Here it is. The final chapter of the story. Here, all things weird and wonderful are resolved...hopefully to everyone's satisfaction. I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to review from the bottom of my heart! Your reviews brightened my days like nothing else! I'm utterly thrilled you enjoyed my story so much, and I eagerly look forward to posting more of my work here in the near future!

And now, without further ado, here's:

Chapter Seventeen

"Welcome to Roma's Starlight Citadel," Horatio said grandly as he led Kurt and the trailing teenagers into a large room with many windows. "This is where I leave you. There's been some trouble brewing on Earth 616 and your little temporal crisis requires me to fill out a great deal of annoying paperwork." He tipped his hat slightly, then opened another portal with his umbrella, this one leading to a very cluttered office. "Good day," he said curtly, then he vanished into the portal with a crackling SHAZZP.

Still blinking the spots from their eyes in the aftermath of the bright flash which marked the portal's disappearance, the bewildered X-Men took the opportunity to look around.

"Cool chess set, man!" Evan grinned, crossing the room to peer at the elaborately carved glass figures. "Woah," he said, "this one looks just like you, Kurt! And this one looks almost like Kitty, only a little older!"

"Let me see!" Kitty said, rushing over to him and reaching out to touch the figure that resembled her.

"Erm...Katzchen, I don't think you should touch that," Kurt warned. "It looks like there is already a game in progress, and it would probably not be a very good idea to annoy anyone while we're here."

Kitty and Evan nodded, but although they clasped their hands behind their backs they continued with their eager examination of the chess set.

"So, what do we do now?" Jean asked. "Just wait here until someone comes to get us?"

Kurt shrugged. "I suppose," he said. "Herr Cringebottom's instructions were rather vague on that point."

"He didn't give any," Scott pointed out.

"Precisely," Kurt nodded. Then, he tilted his head, his pointed ears pricking as he heard the faint sound of running footsteps heading towards them.

"I think we're about to have some company," he observed, turning in the direction the pattering sounds were coming from.

Kurt's golden eyes widened and his face broke into a huge, delighted grin when he caught sight of just who the newcomers were. Rushing to the doorway, he dropped to one knee and spread his arms wide. His children rushed into them for a joyful hug. Twining their tails together, they smothered each other's faces with happy kisses, all four of them talking at once in their relief to be together again. Scott, Jean, Kitty, Rogue, and Evan watched the happy reunion in something akin to shock.

"Are those..." Kitty started.

"Umm hmm," Jean affirmed, her own face glowing in a reflection of their happiness.

"Wow," Evan said, not quite sure what to think. "I They even have tails!"

"And English accents," Kitty observed curiously.

Evan shook his blonde head. "This is too weird, man. The K-Man's!"

His shielded eyes fixed on the giggling group on the floor, Scott slowly risked putting a hand on Jean's shoulder, his heart warming when she didn't shrug him away. Rogue just stared at the scene before her, her expression unreadable behind her thick make-up.

Halfway across the room, Kurt was laughing brightly as he affectionately ruffled his children's hair with his hands and his tail. "Miss me?" he asked, grinning so broadly it was almost painful.

"Did we ever!" Marti exclaimed, hugging him tighter.

"That other Kurt is really smart and nice and everything," Suzie said, more reserved than her sister, "but he's not you."

Edmund sniffled against Kurt's shoulder, clinging to his father with his long tail wrapped tightly around his lean, muscular arm. "I was so scared, Daddy," he said, his gray eyes blurred with tears. "I didn't know if you'd come back!"

Kurt brushed his son's black hair from his sky-blue forehead with a gentle hand, then he squeezed all three of them to him, rocking them slowly back and forth in his arms. "I didn't know either, meine tapferen Kinder," he admitted, his eyes stinging slightly as he slowly released them, looking into each of their faces in turn.

"So," he smiled. "Tell me everything. What happened while I was away?"

All three children started talking at once, their words tumbling over each other in their rush to explain the whole, crazy day.

"When you disappeared we were so scared---"

"...Mummy screamed so loud...!"

