Okay everyone, no surprises this time. This is the last chapter. The end. There's no more. Please reserve your tears and standing ovations for the end of the performance. And, I would appreciate it if all roses were de-thorned before they were tossed at my feet. It's so sad it's finally over. I've spent so much time and effort trying to make good fan fic, and I hope I succeeded in giving you all some worth wile enjoyment. A lot of you have asked about a sequel, and truth be told, I don't have one in the works yet… maybe… after a nice, long, break. With Evo being cancelled and all, it's hard to get a base to start writing on… but I guess I'll just have to write my own episodes. Thank you so much for all your wonderful reviews!! It's always the highlight of my day to find new fan letters in my inbox, and the encouragement means so much to me!! Thank you all for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
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"Everyone, dinner is served." The professor called out to his students, and faculty, and their families and guests from the large banquet style dining room as he sat at the head of the long table. Cecelia and Hank took their seats to Xavier's right side after having set the table. Within thirty seconds, everyone bursted into the room and fought over which seat to sit in. By the time all was said and done, on Xavier's right was Cecelia, Hank, Toad, Amanda, then an extra chair Torpid had pulled up the table for herself, Kurt, Lance, Kitty, Peter, Peter's mother, Peter's father, Pyro and Wanda. To the professor's left were two empty seats, then Alex, Brian, Betsy, Warren, Remy, Rogue, Logan, Evan, Storm, Blob and Pietro. Sitting at the opposite end of the table from Xavier, between his two children, was Magneto. "Happy Thanksgiving, everyone." He professor finally quieted them all.
"Forgive me, sir, for speaking out of turn…"
"Mother! Shhh!!" Peter cut off the elder woman.
"No, Peter, it's quite alright." Xavier stopped him. "But to be perfectly honest, Mrs. Rasputin, I don't think anyone here ever speaks in turn." Mrs. Rasputin smiled, then continued.
"I'm not sure I understand the meaning of Thanksgiving." She asked politely while Peter sighed with embarrassment.
"It's a good question, Peter." The professor reassured him. "Especially for someone who's not from America. Do you know the meaning of Thanksgiving?" He asked Peter. Peter just hung his head and shook it, embarrassed at his own ignorance. "Would anyone like to explain the meaning of Thanksgiving to the any family members we have here who are not from the United States?" For along time, no one wanted to answer for fear of standing out or giving the wrong answer.
"In 1623, puritans, a religious minority in England--" Hank started. Betsy and Brian looked at each other and smiled at their own historical participation in the holiday.
"Hank," The professor interrupted him. "This is not the time for a history lesson. Perhaps just the symbolic meaning would suffice?"
"Oh, right." Hank smiled. "Well, the purpose of Thanksgiving is to take time out of your year to think of things you are gracious for, family in particular. Hence, we have the large dinner to celebrate and enjoy a meal with everyone we love." He explained. His story made everyone smile.
"Perhaps we should go around the table and say what we're thankful for this year." The professor suggested. "Cecelia, not to single you out, but why don't you start?" Everyone looked at her, making her blush.
"Hmmm… what I'm thankful for…" Cecelia thought aloud. "Well, I'm thankful for being able to be myself, and being where I truly belong." She smiled and looked up, waiting for a reaction.
"Here! Here!" Storm shouted as she raised her glass of water and soon, everyone else joined in the chorus line.
"Hank, you're up next." The professor said once everyone settled down.
"Well, I'm glad, first of all, that everyone is conscious." He started, sending a chuckle down the table. "I'm thankful for the end of the legacy virus… and for the hope that Carol finds what she's looking for." No one knew what to say in response, but Cecelia took his big, blue, furry hand in her own and gave him a comforting smile.
"Amanda, how about--" The professor began to move on.
"Hey! No one wants to now what I'm thankful for?" Toad interrupted after having been skipped over.
"Sorry, Mr. Tolensky, how silly of me." The professor excused himself. "Please, continue."
"Okay… okay…" Toad thought quickly. "I'm thankful for… Wanda!" He shouted. Everyone grumbled and rolled their eyes at him. Wanda just blushed.
