatters it. Not bad, Scott admits, then pulverizes the falling debris.
All that power, Alex remarks, with only his ruby quartz glasses to hold it in check. He’s not sure he could handle that kind of pressure or responsibility. He’d do fine, Scott assures him. Soon they are back at the cabin, where their father is waiting with Lorna Dane, who’s preparing dinner.
Later, Corsair compliments her cooking and she tells him Alex is the chef in the family. It’s just his way of getting out of doing dishes. What are his plans? Scott asks Corsair. Will he stay? For a while, Corsair decides. They’ve got a lot of catching up to do. But he’s been away so long, he feels so out of place on Earth, twenty years behind, yet lightyears ahead of them. If, when, he leaves, what about them? Scott asks. Would he want them to come with him? He doesn’t know, Corsair admits.
Back in New York, Kurt is regaling Harmony with tales of the circus when the phone rings. It’s Kitty, who checks in from the hotel and asks to speak to Ororo. Kurt is amazed to learn she isn’t with Kitty and is told Ororo left hours ago with the plan to return directly to Harmony’s apartment. What could have happened to her?
Storm lies unconscious in a back alley with a bleeding wound at her throat. She is found and rushed to St. Vincent’s hospital. A throat wound the doctor is told by the paramedic. Damage to the jugular. The bleeding’s under control but her pressure is way down. She’s lost a lot of blood before they reached her. Is she alive? a cop asks. Barely, the paramedic replies. It’ll be touch and go whether she survives the night. It’s a miracle she isn’t dead on arrival!
From the victim’s wallet, the police gain a New York address. A phone call is made and very soon after that Logan and Peter arrive, the latter telling Logan to be calm. He’s cool as ice, Logan replies. He won’t do a flamin’ thing, till he finds whoever did this to Ororo. He addresses Dr. Ohara, asking about Ororo.
The doctor tells them she’s alive, and she thinks she will pull through. The police theorize a mugging, possibly by a maniac. She wasn’t robbed or molested. Her throat was slashed. The damage turned out to look far worse than it actually was. There was some blood loss but nothing critical. She regained consciousness a while ago and gave the police a statement. They wanted to give her a whole blood transfusion, but they couldn’t match her type. Her tests produced some extraordinary results. She’s never seen anything like them and would like to investigate further.
Logan thinks that their mutant genes also make their blood unique. If this doc keeps poking about, she’ll realize what Ororo is and possibly who she is.
Regardless, Doctor Ohara announces, she’d like to keep Ororo here for a few days for observation, just in case. She’s suffered a severe trauma, physically and psychologically. She doesn’t’ even remember what happened or who attacked her.
They walk in to find Ororo out of bed and not looking very traumatized at all. She tells her friends she feels foolish falling prey to a common mugger and assures the doctor she feels much better. Dr. Ohara urges her that she is making a mistake.
She cannot stay, Ororo thinks, looking outside. That would compromise the X-Men. Yet she feels strangely safe here. But why should she suddenly fear the night? For a moment, she believes to see glowing eyes in the fog, but she decides it was her imagination. Ahh, she thinks, she loves the night. She decides to return home. Tight-lipped, Doctor Ohara tells her, she’ll prepare her release forms.
At the apartment, her friends put her to bed in Misty’s room. She tells them to stop mothering her, she just needs some sleep.
Later, she tosses and turns, as the night deepens, her senses sharpen, becoming unbearably acute. A voice calls to her. She ignores it. For as long as she is able. Then, as if in a dream, she rises from her bead. She opens the window, not with fear but with anticipation and a desire beyond her wildest imagination. Enter freely and of your own will, she states. Her blood burns white hot within her as the fog swirls around her, enshrouding her, caressing her. She smiles with a wanton, inhuman supernal joy.
The weekend passes, on late Sunday afternoon, Kitty comes phasing in, new teddy bear stuffed under her arm. She’s surprised to see her three male team members looking somber and dejected. What’s wrong? she asks. Where’s Ororo? Colossus begins that she is not well. Agitated, Kitty asks what that means. Is she sick? Immediately, she feels guilty for not having phoned, but she was having such a good time. She turns to Logan, asking him.
Holding her by the shoulder, Logan explains that Ororo was attacked Friday night. They thought she was ok, but she isn’t getting any better. They don’t know why and won’t let them call a doctor or take her to a hospital. Is… is she…? Kitty stutters. He doesn’t know but she doesn’t want to go on living. Kitty shouts no and phases into Ororo’s room. Logan hopes Kitty can help Ororo.
Kitty wants to open the curtains in the darkened. Ororo screams in pain and begs her to close them. She looks withered and ill. Pale and… old, Kitty thinks as she sits down at her bedside. Looks like she can’t leave Ororo alone for even a minute, she chides. How is it going? How does she feel? Tired, Ororo replies, but she will recover. She cannot remember ever being ill before, but she supposes there’s a first time for everything. Kitty explains they are worried. There is no need, comes the reply.