"...then Mum went into a trance and Auntie Jean had to snap her out of it..."

"...and when I teleported to the roof this boy was there..."

"...Marti said it was you, but when he woke up everyone said he was really sixteen..."

" they put the ceremony on hold, if you can believe it. The President even agreed to come back tomorrow once Uncle Logan explained things..."

"...he made us sit at the Kids' Table! Marti was all upset because she couldn't sit with Samuel."

"I was not!"

"...and Suzie got mad at me and I had to sit next to Kurt so she wouldn't pull my tail..."

"...and then Kurt realized I must have been seeing the magnetic disturbance that had knocked him off course..."

"...and we teleported right into the meeting! Uncle Scott looked so mad, but he actually let us stay..."

"...this big warrior guy with swords. He looked almost like a cat, but with purple fur, and he had this little robot with him..."

"...just before they broke contact, Rachel seemed to glow, almost as though she was on fire..."

"...then these two men appeared out of nowhere and actually arrested Kylun, with handcuffs and everything..."

"...and so we ended up here," Marti finished with a grin.

"My word!" Kurt exclaimed, his grin broader than ever. "It seems you three had quite an adventure! As for me, all I got to do was go to a high school dance and fly to Montana to blow up Magneto's magnetic Cerebro."

Marti grinned brightly, displaying her pointed teeth. "Just another day for an X-Man, right, Dad?"

"You should know," he grinned back. "You've had such a day yourself!"

Gently breaking free of the collection of colorful tails that had somehow managed to twine themselves about his waist, Kurt rose gracefully to his feet and looked around. "So," he said, "you're here, but where is everyone else?"

It was obvious to his children that when he said 'everyone else' he meant 'Alice'.

"Mum's just down the hall," Marti told him. "Do you want me to go get her?"

"Why didn't she come with you?" he asked curiously.

"She's with that other Kurt," Suzie explained. "He's still unconscious from when Rachel projected him into the past."

"And, she doesn't know you're here yet," Marti added. "We only came because I thought I heard your voice." She grinned. "Turns out, I was right."

Kurt smiled, then his face grew concerned. "How is Rachel?" he asked. "Using her powers in that way must have been a terrible strain."

"She's fine," Suzie said. "She's worried about Kurt, though."

"What's wrong with Kurt?" Scott spoke up, crossing the room to enter their conversation. "What did she say happened?"

The three Wagner children stared to see the teenaged X-Men standing around them, looking beyond their father for the first time since entering the room.

"Auntie Jean says he's fine," Suzie assured Cyclops, struggling not to give in to a sudden urge to laugh at the familiar way the boy's lips tightened at the edges. "He just has to wake up on his own."

"Can we, like, see him?" Kitty asked.

Suzie smirked at her, recognizing her at once as a very young version of her Auntie Kitty.

"Like, sure," she answered. Kitty blinked, then scowled, recognizing the friendly teasing for what it was but deeply annoyed just the same.

"Then let's go," Scott said, already heading down the corridor. Marti rushed to take the lead.

"They're all in here," she said, gesturing to a large door with her tail. "It's a little smaller than that other room, but it has a big sofa where we could put Kurt."

Kurt didn't even wait for his daughter to finish her sentence. He opened the door and rushed into the room, ignoring the startled exclamations his sudden appearance caused as he headed straight for Alice.

The moment she saw him, Alice jumped up from the sofa where she had been sitting beside the unconscious young Kurt. The two fell wordlessly into each other's arms, laughing as they tried to kiss without slackening their broad, joyful grins. Tears welled up in Alice's dark eyes and she flinched, reaching up to wipe them away.

Kurt shook his head as he caught her hand. "Nein, meine Liebe," he said softly, using his own fuzzy finger to gently dry her eyes. "Allow me. Let's see if I can do something about that pesky gnat." Alice laughed, a happy, half-sob of a sound, as she wrapped her arms around his neck, nuzzling her face into his shoulder.

"I was so worried, love," she confessed, her voice low and hoarse. "I didn't know if I would ever see you again!"

