Well, this story has finally been finished, and I am happy. There will be a sequel coming out soon, X-Men: Rise of the Past. I hope you all enjoyed this story as much as I did! The song to listen to at the end is Happiness by The Fray, which fits with the feelings felt by some of the characters at the end of the last two chapters. So anyway, have a nice day, see you soon with the sequel, and God bless!

Chapter 19: The Morning After

Kitty heard voices all around her. She wondered what was going on. She remembered parts of the night before, and they were things she wasn't wishing to remember, in all honesty. Her thoughts, though severely exhausted, flicked back to the beating she'd taken from Rogue. She still did not blame Rogue for anything, however.

She was surprised at how energetic her brain seemed despite the exhaustion. Kitty opened her eyes, and she found Alison in front of her, smiling. "Good morning," she greeted. "I'm glad you're awake."

"Where am I?" Kitty asked, her throat sore and her voice hoarse. "Where are we?"

"At the hospital nearest to the Mansion," Alison explained. "We came here right after everything happened. There's a lot going on right now. Professor Xavier has been able to silence all the parents about the school's explosion by using his telepathy, with help from Jean, the other woman, another Mutant, named Emma Frost. She's really nice, though she revealed she gave information to Stryker, something she hates."

"Where's Rogue?" she asked.

"She's probably outside, along with Bobby and Piotr," Alison said. "Do you want me to go and get them?"

"There's no need," came Bobby's voice. "It's good to see that you're awake again, Kitty. How do you feel?"

"Tired, but nothing hurts," Kitty replied. "Wait, you mentioned the parents. Does that mean my parents, too?"

"Yes," came Piotr's voice. "Professor X is feeding them lies through his telepathy, so they believe you were hurt while playing outside, and the school infirmary couldn't heal your wounds. It's fine though, Katya. Everything will be all right, beautiful."

He entered her point of view and smiled brightly at her. Kitty smiled back. She loved seeing him there. It made her day, though she believed seeing Rogue would help even more. She tried looking around, but she couldn't find her. She wondered why.

"Where's Rogue?" she asked again.

"She had to go to the bathroom," Bobby said. "She'll probably be back real soon, though, I'm sure. So there's no pain at all in your body? That's pretty good, after what happened."

Kitty turned her gaze from Bobby. She tried to think it all through, all that had happened. It's not Rogue's fault, she thought. It's Stryker's fault. I don't know what's happened to that piece of crap, but I want him to get his comeuppance for what he did to us. Rogue's going through a lot now thanks to him, and my injuries don't help her get her mind off that.

She looked outside the room, and she saw Rogue walking by. "Rogue?" she asked. Rogue turned to look at her. "Are you okay, Rogue?"

Rogue hesitantly entered the room. "I think I'll be all right for now," she replied. "What about you?"

"I'm good for now," Kitty said. "I'm surrounded by the greatest friends in the world, and in my opinion, that's all that matters." A thought crossed her mind. "What happened to Stryker after…he shot me?"

Alison handed her a newspaper. Kitty's eyes ran over the main headline, which read, WILLIAM STRYKER ARRESTED FOR KIDNAPPING AND TORTURE OF CHILDREN. Kitty looked to Alison. "How did they know about the kidnapping?"

"The Professor visited the President of the United States," she explained. "He told him all that happened, and the President fortunately believed him. So Stryker probably won't be released from prison anytime soon. That's a good thing, of course. He deserves something far worse, if you ask me."

"It's better not to wish for vengeance," Kitty told her. "Vengeance blackens the soul."

Rogue nearly smiled at this. Kitty was wise beyond her years, and she deserved to be up and walking, away from the hospital bed she lay in now. She felt tears form in her eyes as she thought of the fact it was she who had injured her little sister. But she attempted to put it all behind her so that she could remain in there.

They heard footsteps, and Logan appeared in the doorway. He smiled at all of them, but mostly at Kitty. Ever since they'd arrived at the hospital, he'd kept looking in on her, leaving the watching to the others for the time-being. He wanted her to recover quickly.

