A Force Unleashed

Written by Darkstorm5000

Disclaimer: The X-Men and related characters in their various incarnations are the property of Marvel Comics and Marvel Enterprises.


Chapter 13- Things to Come

It had been almost a week since the attempted coup that had been carried out by the Sentinels, which had luckily been thwarted thanks to the combined efforts of the X-Men, the agents of SHIELD, and even a helping hand, ironically enough, lent by Magneto and his Brotherhood.

Now, the question on the public's mind was if the Sentinels couldn't be trusted to protect the general populace from those super-powered threats that ordinary law-enforcement organizations were ill-equipped to contend with, then who would take on shouldering that responsibility?

It was a question at the forefront concern amongst the world's governments, and in particular, with the United States' National Security Council. Currently, the NSC was convened in an assessment meeting with the very purpose of attempting to find an adequate solution to this matter.

"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. You can take your seats, and we can go ahead and begin." Secretary of State Genevieve Wright said, as she and the rest of the National Security Council had all gathered together inside of their secluded conference room, "First, I would like to take this moment to introduce everyone to Dr. Valerie Cooper. To those of you not familiar with her, she had previously taken on the responsibilities formerly held by the late Henry Gyrich. Dr. Cooper has now been appointed by the President to oversee the operations of Project Wideawake, and in light of recent events, to be his personal liaison and report regularly to him on super-human affairs. Which brings us to the reason for today's meeting."

"I'm surprised to hear that anyone is being assigned to Project Wideawake. Considering what the Sentinels did, I had assumed that the President would be more than eager to shut Wideawake down completely." Admiral Humphrey, a member of the Joint-Chiefs-of Staff stated.

"Not quite. He's definitely not happy in the least with what the Sentinels did, but instead of total abandonment, Wideawake will be undergoing a major and radical restructuring phase." Val Cooper replied, as the blonde new-apointee stood up from her chair, "Aside from the late Dr. Lang's private pursuance of the Sentinel initiative, Project Wideawake was originally established to study the phenomenon of super-beings and super-powered humans. The President understands now more than ever that remains an essential priority in regards to national security policy. Especially, since the number of super-people seems to be increasing daily, both through the mutant population and by other artificial means."

"Dr. Cooper is correct, we need only look at the most recent threat analyses conducted to realize just how precarious our national and the global security situation is." CIA Director Doslander added, as he turned the attention of everyone in the room to a large wall-mounted monitor that displayed various images and maps regarding the threats that they now faced, "Reports that just came across my desk this morning show that HYDRA is in the process of making one of its largest attempted power-grabs in decades, something which hasn't been seen from them since their original inception following the end of World War II. They've been very active of late in Eastern Europe, including the still unstable regions of the former Soviet Union, and around the Pacific Rim. Thanks to intelligence brought back by Captain America, we've confirmed that they're also making some major inroads into the Middle East and are trying to forge new alliances with terrorist cells operating there."

"That's just all we need after this Sentinel debacle, is for HYDRA to align themselves with one of these radical terrorist groups and pull off another 9/11-style attack against us or our allies." Secretary Wright commented.

"That scenario not withstanding, even in those areas where HYDRA has yet to infiltrate, we still have to be concerned with other rogue individuals and organizations on the move such as the Hand, Scorpio, and the Mandarin. Think about it, if HYDRA or one of these other subversive group were to raise an army of super-powered mercenaries loyal to them and to their cause of global domination, there's no telling the chaos and turmoil that they could create. Need I remind you of the fits that Lady Hydra gave SHIELD and Captain America, and she was only one super-person?"

"No, we remember all too well. We're only fortunate that Madame Hydra's top-ranking lieutenant has mysteriously been out of action for the last few years." Another member of the Joint-Chiefs, General Lazmand replied.

"I think it's time that we simply faced facts, the world that we're living in today is vastly different than it was fifty, twenty, or even ten years ago." National Security Advisor Smoudervick was the next to say, as he continued going over the threat analysis report on the large monitor before them, "In addition to old foes like HYDRA and Scorpio making a 21st century resurgence, new individual initiatives are looking to make a name for themselves as well. The threat that Werner Von Strucker's neo-fascist Death's Head movement poses, along with the general mayhem that his siblings Andrea and Andreas continually cause abroad with their own Fenris global network, are just a couple of examples of what we're facing and these're just the Strucker kids that we happen to know about."

"On the subject of super-powered people and general mayhem, despite what we've told the public, the mess that happened with General Ross and the Hulk is far from over. We can only cover up the Hulk's reported sightings in South America for so long, and it won't be too long before some conspiracy-nut starts spreading internet chatter about a new U.S. program that sent that big green monster down there to destroy the rainforests. We also need to take into account the actions of vigilantes, like this Spiderman in New York City. His battles with what the newspapers referred to as a 'Green Goblin', and with that psychotic rampage by the once esteemed Dr. Otto Octavius through the city, both caused extensive damage to the area from the ensuing carnage. Then, when you factor in other ones like this Daredevil character getting in on the act, it won't be too long before any person that can sneeze blue snot'll be in some kinda costume, and deciding to take the law into his or her own hands. Having the X-Men around, as necessary as they may be, is bad enough. But, we certainly don't need more like them springing up around the country." Homeland Security Secretary Guzman pointed out.