Kurt smiled and stroked her hair, sliding a thick finger under her chin to raise her shining eyes to his own. "All the time I was trapped in the past," he told her sincerely, "all I could think of was you."

Alice grinned. "You have a very rare and special gift, my love," she said, her eyes sparkling with amusement and affection.

"What gift is that, Liebchen," he asked her with an affectionate smile of his own.

She reached up to smooth his wavy hair, favoring him with a mischievous wink. "You can make even the corniest lines devastatingly romantic."

Chuckling softly, Kurt used his tail to pull her close, leaning forward until their lips met in a tender, passionate kiss.

Kurt chose that moment to open his eyes, his slightly blurred vision clearing just as the two adults melted into their shared embrace.

"See!" the teenager exclaimed, startling everyone as he sat up, a brilliant grin splitting his fuzzy face. "It's just like I'm always telling you! Chicks dig the fuzzy dude, ja?"

Kurt's eyes shot open. Reluctantly, he broke the kiss to stare at his younger self, an incredulous smile growing on his face.

"Mein Gott," he grinned, shaking his head. "I really did talk like that!"

Kurt narrowed his eyes, confused. "Like what?" he asked.

Kurt pinched the bridge of his nose, struggling not to blush as the crowded room exploded with laughter. "Never mind," he said.

With amused, though sympathetic, eyes, Alice took her husband's hand and nestled comfortably into his arms. "Relax, love," she smiled up at him, leaning her head back against his shoulder. "He is right, after all."

"When do we get to go home?" Edmund piped up, tugging on his Uncle Scott's hand with his tail. Scott turned from his conversation with his younger self to peer down at the boy through his visor.

"According to Horatio Cringebottom," he said, "as soon as the timeline's straightened out."

"What will happen to Kylun and Magneto?" Rachel asked from her position on the arm of the sofa.

"I'm afraid I don't know that, honey," her father told her apologetically.

Scott and Jean both came to the same realization at the same moment. Their mouths agape, the two teenagers turned to stare at their future daughter, both blushing beet red and completely unable to meet each other's eyes.

"Oh, for goodness sakes," Rachel sighed, rolling her eyes at their discomfort. "You both knew it was going to happen sooner or later. Why don't you just accept that you're crazy about each other and make it easy on yourselves?"

"She's a telepath!" Scott gasped, his face breaking into a very goofy smile. Jean tilted her head, regarding Scott in a thoughtful, appraising manner.

"Oh well," she said at last, just as Scott was starting to fidget under her intense gaze. "I suppose I could do worse."

"Hey!" Scott sputtered, blushing furiously.

Scott and Jean Summers looked at each other, then burst out laughing.

"It's not funny!" Scott protested.

"Dude," Evan said, "yes it is."

Scott turned to him, but instantly forgot what he was going to say when he caught sight of the tall, bone-plated man behind him.

"My God," he gasped, rather tactlessly Evan thought. "What happened to you, man?"

"Secondary mutation," the older Evan explained, almost as used to such reactions as Kurt by that time. He shrugged. "It's not so bad, really."

"Easy for you to say," the teenaged Evan muttered under his breath, still recovering from his own initial shock.

"I really like your hair," Kitty told the adult Rogue. "When did you decide to, like, let it grow out?"

"Why does it even matter?" the younger Rogue interrupted snippily before her older self could answer. "What ah want to know is when will someone come to explain just what the heck is goin' on here! Ah don't know about the rest of you, but ah'm with blue boy junior over there," she gestured to Edmund. "Ah'm sick to death of all this sci-fi time-warp stuff and ah want to go home."

"Hear hear!" Bobby cheered from the back.

"Well then," a cultured, feminine voice sounded from the doorway. "It seems as though I've arrived just in time."

All the X-Men, past and future, turned at once to face the newcomer. She was a tall, striking brunette. With her rounded face and smooth skin, she seemed surprisingly young, but her eyes were deep and ancient. She strode into the room, elegant and graceful, her long, white robes just brushing the ground as she moved. Her dark hair was pulled back in a high ponytail which somehow made her seem younger and yet, at the same time, even more regal.