"I'm thankful for Kurt." Amanda interrupted, shortly and sweetly. "And I'm NOT thankful for Torpid--" Amanda was cut off when Torpid reached her hand out to touch Amanda and Amanda ended up leaning back into Toad's lap to evade her. Kurt grabbed Torpid's arm and took the shock that was meant for Amanda, leaving him frozen in place over Torpid. "Oh, Kurt!" Amanda swooned over his chivalry. Kurt just mumbled behind stone solid lips. Torpid giggled again, pleased with where she'd left Kurt.
"We'll move on to Lance." The professor kept things going with a smile.
"Well… I guess I'm thankful for learning from mistakes… even if they aren't mine." He started. Kitty took his hand in her lap and with his free hand he raised his glass of soda and continued. "To the first international branch of the Xavier Institute, so another scared and lonely kid doesn't make the wrong choices. To the X-Corp in Australia!" Everyone else raised their glass and cheered in agreement. Kitty was happy for Lance, but not as happy as everyone else as she clutched his hand. When things settled down, Lance looked over to her. "Alright, Kitty, it's your turn." It took her a moment to think.
"Well, I'm thankful for… all my friends." Kitty said, smiling at Kurt even though he couldn't turn to smile back, and then at Rogue. "I'm also thankful for old enemies turned new allies." She said, giving a smile to Lance at one side, then to Peter at the other.
"You're next, Peter." Xavier said.
"I am grateful for my family." Peter began. "To be doing good and making them proud…" Then he paused and looked down at the pristine plate on the table in front of him. "And for having been able to say goodbye." His words made his mother burst into tears. Kitty took his hand under the table with her free one, letting him know he wasn't alone, while Peter's mother cried on his shoulder.
"Oh, Piotr, we are so thankful for our son who has always made us proud." Mrs. Rasputin said through her own tears. "And we are thankful for you." She said as she pointed at Cecelia. "And you." Pointing to Hank. "And you." She pointed over her husband's lap on her other side at Pyro. They were all afraid at first. Her hysterical tone made them fear they'd done something wrong despite the context of her statements. "You all fought and gave so much of yourselves to make sure no one else suffered like our daughter. For that, I am so thankful." Mr. Rasputin pulled her over to cry on his shoulder to not be a burden on his obedient son.
"We thank you all." Mr. Rasputin spoke for the first time and tried to comfort his wife. Everyone was solemn and tried not feel sorry for the Rasputins.
"Pyro, perhaps you'd like to continue." The professor left them to comfort each other and distract everyone else.
"Uhh… alright…" Pyro mumbled. "I dunno how you follow an act like that one…" He put his hand on the table and fumbled with his silverware. "Alright… I'm thankful for… my beautiful bird." He said as he looked to his side at Wanda.
"Yeah, yeah." Toad mocked him.
"Hey, listen, frog face, if you get to be thankful for her, so do I!" Pyro shouted across the table, standing up to defend himself, after one snide comment too many.
"Gentlemen--" The professor tried to diffuse the situation.
"Pyro!" Wanda shouted. "Lay off the Toad." Pyro looked down at her and sat back down in his chair. Toad made a whipping noise to mock Wanda's control over him. Pyro prepared to stand up again, the flames of the candle sticks on the table flaring up with his emotions, when Wanda grabbed his arm. "He's just jealous, leave him alone." Pyro smiled at Wanda and proceeded to ignore Toad. "Okay, well I'm thankful for--" Wanda started.
"Hey, wait a second, sheila." Pyro interrupted her. "You don't think you're all I'm thankful for, do ya?" Wanda rolled her eyes and signaled for him to continue. "I'm also thankful for…" He paused for a second as he looked down at one end of the table toward Magneto, and then over at Xavier on the other. "For choosin' the right side." There was a moment of silence as one half of the table smiled, and the other sighed.
"For even havin' the choice." Remy added as he raised his glass and toasted him. Wanda then smiled over at Pyro.
"Okay, now it's my turn." Wanda said, taking the floor. "I'm thankful for knowing the truth." She said as she glared at her father. "And for the opportunity to finally decide what's right for me." Everyone smiled again, happy for her.
"Alright, Alex, you're up." The professor moved on to the other side of the table.