"Beyond these threats, we have to remember and take into account the shaky armistice agreements that NATO has with Doom in Latveria, and with Namor and his underwater armies of Atlantis, and what would happen if they ever decided to break from it." Secretary of Defense Martin said next, "But, a dictator in an iron mask and an underwater prince are nothing, when compared to what awaits us beyond the stars."

"You're referring to the extra-terrestrials, aren't you?" Dr. Cooper inquired, having been made privy to information regarding beings from other planets since her appointment.

"We've known about them for decades, and have been hiding their existence for just as long. Luckily, actual landings have been few and far in between, and those that we've encountered, like Captain Marvel, have fortunately turned out to be on our side. But, from the information that he gave to us, it's only a matter of time before this Kree-Skrull conflict that he described explodes on our very doorstep." Secretary of Defense Martin explained.

"I think what we need is a super-powered force of our own, in place as a contingency option to all of these threats." Dr. Cooper now advised the group.

"Well, what about The Fantastic Four?" Another advisor asked.

"The Fantastic Four have already stated that their services are always available to handle enemies that no one else is able to. But, Reed Richards and the rest of the FF4 have made it quite clear that they don't want to become permanently entangled in government constraints and obligations." General Lazmard told them.

"Why don't we enlist the X-Men? Considering the job that they did with the Sentinels, they seem quite capable of the task." Admiral Humphrey suggested.

"This fiasco with the Sentinels has been a public relations nightmare, and many out there in the public still think of the X-Men as nothing more than a group of mutant outlaws. What we need are people that the public can get behind so they can forget about all of this, a group of super-people that they can trust." Secretary of State Wright replied.

"Dr. Cooper just mimicked that very same sentiment, what are you getting at?" NSC member Jennings curiously inquired.

"I'm glad that you asked." Head NSC Advisor Smoudervick replied, as he turned his attention to the door of the conference room and buzzed for a special guest waiting outside to be shown in, "If you would all please welcome Tony Stark in here, we will shed more light on what we've been getting at, and what we intend to do about it."

"Mr. Stark, with your credentials and high-level security clearance, you are more than welcome to sit in with us and observe our proceedings. But, now seems like a very questionable time to do so." NSC member Jennings told him.

"I understand. No doubt, all of you have been discussing everything that happened with the Sentinels, and how to rectify this embarrassing situation. These recent events have shown the necessity for handling the new threats in the world with a vastly different approach than has been previously employed." Tony Stark began, as the wealthy, dark-haired inventor-extraordinaire and military contractor dressed in an impeccable gray business suit came in and stood at the front of the conference room, and started to address the members of the NSC, "What I have with me is a proposal, which I've already run by a few of you in here. I would like to get the rest of you on board with me, before I formally present it to President McKenna. What it entails is the creation of a new, international law enforcement and defense force."

"Is this new organization intended to replace SHIELD, and the duties that it currently performs?" Jennings questioned him.

"Not at all." Stark replied, "This new organization will be made up of a small number of individuals, an assemblage of the ultimate heroes if you will, that will be working in conjunction with SHIELD and will also operate under the auspices of the United Nation's Security Council through its own special-authorization charter."

As Stark went on to explain to them his plan to put together this new elite team, so in this time and place began the first chapter in the tale of Earth's Mightiest Heroes…


Location: Richmond, Virginia-The compound HQ of the Virginia branch of the Friends of Humanity, which now also boasts the proud distinction of serving as the campaign headquarters for Graydon Creed's U.S. Senatorial bid.

Within the FOH's expansive private compound, the Senatorial candidate himself was busy at work, planning, strategizing, and gauging public opinion along with his campaign staff and supporters. But, one supporter that had just arrived was highly dubious with his presence there, considering who he was aligned with both in the business world, and on a personal level.

"Senator Creed, I trust all is going well here." Cameron Hodge, the vice-president of Dynatech Industries, a subsidiary of Worthington Enterprises said, as he came into a large room in campaign central where numerous campaign staff and volunteers were busily making phone calls and going over the latest poll results and projections.

"Calling me Senator is a bit pre-mature, wouldn't you say?" Graydon Creed replied with a wide, self-satisfying smirk, as the brown-haired man dressed in a conservative black suit turned his seat and attention from the cable news feed on the large television in the room over to Hodge.

"Only if you're intending to lose." Hodge responded, as the blonde businessman in his early thirties and also dressed in dark-colored suit removed his glasses, and took a seat on a small sofa next to where Graydon was sitting.

Just then, Graydon Creed's campaign manager and public relations advisor came up to inform him of the latest polling news.

