AN: Shorter chap, sorry about that, but things are coming to a head and there shouldn't be too many more chapters to go. I said I was going to finish this story and by god, I am!
Warning: This chapter features char death/suicide and if you are at all sensitive to the subject, please feel free to skip.
Copyright disclaimer, yadda yadda, I don't own any of this crap.
O o o o o o o O
"How's the headache?" Jean was trying to be friendly to the former mutant in the car with her.
"Terrible," Wanda grumbled in reply. She was leaning her head back against the headrest of Jean's SUV. They were on their way to New York City, to the Museum of Natural History, where the device was currently being held.
Jean glanced over at the blonde girl, concerned. "Try to get some sleep, we're going to be driving for a while anyway."
Wanda nodded and closed her eyes, letting the sounds and gentle motion of the car on the freeway lull her to sleep.
O o o o o o o o o O
Wanda woke up, feeling disoriented. "Are we there yet?" she mumbled to Jean Grey.
"Yes, I'm so sorry! We're going to be dead meat if we don't haul ass to practice." Jean spoke hurriedly as she reached in the back of the car for a bag.
"What?" Wanda frowned and looked around, realizing with a sinking sensation that they were back at school.
Jean laughed lightly, "I'm not sure what possessed me to go on a road trip before cheerleading practice. Go get your stuff, I'll tell Tiffany you'll be right behind me." And with that, Jean sprinted off towards the gym at school.
Wanda was about ready to cry. "Fuck."
O o o o o o o o o o o O
Marie loitered outside the nursing home for a while, lacking the strength to go back in and see if Logan was ok, or if he had succumbed to the aging process that finally had caught up with him. When she didn't see an ambulance or hearse pulling up, she decided that maybe the best thing was to go on a walk and try and clear her mind.
The guilt was weighing on her more and more heavily with every passing moment. She wasn't sure where she would go, but ended up heading back towards the school. Maybe she could check in on Jean and Wanda.
The ambulance she had been waiting to arrive at the nursing home was instead at the school, along with a large collection of students, all whispering and looking shocked.
Marie went up to a cluster on the edge of the crowd, "What happened?"
One of the stoner dudes she approached answered with a guffaw, "Ultimate irony man. A cheerleader committed suicide!" He and his friends snickered at the thought.
But the former mutant Marie was absolutely horrified. "How can you laugh at something like that?" She pushed past the group and moved further in, wanting to check and see if Jean was alright. They may not be friends in this world, but she was still a teammate. 'Well, she was a teammate,' Marie thought with guilt.
Jean was up by the ambulance, with several uniformed men around her. Some were EMTs, checking on her and covering her with a blanket, others were police officers asking her questions. Marie froze when she heard Jean speak.
"I just can't believe Wanda would do something like this! This is crazy!" Jean cried in between sobs.
Marie's expression became even more stricken and her stomach dropped to her knees. Wanda killed herself? This was getting out of hand!
One of the officers noted Marie's expression and walked over to her. "Did you know Wanda, Miss?"
Marie quickly thought of a lie – there was no way anyone would buy that they were friends. "I was tutoring her in French." She could at least speak French if pressed. "What happened?" Tears slipped from her eyes, looking to the officer and hoping against hope that whatever he says, it will not lay blame at her feet.
The cop put a hand on her shoulder, comfortingly. "Did you talk to her recently? Was there anything bothering her that you knew of?" Marie shook her head mutely, not able to tell the truth on that issue.
"The only message she left was, 'I will not fade away'. Does that mean anything to you?" He watched Marie's expression carefully, looking for signs of recognition.
Marie was saved by the gym doors opening and a stretcher being wheeled out, a body hidden under the white sheet. She promptly threw up on the shoes of the police officer. The cop sighed and motioned for an EMT to come over and help her.
"I don't need anything. I just…She is … under there." Marie stammered, hoping to cover the fact that she knew exactly what Wanda's message meant and why she was responsible for the death.
The officer nodded sympathetically, putting his hand on her shoulder again. "Do you need a ride home?" She shook her head, giving him her name and address before backing away and fleeing the scene.
Too many people had died, really died. She needed to make this right. Now she just had to figure out how.