"Okay… I would be thankful to be here with my bro… but… uh… he seems to be spending it more with his girlfriend…" Alex trailed off.
"Hmmm… I wonder why Jean and Scott have chosen to forego such a feast…" The professor announced sarcastically. "Is that all, Alex?"
"I'm also thankful for my mom and dad." Alex shrugged his shoulders, stating what he thought to be a cliché. "And, for always having somewhere to go if I need it."
"Thank you, Alex." Xavier said. "Mr. Braddock, we are all happy to have you here. Do you have anything you'd like to add?"
"Well, I'm thankful for silly Americans who create holidays just for eating a meal… with your family." Brian replied as he looked to Betsy at his side.
"Me too." Betsy said in a transition to her piece. "And for having taken a step back so that maybe I can take two steps forward." She tried hard not to look up at anyone, feeling their stares tinged with pity, so she just turned her bowed head toward Warren. Warren just glared at her and cleared his throat. "Oh, right, and for my Angel." She said, making everyone chuckle.
"I'm thankful to have somewhere to go while my parents are in Paris." Warren continued, satisfied with Betsy's response. "And for all of you who pulled me back to Earth when I couldn't do it myself… and for Betsy." Warren smiled, making her blush.
"Alright, my turn." Remy said. "I'm thankful to be here where I can learn all the things I was s'posed to, but never did. I'm thankful for honesty… forgiveness… and f'r havin' no debts hangin' over my head." He paused and looked down at his clean plate. "And for Rogue."
"Ah'm thankful for you too, Remy." Rogue began. "And Ah'm thankful for this." She cautiously picked up his fingerlessly gloved hand out of his lap, and brushed his bare knuckles across her cheek. She lost herself in the feeling, and Remy wasn't about to take it away from her, until she got a spark. She dropped his hand and saw everyone around the table still staring at her. "Oh, yeah." She blushed and thought quickly. "And Ah'm also thankful for all 'a y'all." Her quick thinking began to take on a life of its own. "Ah mean, Ah never had a family like this before. Here, Ah have fathers and mothers, and sisters… and brothers… And though Ah don't say it enough… it means the world t'me." Everyone stopped to ponder the meaning of her words. Kurt was still frozen over Torpid, but he finally managed to roll his head around.
"Here! Here!" Kurt said, looking at his glass of water, yet, unable to raise it.
"Here! Here!" Everyone followed his lead. When they all quieted down, Remy helped move things along.
"What about you, M'sieu Logan, what're you thankful for?" Remy smiled, happy to see Logan squirm under the interrogation lamp. Logan slid down slightly in his chair and grumbled as the focus was squarely on him.
"Let's just say I'm thankful, and leave it at that." Logan said, bursting Remy's bubble to hear Logan gush about how much he truly loved them all. "Your turn, porcupine." Logan quickly tossed away the spotlight.
"Uh… okay… let's see… I'm thankful for breathing…" Evan said, putting a hand up on the bandages around his chest, just for those who weren't sure what he meant. "I'm also thankful for my Auntie O--"
"To Ororo!" Hank interrupted him, the entire table erupting in another chorus line, making Storm blush.
"And I'm so thankful to have a place where I truly belong. Even if I'm never around, don't think that I don't put to good use all that I learned here and what this place has shown me. I know that it didn't seem like that when I was here, but after having been on the other side… I'm so thankful." Evan finished.
"I'm thankful to have my nephew here, safe and sound." Storm started. "As well as all of you. The X-Men are my life, and to lose any one of you… I'm just thankful that I haven't."
"To good health." Cecelia added calmly from her place and raising her glass of wine. Everyone raised their glasses too, half the children finishing them off after so many toasts.
"Mr. Dukes, have you anything you're thankful for?" Xavier asked, nearing the end of the table.
"Uh, yeah." Blob answered dimly. ""I'm thankful for all this food; let's eat!" He shouted, beginning to dig into the steaming dish in front of him. The students all laughed and followed his lead.
"Just a second!" Pietro yelled, making everyone stop. "Believe it or not, I am thankful for stuff." He announced, causing some of the students to giggle a little.
"Let's hurry it up, Speedy." Wanda mocked him. He gave her a dirty look then took a second to formulate his words.
