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"Death of a Dream"

Death of a Dream

Chapter 1: Homecoming
Chapter 2: Old Ghosts
Chapter 3: Strange Bedfellows
Chapter 4: Melancholy Memories
Chapter 5: Of Love and Betrayal
Chapter 6: Innocence Lost
Chapter 7: Of Friendship and Discovery
Chapter 8: First Blood
Chapter 9: Cast Out
Chapter 10: Revelations
Chapter 11: Of Love and Hope
Chapter 12: Stolen Lives
Chapter 13: Bad Dreams
Chapter 14: The Ties that Bind
Chapter 15: A Hero's Life
Chapter 16: Old Wounds
Chapter 17: A Time of Last Things
Chapter 18: The Final Countdown
Chapter 19: Battlezone
Chapter 20: Zero Hour
Chapter 21: A Glimmer of Hope

The sequel to this story is "The Resurrection Gauntlet."

Death of a Dream


They stood atop the hill, all of them gathered tightly around the fresh graves of the dead.

"And so at last, all of the X-Men have returned home," Storm said quietly as she threw a handful of dirt into each of the graves. Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Firestar, Havok, all were to be buried here, in the place that was their home once.

Kitty stood next to Piotr, gripping his arm tightly as the tears flowed freely down her face, and Logan stood on her other side, one hand on her shoulder, his own visage grim. Gambit, Rogue and Magneto all stood a bit further back, behind all of the remaining X-Men. The Morlocks were not present this morning, but they were not forgotten as the ceremony came to a close.

Bobby stood gripping his elbows tightly against his body, the tears in his eyes held back by sheer force of will. He already missed Angelica more than he had ever thought possible. Even the deaths of the original X-Men hadn't hit him this hard. He supposed he should be grateful that the casualties had been so low on their side, but somehow, that was cold comfort.

Alison's voice rang high and clear above the cool morning air, bringing goose bumps to his skin.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound..."

The tears began to break free as she continued her song.

Magneto clasped Storms hand warmly and smiled, just slightly, as he bid her goodbye.

"Are you sure you will not stay, Magnus? We could certainly use the help, what with all of the factions of the Brotherhood still left behind."

He slowly shook his head. "I cannot, Ororo. But rest assured that I will be following my own agenda to help right the world, albeit apart from the team."

She nodded, knowing that Magnus would never be comfortable here with Charles' ghost hanging over him, but was disappointed nonetheless. They certainly could have used him, and she had always valued and respected Magnus' opinions when he had been part of the team before.

With nothing left to say to him, she turned then to Gambit and Rogue, who also stood by the door. "And what of you two? You, above all, have proved that you deserve a place among us through your actions in the final battle, despite the past."

Rogue glanced uncertainly to Gambit, who cocked his head just slightly, as if to say it mattered not to him. She returned her gaze to Storm, looking a bit uncomfortable. "That may be true, but Ah don't feel as if Ah'm worthy of it. There's too much blood on mah hands...too many bad memories here," she said with a furtive glance around the mansion. "Ah may deserve it, but it would never feel right." Like they say, she thought wryly to herself, you can never go home again.

Again, Storm nodded, understanding completely. In truth, she would have felt awkward having Rogue stay here, despite the fact that she had proved herself an ally. But if Rogue went, so did Gambit, and he at least, she would miss. "So what will you do now?"

Rogue glanced at Gambit again, her smile finally appearing. But instead of answering, she looked instead to Magnus, as if asking for his approval.

He cleared his throat and spoke up "They will be going with me. For though I do not belong among the X-Men now, there is much work to be done in putting this world back together. I go forth to gather mutants from all over the world to build a new team, Rogue and Gambit being the first of those."

"Add one more to that list," came a voice from behind the group.

Storm turned, looking surprised as she recognized Robert's voice. "Robert, you would leave as well?"

"Too many ghosts here for me stay, right now, Ororo." He smiled faintly and hugged her tight, much to her surprise and chagrin. But after a moment, she relented to the embrace and hugged him back warmly. "We shall miss you," she whispered close to his ear.

"We would be glad to have you, Robert," Magnus agreed, his blue-gray eyes seeming to brighten.

"Great...someone else who calls me Robert," Bobby muttered under his breath, just a hint of his normal grin returning.

Storm smiled and tried not to sigh. There would be others to replace those they had lost, and if Magnus was going to be about the world, she had little doubt that he would be instrumental in keeping things under control. "Well, the world shall have need of us all, wherever we may be. I have heard that Sebastian Shaw has re-released the Sentinels upon humanity and mutant alike."

Magnus set his jaw grimly, blue-gray eyes going cold and hard. "Then I know what my first mission shall be."

"Ours, as well," Storm nodded in agreement. "Charles would be so very happy, if he were here today, Magnus." She smiled and met his eyes warmly. "Wherever we go, whatever we do, we shall always be X-Men at heart. I wish you the best of luck."

Magnus lowered his face slightly from hers, the mention of Charles bringing back too many painful memories. "I wish he were here," he said quietly, thinking to himself that he would have liked to have made final peace with his old friend. Then he shook off the melancholy feeling, and met Storms gaze again. "Thank you, Ororo. The best to you, as well. We shall see each other again."

And then, there was nothing left to say except goodbye.

Kitty watched them go from her bedroom window, mixed emotions swirling through her. She was terribly saddened by the events of the last two days...and yet, for the first time since that horrible night over two years ago, she could sleep in peace. A faint, sad smile playing about her lips, she tore her gaze away from those who were departing and moved toward the bed where Piotr lay resting, recovering from his wounds.

She watched him lovingly for a long moment, and then crawled into bed next to him, kissing him gently on the cheek.

"So what do ya think, darlin'?" Wolverine asked as Storm returned from seeing off their friends.

She smiled wryly and went to him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. "I think, for the first time, that we might actually be alright."

He smiled back and leaned in to kiss her.

Rogue squeezed Gambits hand as they flew over New York, courtesy of Magneto's magnetic bubble.

"'s just horrible," she gasped, looking at the extent of the damage to the city streets below. "How can anyone survive down there?"

Gambit followed her gaze with his own, taking in the dilapidated and ruined buildings, the rubble, the piles of bodies below in one sweeping glance. "De same way we will, chere," he replied confidently, giving a small wink as he squeezed her hand back.

She smiled slowly and leaned against him, tearing her eyes from the ruined cityscape below and looking to the skies instead. Dawn was just beginning to break, and the sky glowed with a faint pink tinge to the east. It was a beautiful morning, the perfect day for a new beginning she thought. One hand slipped to her belly, and her smile grew as she felt the stirring of the lives inside her respond. If there is any chance for this world, it lies with you two.

Gambit moved behind her and wrapped his arms around her, watching the coming dawn over her shoulder, neither of them saying a word. There were no words necessary in truth, she knew what the feeling they shared right now was...something she had never truly thought she would feel again. Hope.


The story continues in "The Resurrection Gauntlet."


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