Death of a Dream
Chapter 17: A Time of Last Things
"How goes the battle, darlin'?" Wolverine asked
as he stepped up behind Storm and slipped his arms around
"It goes, Logan," she said with a faint smile as
she turned toward him. "How are you today, my love?"
"I think a better question is how are YOU, darlin'?"
he said, watching her wan expression with concern.
"I was just...thinking. About our lives here. We have
been so very fortunate so far. Protected from our enemies
by this psionic shield, living our lives out so complacently,
so normally as compared to the world outside. It almost does
not seem fair somehow."
"I happen to think we've earned it, 'ro. Bout time the
X-Men took a little time for themselves."
She nodded thoughtfully. Still seeming troubled. "But
is that really what we are doing, Logan, or are we just hiding
from the world?"
"You're itchin' for a fight aren't ya darlin'?"
he asked with a roguish smile.
"I...well, perhaps," she said, smiling slightly
again. "We have been inactive for so long now, so busy
training and laying strategy that we seem to have forgotten
that there are battles out there waiting to be fought."
"Darlin', we can't save the world this world by ourselves
this time. Even if we manage ta beat the Shadow King eventually,
there're a lotta pieces that need pickin' up and puttin' back
together, a lotta groups of the Brotherhood left to be fought."
"I know...I just feel so helpless, locked behind these
"Usually I'd be the one spoilin' fer a fight, but the
battle's sure to find us sooner or later, darlin', somehow
or nother. I say we should just enjoy the time we got left."
"Sometimes I wonder what I would do without you, Logan,"
she said fondly, reaching down to stroke his cheek. This man
knew her so well, touched her to the depths of her soul. He
was her lover, her soulmate, her best friend, confidant and
counsel. Between the two of them, they formed an almost prefect
union, one that she still marveled at. She truly didn't know
how she could exist without him at her side. "I fear
that when the battle does find us that we may lose each other...,"
her face saddening as she spoke.
"The thought o' losin' you tears me up inside, darlin.
I don't even like ta hear ya talk that way. But it's a fact
o' life, and that's why we should make the most of the time
we do have together', he said softly, leaning in to kiss her.
"You are right, as ever, my love," she replied,
kissing him back, holding him close for a long, lingering
moment before drawing back. She should not be dwelling on
sadness today, not while they still had time together. "And
did you have a plan for how best to spend the time today?"
she asked with a wicked grin.
"I think I just might, at that," he grinned back
and covered her lips with his own again, letting the passion
carry them where it would.
"So where're Wolvie and Storm today?" Dazzler asked
as she carried the picnic basket up the hill.
"Three guesses, Alison," Bobby replied with a chuckle,
earning him a playful smack from Angelica.
They all laughed then, and Alison paused to fully enjoy the
moment. It was such a beautiful day, one of the last the fall
would offer, she was sure. She had been so motivated by the
warm weather that she had invited the whole team out for a
picnic, ala her culinary skills. Everyone had turned out,
too; Wanda, Lasher, Bobby, Angelica, Kitty and Colossus. Everyone
except Storm and Wolverine, that was. But she was in too good
of a mood to care today. If they were having fun, wherever
they were, that was all that mattered. She reached the top
of the hill and waited for Lasher to catch up and spread out
the blanket for their meal.
As they all settled in, Bobby stopped Alison as she reached
for the food. "I'd just like to give a prayer, to say
Everyone looked at him strangely, but offered no protest.
He cleared his throat and closed his eyes, speaking in a reverent
tone. "Dear God...we have gathered here today to give
thanks for this food we are about to partake of..."
Everyone bowed their heads and closed their eyes as he began,
but Kitty shot Colossus a furtive, questioning glance as he
".... please watch over us with care..."
Now everyone was glancing at each other in surprise, and
Alison in particular seemed awed by Bobby's words.
"... and do not let us die from Alison's cooking.....Amen."
Everyone sat in startled silence for a moment, then laughter
erupted as what he had said sank in. Alison leapt from her
spot and blasted him with a playful light blast. "Gee,
thanks a lot Drake," she said dryly, though she, too,
"Oh, I see how you wanna play," Bobby shot back,
beginning to ice up. "Well, so much for lunch,"
he added with a wicked smile, pointing one icy finger at the
basket of food.
This time they didn't hesitate as all six of his teammates
leaped on him at once.
Alison looked around at the mess they had made and shook
her head. They had ended up wearing more of the food than
they had actually eaten, but that was okay, they'd all had
a great time covering Bobby head to toe in various types of
food. The gathering had broken up shortly after the food fight
ended, Colossus and Kitty slipping off into the woods and
Bobby and Angelica heading back to the mansion for showers.