"I'm thankful for my sister, and that she's finally found some peace." He said, making Kitty and Amanda awe over his sensitivity. "And for second chances… to make things the way they were meant to be." He said, looking to his father. There was a moment of silence before Kurt interrupted, Torpid's paralysis having worn off enough for him to sit straight up in his seat.
"I'm thankful for food too!" Kurt said. "Now let's eat!"
"Wait!!" Kitty shouted before anyone could get started. "We're still not finished." She said. "What're you thankful for, professor?" Everyone looked toward the end of the table at Xavier, making him smile.
"Why, I'm thankful for all of you, of course." He started. "You all give me purpose and hope. I'm so proud to have devoted my life to people as unique and talented and intelligent as each and every one of you. I'm thankful for all that has happened in the past and what we may learn from it, as well as the future, and whatever it may hold." Then he raised his glass and glared at Magnus at the other end of the table. "And for taking the time to set aside our differences."
"For embracing them." Magnus added simply before he sipped his wine in toast.
"Alright then." The professor said. "Now, let's eat!"
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"Jean, where are we going?" Scott asked as she dragged him through the woods around the mansion.
"Away." She answered without looking back at him. Her hair had the faintest glow as it reflected the last slivers of sunset in the late fall evening. The cool cloud of their breaths that was best seen at night was nearly completely visible as they weaved through brush and trees to get to their destination.. Finally Jean stopped to let him rest as they reached a clearing.
"Here?" He asked as he panted for air. "Why did we come here?" He growled when he saw the lake.
"We have unfinished business." Jean replied as she slowly walked over to the dock.
"What are you talking about?" Scott said, having to take off his sunglasses to wipe the sweat from his brow. "That water has to be two degrees!"
"Not for long." She said, raising her hands a slight bit higher than her shoulders. Her eyes glowed orange and white while a fire burned within her. . A rush of air blew her hair about as well as the fallen leaves on the banks of the lake. The winds blew not across the surface of the water, but from it. She rotated every single water molecule, faster and faster, heating the lake like a microwave with her advanced telekinesis. The gale turned from a frigid cold to the temperature of a tepid bath. She let the water rest and proceeded to take off her shoes and rolled up her jeans.
"Uh, Jean?" Scott said, stepping up beside her. Instead of explaining, she started to untie Scott's shoes for him. "What are you doing?"
"Taking a break." She said, sitting down on the edge of the dock and dipping her feet in the warm water.
"Aren't you hungry?" He posed while continuing to take off his shoes and socks.
"A little." She answered, shrugging her shoulders. "There'll be plenty of leftovers." She patted the space beside her, beckoning him to sit next to her.
"With Kurt and Blob?" He asked jokingly.
"I'm sure." She smiled as he dipped his feet in along with her. Scott just stared at her as she closed her eyes to take in a deep breath. The blue twilight sky glowed off her fair skin. "It's beautiful, isn't it?" She said, startling him out of his reverie. He just smiled and nodded at her. "It's so quiet." She said.
"I'm so thankful you're back." He said.
"I'm thankful to be back." Jean replied. "Back home… and in my own skin…with you." She smiled at him and he smiled back, leaving a moment of comfortable silence. She looked up at him and curled her fingers, pulling his glasses off his face and holding back his eye beams at the same time. Being alone and outside, he allowed himself to trust her completely, and he plucked his shades out of the air and put them in his pocket. She put a hand on his shoulder, straightening a wrinkle on his dark blue sweater. He put his palm on her face and she shut her eyes as she nestled it. He shut his eyes, feeling her let go of her control over his powers to fully devote her attention to him while he leaned in closer to her. For the first time since they met, their lips touched in complete, undisturbed quiet. Even after they finished their kiss, they lingered close together, hoping to hold on to the feeling. Jean took back control of his optic blasts and they both opened their eyes. Scott took her hand and just watched the steam rising off the surface of the lake while Jean rested her head on his shoulder and joined him in his gaze.
And there they sat, together, picking up right where they left off before they were so rudely interrupted.
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Aro – Sequel?... I dunno, like I said… No sneaky surprises this time, delivered as advertised. I'm so glad you liked this chapter, and I hope you liked the whole thing!! Thank you so much for all of your kind reviews!!