"Hi, Kitty," he greeted. "It's good to see you're awake again."

"It's good to see you, too, Logan," she said. "How's everything going with my parents?"

"Good, actually," he said. "We would have told them the truth about everything that happened, but it wouldn't have worked out, if you ask me. All that matters right now is the fact you're okay, and that the children are all okay." He looked over to Rogue. "And of course, that you're okay, Rogue. I want you all to be okay for the time-being. I know you've both gone through a lot, and I blame myself for not helping you more, but what matters is that we're back together again, and there's no reason for us to be separated. Does everyone agree with me on that notion?"

Everyone nodded, though Rogue did so more reluctantly. She still blamed herself for what she'd done. She realized she'd thought that so many times in the last few hours, and she wondered why that was. She sighed, and returned to looking at the scene in front of her.

"Do you think I'm strong enough to go out there and talk to them?" Kitty asked.

"No," Logan replied. "Not yet, at least. You'll have to wait a little before we'll let you leave this room, only because we have to be sure you're fine. Because you were shot, remember?" He spoke the last sentence in a hushed tone, looking over his shoulder, likely hoping Kitty's parents weren't there. "But you'll be out of here soon, I'm sure."

Kitty nodded. "I feel as if I need more sleep," she said. She attempted to move her right leg, and was unable to. She remembered it was the one that had been broken. She swallowed for a second, hoping Rogue hadn't realized she'd attempted to move it. Looking down, she saw her right hand was bandaged, likely from when it was stepped on.

"Well, then, we might as well let you sleep," Alison said. "It's good to know you're all right, Kitty."

Kitty nodded and smiled. She hugged Alison, Bobby, and Logan. Piotr decided he would remain with her for the time-being. Rogue wanted to hug Kitty, but she decided it was best she didn't. Her fear was too much for her to handle at the moment.

Kitty looked to Piotr, who smiled at her and held her left hand in his much larger right hand. She closed her eyes, falling asleep again almost instantly.

Meanwhile, Rogue and Logan stood outside the room. Bobby and Alison had left to get a snack. Rogue tried to think clearly about all that had happened, but she was unable to do so.

"You're not okay, are you, Rogue?" Logan asked.

"No," she replied. "Logan, I nearly killed her!"

"I know, but that wasn't your fault, remember? Stryker did that to you. You had no fault in the matter. None whatsoever. Stryker's been apprehended, and he'll be imprisoned for a very long time. There's no need for you to have any doubts, Rogue. Kitty doesn't blame you for anything that's happened. Please understand that."

"I do understand, Logan. It's just…hard. This has never happened before. I never thought something like this would ever happen. Why did it have to happen to begin with? I've been told that things happen for a reason, but this is definitely something that shouldn't have happened at all! I don't know what I'm supposed to think, Logan!"

"I understand. I've gone through something like this before, so I know how you feel. You need to keep your chin up and have faith in yourself. Kitty doesn't blame you, and that's what matters. She still believes you're her sister. She thinks nothing less of you. She trusted you enough to give her support. You just need to understand that no matter what happens, you'll always have someone by your side to support you. And that someone is Kitty. I'll support you, too, and so will Alison, and Bobby, and the others, but out of everyone, the only person that will ever place so much faith in you is Kitty."

Rogue nodded. She still had doubts, but she kept what Logan had said fresh in her mind.

Alison and Bobby returned. Behind them were a man with dark gray hair, brown eyes, and a mustache, a woman with brown hair streaked with gray and blue eyes, whom Rogue recognized as Kitty's parents. Jean, Scott, the Professor, the woman known as Emma Frost, wearing a jacket over her suggestive clothing underneath, and a young man stood there. Rogue realized the young man was Kurt, but in a human form.

"Do you know where Kitty is?" asked Kitty's mother.

"Yes," Logan answered. "But she's asleep, just so you know."