Wanda and Lasher had gone down to the gardens to continue
their conversation, so that left Alison all by herself, which
was just fine with her. She had one more visit to make before
the day was out.
Rising and brushing off her legs, she headed back toward
Piotr and Kitty sat by the lakes edge, watching the sun as
it dipped low toward the horizon.
"What a beautiful day," Kitty sighed as she snuggled
closer to Piotr.
"It almost makes one forget about everything else, doesn't
it?" Piotr asked, sharing in her wonder.
"Almost," she agreed, then sighed, this time much
less happily. "I'm going to end up having to kill him,
Piotr was so taken aback by the comment that it took a moment
for him to puzzle out who she meant. "Nightcrawler? Katya...I
know he hurt you badly, but you were made for gentler things."
"I know...but if I don't do it, one of the other X-Men
will...and as close as he and I were, despite what happened
between us, I feel I have more right than anyone. I was closer
to him than anyone else..."
"And that makes you the perfect choice for his executioner?"
he asked, the disapproval obvious in his voice. "If and
when that time comes, it will not be up to you to decide.
The battle will play itself out in its own way."
She could see that he didn't understand, that he probably
never would. Despite the fact that he himself had killed before,
he, the sensitive artist with the heart of a poet, he could
not imagine her doing the same. She didn't really know why
she was dwelling on it today, anyway. This day seemed to be
made for happier things. "I suppose," she said,
her voice neutral. "I don't even know why I'm letting
it bug me today, really. We should just be enjoying the day."
"I agree," he said, smiling again. "What do
you say to a swim, Katya?"
"Nah...let's just snuggle up and be lazy for a change,"
she said, smiling.
"Alright then," he smiled back and pulled her back
into the grass with him. Side by side, they watched the sun
set as they spoke of happier times.
"Okay, Angel, your turn," Bobby said, smiling as
he emerged from the bathroom, a towel around his waist.
"Oh, I think it can wait," she replied smiling
back from her seat on his bed.
"You sure?" he asked, eyeing her.
"I'm sure," she nodded as she watched him walk
over to his bureau.
"Okay..well, um...I need to get dressed," he said
awkwardly as he pulled open the dresser drawer.
"In a minute," she interjected, motioning him over
Still feeling a bit awkward, he walked over to her and stood.
"Bobby, we've been taking this in baby steps for the
last month or more, and don't get me wrong, it's been very
nice. All the talking, all the quiet walks, the snuggling.
But I think it's time we took another step forward,"
she said, her eyes sparkling with just a bit of mischief as
she looked at him.
He gulped. "Um...okay...," he tried desperately
to figure out what she meant. He didn't want to say the wrong
thing, or misinterpret what she had said. What exactly DID
she mean? "If you're sure," he added, stalling for
She smiled then and yanked the towel from his waist, pulling
him down onto the bed with her. "I've never been more
Wanda and Lasher sat in the gardens, never with a shortage
of things to talk about. Wanda was grateful for his companionship,
what with all the couples that lived in the mansion. She didn't
feel anything more toward him than sisterly love, but that
was enough for her, and for him, apparently. In this short
time, they'd come to be the best of friends and shared more
with each other than she ever had with anyone, except for
Vision, perhaps. She watched the sun dip below the horizon
and smiled, listening to him speak.
"Hey there, lover," Dazzler said softly as she
kneeled before Longshot's grave. Gently, she brushed her hand
across the gravestone, wiping the dust from his name. "We
had a really great day today...the kind of day you would have
loved. Beautiful weather, the best of friends, and nothing
but fun. I could almost imagine you there." She smiled
and closed her eyes, the vision of his face just behind them.
"Things haven't been easy these last two and half years,
and the worst is yet to come I'm sure, but we're doing pretty
darn good. I just wish you were here to share it all with
me...I hope, wherever you are, that you're as happy as I was
She laid the rose at the base of the headstone and sat in
silence for a long moment, remembering their times together.
"I miss you, Longshot," she whispered and touched
the gravestone one last time before rising and walking back
to the mansion.
Gambit hurried to Rogue's room as fast as he could without
running. When she'd contacted him over his com, she'd sounded
extremely upset. He keyed in the security code to her door
quickly and was inside before it had even opened all the way.
"What is it, chere?" he asked, panting only slightly
She turned to look at him and her eyes were haunted. "Word
just came down from Psylocke...we leave for the Morlock tunnels
Gambit felt his heart stutter in his chest as the blood drained
from his face, staring at her in shocked silence.
Continued in Chapter
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