Caliente – I'm glad you liked all the resolution… and the saying is true, all good things must come to an end… :*( Another person who doesn't like Lancitty!! I thought I was the only one on the whole planet!! And the Mikhail thing… I just wanted to give some resolution to the massacre. In the comics none really talked about Mikhail much since he was so powerful and insane… so I'm going to leave it at that. Well, I'm glad you liked the last chapter, and I hope you like this one just as much!! Thank you so much for your reviews!!
SassyGrl024 – I'm glad you liked the romy, there's some in this one too, and I hope you like it as well! I'm so glad you liked my story, and like I said at the top, I dunno yet. You'll just have to keep me on watch… Anyhoosle, I hope you like this chapter as well, and thank you so much for your reviews!!
Sophie (Lady Farevay) – I'm soooo sorry for being evil… can you ever forgive me?? I'm so glad you liked my adaptation of Psylocke… I wonder sometimes if she's not a bit too Mary Sue-ish… oh well, too late for changes now… and of course, Amanda is always a doll, no matter how weird she is! I'm happy you enjoyed the romy, I hope there's enough in this chappy for ya! Okay.. uhh… I don't have any other stuff right now… but watch out for it in the future, you never know. OOoohh!! I know what I could do for my next piece, the Sophie (Lady Farevay) Dictionary. I'll miss that!!! Don't ever think your reviews are crappy, because no matter how sarcastic or rambley they may be, they always make me smile!! Thank you so much!!
SickmindedSucker – I hope this is a big bang like you were expecting! And if you're crying yet, please pass the tissues… :*( Thank you so much for your encouraging reviews!! They make me so happy!!
RogueFan – I'm so excited you like my fic, and thank you so much for your compliments! Yes, I was indeed talking about Polaris, and I'm happy you like my adaptations. I'm glad I could clear up some things for you, even if it is with my own spin (at least, that's why I think Evan wouldn't come back…) Thank you so much for your reviews, and the jury is still out on the sequel idea…
MidniteAngelGoth – Goodness you're high maintenance!! ;-P I'm sorry I couldn't add in too much more Romy, you'll just have to go back and read the fluffiest of chapters!! Although, there is a little bit of Romy in this chappie too. I'm so happy you like my fic, it means so much to me!! Thank you so much for your review!!
Ishandahlaf – I'm so happy you enjoyed all the bonding in the previous chapter!! I hope there's enough of EVERYTHING in this one to satiate you!! I doubt the end could leave as big a gaping hole in YOUR life as it does in mine!! I guess I'll just have to the void and free time by reading your fics and writing lots of wonderful reviews!! Once again, thank you SO much for all your compliments and encouragement, it means SO much to me!!
evanescence kicks ass – I bet you didn't see X-Corp coming, now did you?? I'm sorry to have made you wait, and I hope it was worth it. Thank you so much for all your reviews (Even if there has been a gaping hole in my heart where your kinds words belong… ;-P) I hope you love this chapter as much as all the rest!!
Aimbtj – Well, I hope that answered all your Jott filled questions!! I'm so glad I could cater to you just for this last chapter!! I'm so glad you've enjoyed my fic, and thank you so much for all of you wonderful reviews!!
ASGT and Kat Maximoff – Oh, is that what the meaning of life is?? I'm so glad you like my fic, and read it all the way through, despite how it sometimes gets long winded. (I always thought it got kinda lengthy at some points too.) I hope you liked the rest of the story, and thanks for your review!!
Roguewanderer – You're a Brit eh? Well, I hope I have done the Brits justice! I'm glad you like all my couples, and don't cry too much at the end… it'll make me cry too… :*( I'm so glad you like my fic!! Check at the top for the explanation of anything to follow… Thank you so much for you reviews, and I'll be waiting for an even longer, loverly-er one!! Thank you so much!!
And all you people who STILL have me on your watch list, but have NEVER reviewed – This is your last chance!! Even if you don't review, I hope you all enjoyed the story, and keep reading for when I write more!! Thanks so much for the ego boost of seeing I'm on the author watch list of over 20 people!!