"I am Roma," she said, "the Supreme Omniversal Guardian and currently regent of Otherworld in my father's stead. I bid you all welcome to my Starlight Citadel, X-Men of Earth 723."

Rogue flushed under her pale make-up, embarrassed that the ruler of this dimension had overheard her frustrated outburst.

"Um, ah didn't mean that," she blurted out, unknowingly cutting off Cyclops just as he was opening his mouth to speak. "What ah said before."

Roma smiled kindly. "You wouldn't have said it if you didn't mean it," she pointed out. "And I just happen to be of the same opinion. The sooner you are all returned to your rightful times, the better. Unfortunately, due to the effects of the temporal anomaly caused by Kylun's irresponsible tampering with past events, all will not be as it was."

Kurt stiffened, his eyes instantly darting to each of his children as his tail tightened around his wife's waist.

"What do you mean by that?" he asked, his words coming out more sharply than he'd intended.

Roma turned to him with deep, compassionate eyes. "Do not fear, Herr Wagner," she assured him with a soft smile, "your family will remain unchanged."

Kurt closed his eyes, his relief almost too powerful for him to bear. "Gott sei Dank!" he said weakly. Alice squeezed the spade of his tail as he released a trembling sigh.

"The changes have been made by necessity to prevent the creation of a repeating causality loop," Roma explained. "Great care has been taken to ensure we altered the turning point that would give the most significant results while also doing the least amount of damage to the overall essence of what makes Earth 723 a unique dimension."

"And which turning point did you choose?" the adult Scott inquired.

"Since this entire situation hinged on the activation of Magneto's machine, we thought it best to retain the damage done to it by Mystique," Roma said simply.

"Was?" both Kurts chorused, rising to their feet in wide-eyed surprise.

"When did Mystique have a chance to damage Magneto's machine?" the older Kurt asked. "She wasn't even there!"

"In every dimension in which she exists, your mother is a very sneaky woman, Kurt Wagner," Roma said with a small smile. "However, it is a very rare thing for her allow herself to be influenced by her heart." Her smile broadened. "That drink you bought her must have gone to her head." She winked at him, her eyes twinkling.

Kurt blinked, amazed and deeply touched to learn he had actually reached his mother. "So," he chuckled softly. "Mystique is the one who saves the world this time around."

Roma nodded, but only slightly. "But she will need prompting by you before she will take any action against Magneto's plans," she told him. "However, since I cannot allow the future to influence the past as it did initially, this is the point where events have been slightly manipulated. Now, the young Kurt Wagner will make contact with his mother at the school dance. Once she destroys the wiring--very crafty how she did it, disconnecting a seemingly random group of non-essential systems rather than attacking the core program. Even Bert was hard-pressed to spot the damage--Magneto will believe his design is faulty and ultimately move on to another project. The N'Zann will never learn of Earth's existence, Kylun will never initiate his portal, and life will go on as it should."

"What about WWIII?" Evan asked, his voice tight with hope. "Will that be averted as well?"

"WWIII!" his younger manifestation exclaimed.

Roma quieted him with a look, then sighed, lowering her eyes slightly. "Do you remember what Kurt told you, Scott, when you asked him to reveal what he knew of the future?" she asked.

Scott strained his memory, straightening once he recalled the right one. "He said some lessons can only be learned through experience, or something like that," the teenager recited.

Roma nodded. "And so it must be. As devastating as the war was, in your dimension humanity did actually learn from the experience."

"And the Professor?" the older Cyclops asked with some difficulty.

"Another important turning point that should remain untouched, I'm afraid," Roma told him.

Cyclops nodded, squeezing his wife's hand as she rested it on his shoulder.

"Now then," Roma said, her voice suddenly bright and businesslike. "It is time to open the portals that will return you to your homes."

The ruler of Otherworld waited patiently for the reactions of the X-Men to die down before she continued. "Know this, though. The moment you step through the portal, all memory of this place and of the events leading to your arrival here will be erased from your minds. You will each be returned to the moment when you first felt the effects of Kylun's meddling. It will be as if no time had passed."

