As Colossus stands over his brother, holding a boulder with which he intends to kill, he feels Grigory Rasputin’s insidious tugging at his thoughts. He must end this curse but, as he prepares to strike, he recalls how Mikhail once pulled him out of a well he had fallen down. Piotr turns his head and drops the boulder harmlessly to his right. Mikhail looks up at his younger brother and thanks him, before unleashing a burst of energy from his hand that sends Piotr flying backwards.
Mikhail stands and tells Piotr that he was always too soft under that metal skin. This world belongs to those with the will to power. Piotr lies on his back, with smoke rising from his body. “For the love of God,” he whispers. Mikhail is unmoved, and says goodbye to Piotr before teleporting away, leaving Piotr to his fate. Piotr looks up forlornly. “Don’t leave me here.”
(Lake Baikhal region of Siberia)
Mikhail arrives back in Vlad’s shack in the snow-covered Siberian forest. Sinister asks if his brother is dead. Mikhail replies he’s as good as. He left him buried in a cave with no exits. It will be his tomb. He may live a few days or a few weeks, but he will die. Sinister places his hand on Mikhail’s shoulder and says he’s waited nine decades for this moment - he can wait a little longer. He asks if maybe he should be calling Mikhail, Grigory?!
Mikhail doesn’t seem entirely pleased with how things have gone down. Sinister, however, is more interested in setting up a new laboratory. It will be simple obtaining raw materials, he feels. There are many places in the new Europe where human beings are more readily trafficked than animals. Life has not been valued so cheaply since the golden age of the Third Reich.
Sinister wishes to leave, but Mikhail bends down over his cousin’s body. He says he wants to bury her. “Why?” asks Sinister. Mikhail replies that he always liked her. Sinister is angry at this evidence of weakness. Does he still believe in the love of family and friends after all he’s seen? Sinister tells him that his great-grandmother was stronger than him. He should learn from her example. Mikhail carries Larisa’s body out into the snow and lays her down beside Vlad’s burnt body.
Sinister stands over them and informs Mikhail that, when Elena discovered that her brother had betrayed Grigory, she begged him to let her kill him. What a night that was, he recalls.
(flashback, St. Petersburg)
Sinister explains that they feared that Rasputin’s assassins would seek them out, and that the sacred wives would be arrested; even killed. He and Elena took Grigory’s body back to the river and laid him to rest in its dark waters for a second time. He was found three days later on the bank. They say the citizens of St. Petersburg swarmed to the river to drink, believing that the waters were blessed.
Afterwards, the wives dispersed and Elena returned to her lodgings. There, she found her brother waiting for her. He was packing his bags, and told Elena that the city was no longer safe for friends of Rasputin. Elena, heavily pregnant, told him that she knew what he had done. He murdered the father of her child. Sinister told him he wouldn’t be going anywhere, but Ivan replies that he did it for her. Could she not see how insane their plans were? Elena replied that she loved him. “I loved him!” She summoned energy to her right hand and used it to hurl Ivan hard against the wall.
She motioned to a pistol lying on the bed, and asked Ivan if that was the pistol he used on her beloved Grigory. She picked it up and asked Sinister to leave. She wished to be alone with her brother. Even Sinister was chilled by the hatred in her voice. As he departed, Elena aimed the pistol at her brother’s head and told him to make peace with his God. Perhaps he would forgive him. A shot rang out. When she rejoined Sinister outside, her clothes were stained with her brother’s blood. “It’s done,” she had said.
Sinister sprouts some more of his cold wisdom, saying that to kill what you love most, that is strength; that is will-power. Mikhail ignores him and notices a pendant that Larisa is wearing. His great-grandmother always wore it. He removes it from around her neck and holds it up to Sinister. He calls him a fool for believing that Elena killed Ivan. There were two pendants. Sinister replies that her brother also wore one. What of it?
Mikhail remembers peering in through the window one midsummer’s day when he was a young boy. His great-grandmother, Elena, was on her deathbed. A man came to see her and Mikhail was curious, so he watched them through an open window. It struck him how much the man resembled her. As they spoke, the man’s shirt fell open and Mikhail saw the pendant around his neck.
“A pendant identical to this!” Mikhail feels that his great-grandmother didn’t kill her brother. The blood on her clothes must have come from a pig, or perhaps even herself. She was a strong woman, and capable of spilling her own blood to fool Sinister. Sinister replies that this is of no consequence. “No consequence!” cries Mikhail. He reminds Sinister that Elena was the first of Rasputin’s lovers. She worshipped him, but she let his murderer go. She couldn’t kill her own brother.
