Death of a Dream
Chapter 2: Old Ghosts
Kitty was fuming as she paced back and forth through the
living room of the mansion. Turning her angry gaze upon Storm
and purposely ignoring the source of all her rage, she finally
found her voice. "What do you mean he's going to be staying
in the mansion?" she demanded, pointing an accusatory
finger at Gambit without turning.
"Exactly what I said, Kitty. Gambit will be staying
with us. We need all the help we can--"
"Help? Like the Morlocks needed his help?", she
fairly spat, her anger burning high. "Like Piotr and
I needed his help? We nearly DIED because of this man!"
"I have not forgotten", Storm responded stonily.
"None of us will ever forget the horrors which occurred
in the tunnels that day. You, Colossus and Nightcrawler all
nearly died as a result of his actions. But now is not the
time to dredge up past sins. What we are facing today demands
that we all stick together."
"I...", her rage seemed to drain at the mention
of Nightcrawler. She had lost a lot of friends in her time,
buried most of them...but Nightcrawler. Nightcrawler hurt
the worst. "What are you saying?", she asked in
an exasperated tone, flopping down on the couch. "That
we should just forgive and forget and let him fight by our
side without even proving himself first? Why? So he can stick
the knife in our back that much more easily?"
"What she's saying, darlin'", came a gravelly voice
from the doorway, "is that if the Devil himself showed
up on our doorstep askin' to fight with us, we'd take him
"Logan?" Kitty cried in disbelief. "You're
in on this too?"
"Desperate times, darlin', desperate measures."
He shrugged lightly and leaned against the doorjamb, regarding
her almost casually.
"Katya," Colossus finally spoke up, his voice prodding
and gentle. "Perhaps we should-"
"Oh, Piotr, you too?" she asked in a resigned tone.
"Fine." She leaped from the couch and began stalking
toward the doorway. "If you all say he's part of the
team, he's part of the team. But I don't have to be happy
about it." And with that, she pushed past Logan from
A moment of silence ensued, and then Gambit spoke up, clearing
his throat nervously. "Dat girl quite a spitfire, no?"
"Da", agreed Colossus, watching Kitty's exit from
the room with something like pride.
The silence stretched wide again, each X-Man looking from
one to the other, none knowing quite what to say.
"Well", said Colossus a bit awkwardly, rising from
his seat. "I should go talk to her. Excuse me, my friends."
"I'm thinkin' you got your work cut out for you, Petey",
said Logan with a slight smile, moving aside and giving the
massive man room to move through the doorway.
"Da", muttered Colossus, wincing at the sudden
crashing sound from Kitty's computer room before hurrying
out and up the stairs.
"So....", Logan offered, finally stepping into
the room and taking a seat near Storm. "I see we're all
gettin' along just wonderfully. One big happy family, huh,
All eyes turned on Gambit at Logan's words, making the thief
squirm uncomfortably in his seat. Seeing that they expected
an answer, he fidgeted for a moment before finally sighing
and muttering to himself "Gonna be a long night...."
Kitty sighed as she walked through the graveyard, wondering
what twisted impulse had guided her here. Things were bad
enough without reliving the past again. Still, it seemed whenever
she was upset, her inner ghosts guided her here, perhaps to
provide perspective. Illyana had been the first to be buried
here, a victim of Stryfe's Legacy Virus. Just a child...it
hadn't seemed fair for her best friend to die in such a way,
life slowly seeping from her as she lay in bed, rather than
dying in the battlefield where she had spent so many years
of her life. But at least now she had plenty of company.
Forge had been the first to die, set-up by his sometime lover,
Mystique. One of the first to be possessed by the Shadow King,
he had used her to kill Forge and then destroy his base of
operations, taking all of the technology that might have helped
the X-Men with it. Forge had been instrumental in their defeat
of the Shadow King on Muir Isle, and the monster had seen
to it that that would not happen again. The Professor had
been next. Stripped of all his mental abilities during the
Onslaught battle, he could do nothing against the Shadow King.
He had died in the battlefield, killed by several of his own
students. Jean had been next. Taking the Professor's place
as most powerful telepath, she had tried to confront the Shadow
King on the Astral Plane and lost. Her brain dispersed into
so many atoms, her body had followed shortly after. The deaths
had come quickly after that...the Shadow King had grown much
more powerful during his reign on the Astral plane, and became
even more so when he chose Magneto as his host, forming his
nexus of passage to this world through Magneto's body. Jubilee,
completely possessed by the Shadow King, had been slain by
her father figure, Wolverine...Angel was slain by his own
lover, Psylocke when she gave herself to the Shadow King willingly....Havok,
possessed also, had taken out his fair share of mutants all
on his own with his deadly plasma blasts: Beast, Maggott,
Cannonball, and most of X-Force before Cyclops took him down.
He should have killed him after all the deaths he had caused,
but he couldn't bring himself to kill his own brother. His
mistake. Generation X had been possessed by the Shadow King
almost to the man, except for M, who might have defeated him
in the end if not for the Psionic wave he had unleashed upon
the world. Using his considerable power, the Shadow King had
drawn forth all of the energy from Astral Plane and unleashed
it upon the world in a concentrated blast, killing every telepath
around the world. The blast of Psionic energy was unexpected,
they were unprepared, and it blew their brains to atoms. X-Man,
Cable, Franklin Richards, anyone with any telepathic ability
was destroyed, ensuring the Shadow King's victory. With no
one left to stand against him on the Astral Plane and his
vessel of Magneto unable to be harmed by the X-Men's combined
efforts, the Shadow King stood victorious.
But it hadn't ended there. The Fantastic Four, the Avengers,
every superhero group in existence had rallied against the
Shadow King and joined the battle. By that time, even more
mutants had succumbed to the Shadow Kings influence, and much
of the human populace as well. Outnumbered, many of them died
as well, either mindwiped by the Shadow King or killed by
their former friends. That was their downfall...they had been
unable to accept the fact that their friends were completely
subverted by the Shadow King and refused to kill them. Their
adversaries had shown no such mercy. Joined by Apocalypse
and many of the other villains, the Shadow King's armies were
almost unstoppable. That was when Cyclops had decided that
the time had passed to remain passive...fueled by Jean's death,
his bloodthirst had grown, and he had led the team down a
path Charles Xavier would never have dared to imagine...
Kitty shivered despite the warm air, remembering it all,
eyes reading the name on every grave, though she had memorized
them all long ago. Things looked no better for either mutants
or humanity now than they had then.
"Katya? I thought I might find you here..." it
was Piotr, walking down the hill toward the graves to join
She shook her head and blinked back the tears which she could
still cry, even after all this time. "I still can't believe
it, Piotr. Even after the last two years, everything that's
happened, I still can't believe that we've come to this."
He moved up behind her, placing his hands on her shoulders
and leaning her back against him. "This is not about
Gambit, is it?", he asked gently, knowing her so well
after all this time that there was no need for the question,
save giving her the opportunity to talk about her grief.
"It's what he represents", she sighed. "The
betrayals over the years have hurt even more than the deaths.
Psylocke, Havok, Ni--", she broke off, her voice becoming
a faint whisper, "Kurt..."
"I know, Katya", he soothed, taking her into his
embrace. "I know."
They stood in silence then, each contemplating the past,
wondering if there would ever be hope for the future.
Continued in Chapter
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