Kitty notices that Ororo is wearing a black silk scarf, with the letter D embroidered on it. Is it Harmony’s? she asks. This? Storm asks. No, it is hers. A… gift from an admirer. But how can that be? she wonders a moment later. He’s a figment of her imagination. A phantom who haunts her dreams.
Kitty apologizes for upsetting her. Ororo exclaims in pain a moment later when the lamplight flashes off Kitty’s Star of David pendant she always wears on a necklace. Kitty becomes suspicious. Aversion to sunlight, to religious artfacts. Anemia, dreams… this is ridiculous, what is she thinking? she tells herself. She reaches out. Later, Storm tells her, she is tired. But Kitty insists. Ororo shoves her away and shouts at her to leave her be.
Kitty phases out, crying but telling the others it’s no problem. Where was Ororo injured? she asks. Throat wound, Logan replies. Slashed across the jugular, but not deeply enough to puncture the vein. Why? Just asking, gotta run. Errands, she replies and phases out of the apartment. What the blazes was that about? Logan asks Peter.
With the night, a fog comes to blanket Greenwich Village. Inside, Ororo stirs, rises and once more throws open the window to admit her lover. He does not keep her waiting. He reaches for her. Her name means beauty, he muses. Through him that beauty shall remain unchanged till the end of time. Through him, she shall have the immortality a goddess deserves. Does she wish this?
Yes, Storm replies without hesitation. He orders her to yield to his dread embrace. Join her blood and life and soul to his as with a kiss he makes her the bride of the prince of Darkness, Dracula!
Ororo smiles and bares her throat. However, before he can bite, Kitty phases inside the room (all dolled up in a Vampire fighter outfit), holding out a crucifix and ordering Dracula to let her go. He flinches at the sight of the cross, then realizes it has no effect. He lunges at Kitty, telling her she has outsmarted herself. The cross has no power over such as he, if the wielder does not believe in it. She is not Christian, but Hebrew!
Still, as he lunges for her throat, he finds his hand burning, thanks to her Star of David pendant. He drops her and turns away. Kitty shouts at Ororo to get out of there. Instead, she strikes Kitty, warning her that nobody may harm her lord, not even Kitty. She flies outside, following Dracula and orders Kitty not to follow or try to save her. If she tries, she will merely walk before her time through the gate of death. Forget her. And pray that they never meet again.
The other X-Men come running in, asking what happened. Hysterical, Kitty tells them Dracula got Ororo, in a choking haltering voice she tells them what happened. She kept things to herself, because she didn’t think they’d believe her. She didn’t completely believe things herself, until she saw him.
Ororo had a pretty rough weekend, Logan suggests. Maybe she just flipped out. How do they explain the scarf? Kitty asks, holding it up. It isn’t hers. Okay, it belongs to Harmony or Misty, he suggests. Nightcrawler tells Logan not to scoff. Kitty is no child. He trusts her word as he would his own or Wolverine’s. Also, in his homeland of Bavaria, they have learned from bitter experience not to take vampires – especially Dracula – lightly.
Even if she is fantasizing, Kitty pleads, they can’t let Ororo fly away like this. They have to help her before it’s too late. No argument there, Logan admits, but it won’t be easy picking out her scent out of this atmospheric soup surrounding the city. That will tax even his tracking abilities to the limit. Still what’s life without a little challenge, eh?
A couple of hours later, a couple of miles uptown, they find themselves in Central Park near Belvedere Castle. That’s where Wolverine has tracked Storm. Holding onto her equipment, Kitty announces, let’s go. Wolverine holds her back. Something is screwy. It’s too quiet, too still. “On your toes, troops,” he orders a moment later. They are not alone.
“Quite true,” comes Dracula’s voice as he takes form. Storm is his. She is lost to them forever. By coming to her rescue, they have merely sped up their own dooms. On his orders, rats and wild dogs appear and attack. But so do the X-Men. Nightcrawler lunges for him and Dracula hits him in the face. Wolverine takes care of the animals, as does Colossus, while keeping an eye on the stunned Nightcrawler.
Is this the best their foe can do? he wonders. He hopes so, but kinda doubts it, Logan replies. He suggests ending this by a fastball special. Colossus heaves Wolverine at Dracula, but at the last instant, the vampire lord transforms himself into mist, laughing as Wolverine sails helplessly through him, claws cutting empty air. And when the X-Man lands, the dogs are waiting.
As Dracula rematerializes, Colossus lunges for him, but impossibly Dracula’s strength matches his as he tosses him into the trees.
Nightcrawler is finally up again. They can’t match his raw power, he tells Wolverine, but there are other ways to defeat him. He’s seen the movies, Logan replies, he knows what to do. Extruding a single claw from each hand, Wolverine forms the sign of the cross. Derogatively, Dracula tosses him aside. That ploy is useless unless you truly believe!
Nightcrawler forms a cross with two sticks of wood. He does believe! And Dracula yells in pain. He is far from beaten though. He summons lightning from the skies to hit Nightcrawler. Kurt teleports but the lightning follows.