Sinister is disappointed and walks away. He suggests that Mikhail bury the corpse, or leave it for the wolves. Mikhail begins to questions Sinister’s grip on humanity. He knows he lost it a long time ago, but he reckons that Sinister thinks it makes him strong, whereas Mikhail knows it to be his weakness. He asks what he will do in this brave new world under Apocalypse. Did he never have family or friends or anyone who loved him? Sinister doesn’t respond to the question, but replies that they have no choice. They have a destiny to fulfill. Mikhail says he has a choice.
(in another dimension)
Colossus is smashing his way through the never-ending rock, determined that he will not die there. Before long, he drops to his knees and places his head in his hands. Suddenly, he hears Mikhail’s voice above him and, in a scene reminiscent of his youth, Mikhail reaches his hand out to him, and asks if he thought he would leave his little brother all alone in the dark. Piotr’s face light up and he gives his brother a hug.
They sit down facing each other, and Mikhail explains that Sinister has the power to influence minds. He believes his judgment has been clouded since Sinister found him three months ago. Being separated for that short time broke his hold on him and allowed him to think clearly. Piotr asks if he believes his story. “Is Grigory Rasputin present in our minds?” Mikhail fears the answer is yes. However, he thinks they can fight it with willpower. As long as they both stay alive, there is hope. He grabs Piotr’s hand, and teleports them back to Siberia.
As they appear in the snow-covered valley, they see Mister Sinister running away down the hill. Piotr asks to be taken down there. Mikhail transports them both into Sinister’s path, and Mikhail asks Sinister if he’s going somewhere. He’s finally realized why he was so desperate to resurrect Rasputin. It’s because he’s losing his powers. He should have been able to alter his features, but instead he used a mask. He can barely teleport, which is why Sinister needed him to travel more than the shortest of distances. All he could do was murder ordinary harmless human beings like Larisa.
Sinister looks up at him and replies that he’s wrong. He still has enough power to deal with him. He blasts Mikhail, who falls, but Colossus retaliates by smashing Sinister in the face, leaving an arc of blood trailing through the air. Sinister crashes against a tree, and Mikhail calls for his brother to kill him. He owes it to Larisa. Piotr replies that he knows what he owes her. He will never kill in anger again.
Sinister stands up and tells Piotr that Mikhail was right; he is weak, but he will recover. When he does, he’ll make him regret not finishing him when he had the chance. As Sinister teleports away, Piotr is already beginning to regret it. He questions himself as to whether he did the right thing. He knows Sinister will keep coming until one of them is dead. Mikhail thinks not. He informs Piotr that he’s going into the dark zone. Piotr places his hands on his brother’s shoulders and says he can’t.
Mikhail tells him that it’s the only way. The legends say that, once inside, you can never return, but you will never die. It’s the doorway to eternal life. This means that Piotr will be safe. Sinister cannot kill him. If he does, then Rasputin will be resurrected in Mikhail, wandering the dark zone for all eternity.
Piotr says he won’t let his brother do this, but Mikhail asks him not to torment himself. He would have done this anyway. With or without Rasputin’s life force, there is one thing that is beyond doubt. “I am insane. It’s a terrible thing to know that you are mad.”
Mikhail creates a portal to a world known as Kaplan. It’s a world with a single life-form, which lives only a few minutes before it burns itself out. But, for that short time it is very beautiful. He tells Larisa she will never be forgotten and wishes his brother farewell. He also asks him to have lots of children. They’ll be strong like he is and, with every generation thereafter, the curse of Rasputin will grow weaker. Then, perhaps, he concludes, some day he can be at peace.
Time has no meaning here. Mikhail has no way of knowing how long he stands on the edge of the void. The voice in his head whispers, begs and cajoles him with empty promises. When he finally steps from the rock he was standing on, the voice screams with rage, and Mikhail laughs.
(later, at the Xavier Institute)
Kitty Pryde welcomes Piotr back to the Institute, but he doesn’t respond to her welcome. She asks what happened to him, but Piotr replies that he can’t tell her right now. He excuses himself and walks solemnly to his room. He removes the sheet from the grotesque painting he did before venturing to Siberia, and takes out the pendant. Alone, he silently thinks about everything that’s happened, and considers what the future holds.