"We understand," Cyclops assured her, with a glance at his wife. "And we thank you for all you have done."

"I have done no more than my duty demands," Roma told him. Then she smiled. "But you are welcome just the same."

"Um," Rachel spoke up, "if you don't mind my asking, what will happen to Kylun and Magneto? And where did the Wolverine from the past go?"

Roma turned to face her. Rachel met her eyes, unabashed.

"Those are reasonable questions all," the young girl was told. "Kylun is presently in custody and awaiting trial for his crime. I expect a light sentence, however, considering the desperate circumstances that led to his unauthorized tampering.

"Magneto, too, is in custody but since he could not have known the ultimate effects of activating his machine, he cannot be held responsible for the results of his actions--this time anyway. He will be returned to his proper place in the timeline just as you will. As for the Wolverine..."

Here, Roma turned to stare directly at Logan, who was seated next to Kurt and Alice with Edmund perched on his broad shoulders. "...He is in a stasis cell, as is Victor Creed. We thought it would be best to keep them separated while they are here, considering the fact that they were both lost in a mindless rage when they first arrived."

Logan glowered at her. "Well, whadda ya expect?" he snapped, glaring down the amused snorts and snickers that broke out among his gathered friends. "Put me in the same breathing space with that stinkin' bag of..." Nightcrawler nudged him and his dark muttering trailed off as he remembered just how many children were present.

Roma tilted her head as though listening for some sound they could not hear or would not recognize if they did.

"The portals are ready," she told them, sweeping gracefully from the room. "If you would please follow me, it is time for this adventure to finally come to an end."

"About time, too," Bobby muttered, earning a friendly nudge from the young Rogue. The older Rogue seemed rather embarrassed at the way the two seemed to have bonded so quickly.

Kurt jumped off the sofa, trailed closely by Edmund and Rachel, but Nightcrawler had to tap Marti and Samuel on the shoulder to snap them back to reality.

"We're leaving now," he told his blinking daughter with a small smile, watching with amusement as the two teens suddenly realized the room was nearly empty.

"Yikes!" Marti exclaimed, grabbing Samuel's hand and rushing with him to the door with a quick, "Thanks Dad!"

Kurt sighed and shook his head, an unexpected wave of sadness passing over him suddenly. With a firm lash of his tail, he shook it off, then he strode down the corridor, following the others back to the large room with many windows.


"....and that chess set involves the Excalibur from Earth 616. Now, if you don't want an interdimensional incident on your hands, I suggest you step away."

Kurt almost chuckled to see the abashed looks on the faces of Evan, Kitty, and his younger self as they slowly backed away from the table.

"I warned you," the younger Scott smirked.

Roma looked at him, then turned to indicate two glowing portals right where windows should have been, as well as two matching footstools to allow easy access for the shorter members of the group.

"Due to the unidirectional nature of Earth 723's timeline, you will go first," Roma announced, pointing out the teenaged X-Men. "And have no fear," she assured them. "Your Wolverine will be returned to you shortly. Please come forward."

Scott gestured to his friends and the group from the past stepped up to the portal on the left.

"I would give you some parting words of wisdom," Roma said, "but you would forget them before you took two steps into your own dimension. So, I won't. Good-bye, and don't do anything that will cause you to end up here again."

The teens nodded, then slowly, and with some trepidation, they began to file through the portal.

As the line shortened, Kurt turned to Kitty, who was standing just behind him at the very end of the line.

"You go first, Katzchen," he told her, suddenly seeming rather agitated. "There's something I've got to do before I leave."

Kitty looked confused. "But, Kurt--"

"It won't take long, I promise," he assured her quickly, breaking from the queue and teleporting directly to where his future family was standing. Smiling up at the older Kurt, he took Alice by the hand.

"My future self is a very lucky man," he told the rather surprised Alice with deep sincerity. "I never dreamed I would ever have such a wonderful, loving family. I never even dared to wish for it. But seeing you, and meeting Marti and Suzie and Edmund...all of you are my deepest, most secret dream come true. I...I just wanted to tell you that before I left. I wanted you to know, before I forgot about...everything."