Meanwhile, Kitty has taken advantage of the confusion to slip away. She phases into Belvedere Castle, recalling Wolverine saying this was supposed to be a weather station. She guesses Dracula’s made a few changes.
She stumbles over a coffin, wondering whether it’s Dracula’s or Storm’s. You kill a vampire by hammering a stake through its heart and then cutting off its head. If Ororo is in there, if she has changed, can she go through with it? She lifts the stake and trembling opens the lid. She’s relieved to find it empty. Just to make sure, she pours holy water inside it.
The next moment, she is slapped aside. Hullo kitten, Ororo greets her, wearing a white lowcut dress a choker and displaying blood-red eyes and vampire fangs. How nice of her to visit.
Kitty tries to stay phased and wonder how she has changed. You don’t become a true vampire till you rise from the grave three days after you died. She figures the transformation must begin while you are still alive and the process is warping Ororo’s mind
She phases through Storm and holds forth her stake. Storm warns her that the stake is no defense. With her mutant elemental powers, she can summon a wind to batter Kitty senseless. Kitty urges Ororo to fight him. She told Kitty she was a goddess, consecrated to life. Prove it! Reach within herself to her heart and soul. Fight him! Then she drops her stake. If Ororo can’t, if she wants her life so badly, then she can take it. Kitty won’t try to stop her.
Outside, Dracula still stands, but the X-Men refuse to give up. Nightcrawler teleports on top of him, deciding that, if he can’t outrun the daemonic lightning, he will put it to some use… However, when the smoke clears, only the X-Men have fallen.
Ororo has come to join her master. Dracula remarks that her comrades are indeed splendid foes. What will he do with them? she asks. Slay them! he shouts. With a smile, she tells him that is something he will never do!
She attacks him with her own lightning bolts. Furious, he calls her a traitorous witch and flies off in bat form, telling her to enjoy her freedom. It will not last long. The have shared blood. They are bound, one mind, one soul for all eternity. Following him, she shouts that his hold on her is broken. Dracula claims that she cannot return to what she was any more than she can deny what she has become. But she can ensure that his evil never taints or destroys another life, she retorts.
She generates a madcap blizzard around Dracula, blinding him with snow, freezing him with sub-zero temperatures and arctic winds.
In desperation, the vampire crashes into the nearest refuge, the “Top of the Park” restaurant fifty stories above Columbus Circle.
Storm presses the attack, but Dracula begins to gain, finally he strikes her down. He is her lord, he reminds her and tries to suppress her will. At first, Ororo begins to obey. He orders her to bare her neck and take a last look at the world of the living. When she next opens her eyes, she will be huntress and they prey. Again, she reacts without conscious thought, then refuses. She will not kill and he cannot force her. She scoops up a broken table leg, to serve as an improvised stake.
Unfortunately, fast though she is, Dracula is faster. He grabs a panicked woman and orders Storm to drop the stake or he will rip that cow’s throat out. She drops the stake but orders him to let the woman go. None shall die because of her. That attitude will change once she’s joined him as his vampiric consort, he promises.
She meant what she said, Ororo stresses, none shall die because of her. She will be true to herself She will not shed the blood of innocents. But to save them she will destroy him, regardless of how long it takes or the price she must pay. She will end his reign of terror.
She would not be the first to try, comes the reply, but he does not wish them to be foes. How can they be anything else? she asks. He may have transformed her into a vampire, he may even slay her, but he does not own her. She was born free and free she will remain.
Dracula lets go of the hostage and bows before Storm. He knew from the first taste of her blood that she was a woman of rare beauty, rare courage, rare strength. Those qualities attracted him to her, now they have defeated him. When he… lived, he was a prince. She is one of the handful of women he has met since, worthy of being his queen. He offers wonder beyond imagination, but will not force her to accept them. She has earned Dracula’s respect and hence her life. He flies off.
Ororo shouts after him that he won’t escape that easily. He warns her not to push her luck. The world is vast. She could search for him a score of lifetimes and never find a trace of him. When next they meet, if that night ever comes, it will be a time and place of his choosing. Till then, farewell.
Sunrise and Storm returns to Greenwich Village. To the others, Kitty notes that, since she has no problem with sunlight, the vampiric infection is gone. The two women hug. With tears in her eyes, Ororo thanks her. Such a debt is beyond human payment she tells her.
Downstairs, the joyous reunion continues as Storm is greeted by Harmony, her roommate Misty Knight and Misty’s partner, Colleen Wing. Everyone wants to know what happened and Ororo tells them that Kitty risked everything when she confronted Ororo in the castle. Psychologically, she was already a vampire, as bloodthirsty as Dracula, though physically she was still human. Kitty gambled that Ororo’s… love for her would outweigh Dracula’s influence. It was a very near thing.
That moment, the phone rings. It’s Moira MacTaggert from Scotland. She wants the team to return to Muir Isle (and collect Scott on the way). Professor Xavier has taken a turn for the worse.