Kitty's mother and father nodded, and they followed Logan to the room. Piotr was still there. When Kitty's mother and father walked in, Xavier said, "Let me introduce Piotr Rasputin, one of the students, and Kitty's…"

"Boyfriend," finished Kitty's father. "It's very nice to meet you, Piotr."

"It is nice to meet you too, sir," Piotr said. "And you, madam."

Silence fell in the room, broken a minute later by Kitty's father. He cleared his throat and walked over to Kitty. He brushed her hair with his hand. She stirred, opened her eyes, and smiled as he came into focus. She hugged him, and then, when her mother appeared in her line of vision, she hugged her, too.

"It's time for you to go home, Kitty," Xavier told her. "Once again, I am sorry this had to happen just as the school break was coming up. I'm sure you would have had plans."

Kitty realized that was a lie he'd fed to her parents, and she decided to play along. "Yes," she said. "But it could have been worse, couldn't it?"

Xavier nodded.

Logan called for a wheelchair, and it was brought to them. He helped Kitty out of the bed and into the wheelchair. Her father got behind the wheelchair and pushed it forward.

"Your things are already in the car, Kitty," her mother told her. "You can change later on."

Kitty didn't care much about that. All her mind was on was the fact that she was going home.

When they reached the entrance of the hospital and exited, they stopped by the car in which Kitty's parents had driven up in: a 2014 Honda Civic. Kitty's parents went over to Professor X. Her father held out his hand to him.

"Thank you for all you've done, Professor," he said.

"Yes," her mother said. "Thank you for taking care of our Kitty for us."

Professor X shook his hand. "You are welcome. You can call this a month-and-a-half break. At the Xavier School, the students are allowed to stay as long as they wish, so long as the parents are fine with it, and our breaks may last longer than normal at times. This is one of those few."

Kitty's parents nodded, then opened the right back door of the car. Those present began to hug Kitty, with the exception of Professor X, Emma Frost, and Scott. First was Jean, followed by Storm, then Kurt, whom Kitty barely recognized in the new form, if it hadn't been for he sharing the same hair color and style as Nightcrawler. Logan was next.

"See you soon," he said. "Heal quickly."

Kitty hugged him tightly and said, "I'll do my best. Not everyone's like you, of course." She laughed a little.

Bobby hugged her, then came Alison.

"Hope to see you real soon," she said. "You were an amazing friend during this time. Have fun on vacation."

Kitty nodded.

Piotr was next, and he asked if he could help her into the car, which Kitty accepted. He did so, then hugged her as softly as he could. He whispered to her, "Be safe, Katya. I love you with all my heart."

He attempted to break away, but Kitty stopped him, looked at him, and kissed him full on the lips. She smiled brightly. "I'll be back soon." He nodded, and then let go.

Finally, it was Rogue's turn. She still seemed hesitant, but she decided it was best she didn't hold back. She walked forward and hugged Kitty. "I'm sorry," she whispered.

"Don't be," Kitty replied. "Everything will be all right. Remember, this isn't the end. I'll be back soon, and then the adventure will continue. This isn't the end. It's just the beginning of it all. You're still my sister, no matter what happens. Do you understand?"

Rogue nodded. She didn't smile on the outside, but Kitty knew she was on the inside. In her opinion, that was all that mattered. When it was done, Rogue turned and walked a little farther away. As her parents got into the car and closed the doors, Kitty closed hers, as well.

The car was started, and began to move away from her friends, who waved and smiled at her, which she returned. Soon enough, they were in the distance, and Kitty felt sad. She wished she didn't have to leave behind her friends. But she wouldn't be gone for long. She would be back soon, and she would see her friends again.

No, not just her friends. Kitty thought to herself, Those aren't just friends of mine. While my parents are here in this car with me, I have other members of my family out there. They're not normal. They're the X-Men. I'm one of them. I have a boyfriend on that team, a father-figure, mentors, friends, and two sisters. This isn't the end of our adventure. I'll be back soon, and everything will begin again. When something ends, that doesn't mean it's over for good. It can come back. A new start. A new beginning.