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
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
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
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.
"God...it'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
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