Acting purely on impulse, Alice reached out to him and wrapped the boy in a warm embrace, planting a chaste kiss on his fuzzy forehead. Kurt leaned his head against her shoulder and wrapped his tail around her waist. He didn't know what it was, but somehow, holding her in his arms felt oddly right.

"I don't care what Roma says," Kurt told her firmly, breaking the embrace. "I will remember." He smiled. "Dark hair, sparkling eyes, and a name that starts with 'A'. I can remember that."

As Alice smiled back at him, touched by the sentiment but doubtful it would work, the older Kurt blinked with the force of a sudden, startled thought. Just when had he first met Amanda...?

A soft BAMF startled him out of his thoughts as he looked up to see his younger self waving at him from the footstool.

"Be you later, dude," Kurt grinned cheerily. "Auf Wiedersehen everyone!" With one last, parting grin Kurt stepped through the portal.

"Be you later? Ooh," Scott pretended to shudder, facing Kurt with a teasing smile. "Now that was bad."

Nightcrawler cringed with a slightly pained grimace.

"And now for the rest of you," Roma said as the left portal snapped closed in a blinding flash of light. "One at a time, please."

As the X-Men formed themselves into an organized line, Alice hugged her husband's arm.

"He kissed my hand," she said, holding her hand out for Kurt's inspection. "Did you see that?"

Kurt hadn't, but he nodded anyway. Alice giggled softly. "You were so cute at that age," she told him, a slight squeak in her voice.

"What about now?" Kurt asked, feigning hurt.

Alice grinned at him, her eyes twinkling with mischief. "Now you've graduated from cute and moved up to positively adorable."

"What about roguishly handsome?" Kurt grinned back, running a hand through his short, wavy hair as Alice gave him a playful push. "I think that describes me pretty well, nein?"

Suzie's eyes widened. "Marti," she exclaimed, nudging her sister in the ribs.

"What?" she asked, turning to face the grinning Suzie.

"Did you see that?" she giggled. "Dad did the hair thing!"

"All right, you two, that's enough," Alice said, still smiling. "You're holding up the line."

"What line?" Suzie shot back, still giggling. "You're the only ones left!"

As the children stepped through the portal, Roma shook her head at Alice and Kurt. "I'm sorry," she told them, her eyes glittering, "but you can't hold hands on this ride."

Kurt pulled away and bowed gallantly to Alice. "After you, milady," he said.

"I thank you, Herr Wagner," Alice smiled, stepping up onto the waiting footstool. "See you on the other side."

As his wife vanished from view, Kurt turned to face Roma, straightening to respectful attention.

"I know you were only doing your duty, meine Dame," he told her, "but if it hadn't been for you I don't think I ever would have seen my family again. Even if I don't remember you, I will always be grateful for what you have done for me, and my world."

He reached out to take her hand, gracing it with a gentle, courtly kiss. Then, Kurt jumped up onto the edge of the waiting portal, shooting her a playful, parting wink as he grinned, "At least you'll remember me now, nein?" His words faded as he vanished, the portal snapping closed behind him with a brilliant flash.

Looking down at her hand in surprise, a small smile crept over Roma's delicate features. "That I will, my friend," she whispered, her voice soft in the empty room. "I never forget."

"Mistress Roma?" Roma turned from the now clear window to face the slight, balding man who had spoken.


"The lawyers have arrived to discuss Kylun's trial date, and Magneto is making a royal fuss in the holding cell. He's demanding to talk with you."

"Tell him I'll be down there shortly," Roma said, her eyes narrowing as she contemplated all she planned to say to Erik Lehnsherr. "But I'll speak with the lawyers at once. Bring them here."

The pale man nodded, then scampered away. Slowly, Roma's gaze turned to the chess set, and to the figure of Nightcrawler in particular. Sighing deeply, she straightened her slightly drooping posture. She was the Supreme Omniversal Guardian Roma, daughter of Merlyn, Soverign of Otherworld, and she had a great deal of work yet to do.

The End