"Graydon, it's just as we expected. Public opinion is continuing to shift towards opposition to Mutant Registration legislation, although judging by the latest numbers, it suggests that they are still evenly split over whether mutants pose a significant threat to the general population." Duncan Matthews, who was also blonde and in his mid-to-late twenties informed them, as he had already removed his tan suit jacket and was now slightly loosening the tan and red diagonally-striped tie that he was wearing, "McKenna's lead over his opponent Governor Losberger is increasing daily now, most likely due to public sympathy over the Sentinels' taking him hostage. The latest rumor going around says that McKenna is now prepared to fully back away from, what had already been, his fairly moderate stance on mutant control legislation."

"At this rate, soon he'll be advocating an equal rights amendment for those freaks." Hodge remarked.

"I'm not concerned." Graydon simply responded to both Hodge and Matthews.

"Shouldn't you be? If the public gets behind such measures, it could spell doom for those of us that want to build a new world, safe from these mutants." Hodge told him.

"Cameron, don't worry yourself, or you'll start looking like an old man in no time." Graydon joked, as he looked directly at Hodge, "Just continue to make sure that preparations with your own private defensive force, The Right, is in order and that they're ready to take action in the event that they're needed, and leave all of the political posturing to me."

"How do you intend to counter those mutie-loving traitors like McKenna and Kelly? We have to do something, or we just might see one of those gene-jokes on a major political ticket themselves in the near future." Duncan Matthews unapologetically inquired.

"As I said before, I won't have to do anything. The public has a short memory, and the election isn't until the fall. That's months away, and a lot can happen between then and now. Just wait 'til the next time one of those muties decides to use their misbegotten powers to take their school hostage, or blows up an entire city block in the name of mutant rights, the public will be lock and step back with us. Hell, they might even beg us to bring the Sentinels back in full force to help deal with these… creatures." Graydon Creed revealed to them with a small laugh.

"Well, I'm all for doing something to get a handle on all of these mutants. I say if we can't get rid of them permanently, then we should just lock 'em all up and throw away the key." Duncan reiterated.

"Duncan, your hatred of mutants seems to go beyond just patriotic concern for the public, as though it were almost personal with you. Which, I for one can definitely relate to." Graydon said to his top P.R. man.

"Trust me, it is. Let's just say I had my eyes opened as a teen back home in Westchester. I had a run-in with a group of these freaks back there, and I saw first-hand just how dangerous they can be." Duncan revealed.

"Then, all the more reason for us to work harder, and guarantee that they no longer pose a threat to the rest of us decent and normal human beings." Graydon ominously responded, as he stood up to resolutely pat Duncan on the back, and reaffirm their mutual purpose regarding the future of mutants.


Back at Charles Xavier's School for the Gifted in Westchester, New York, now that everything had settled down in the week following the battle with the Sentinels, a number of the residents had gathered together in Professor Xavier's study in an attempt to unlock a mystery that had been baffling them for most of that previous week.

"Well, I think the answer t'be obvious t'the whole lot o' us by now." Dr. Moira MacTaggert said to the group gathered in the study, as they all stood around the Professor's large wooden desk and examined Lockheed on it, "Ye're the proud owners of a miniature, purple dragon."

"See Daddy, I told you he was a dragon, just like in the fairy-tales." Megan McCoy chimed in, as she sat in a chair towards the rear of the room, and listened to the conversation taking place between her father and the other older individuals in there.

"Yeah, 'Daddy', we told you so." Kitty Pryde humorously added, as she smiled and stood close to Dr. MacTaggert, repeating Megan's comments to Dr. Henry McCoy.

"No one is doubting the fact that our winged, reptilian friend here does indeed resemble a dragon. But, dragons are merely myth, and do not occur in nature." Hank replied.

"Then, try t'convince Lockheed here that he doesn't exist." Dr. MacTaggert sarcastically told him.

"My question is where he could have come from?" Professor Xavier wondered next from behind his desk, "The Savage Land perhaps?"

"While Pietro and I were a part of Magneto's Brotherhood, our father did have us based in the Savage Land for a brief time. But, I don't ever recall seeing anything resembling small, fire-breathing dragons while there." Wanda Maximoff-McCoy stated to them, as she stood in front of the desk next to her husband.

"Neither do I. But, the Savage Land is a vast and expansive terrain, and we were only allowed to explore and observe a small portion of it." Pietro Maximoff also revealed, as he stood by the large window close by in the room.

Pietro, Hank, Moira and Wanda were all dressed in casual clothes and jeans, and were each wearing a medium blue, light-weight windbreaker with an 'X' insignia on the shoulder that the X-Men sometimes donned, in lieu of their more formal leather uniforms.

"Although my telepathic powers still aren't completely up to par, I do sense a higher order of thinking in this creature, even to point where it is able to shield it's mind from my mental probes. What we could have here is some new form of a mutated reptile?" Professor Xavier surmised.

"Well, in our line of work and research, we of all people should be more than prepared t'stumble across a new species every now 'n again." Dr. MacTaggert responded.

"Hear that Lockheed, it sounds like you're one of a kind." Kitty said to Lockheed, who was standing on all fours on the table and was looking up at all of the individuals gathered around him, "And if Lockheed really is rare, then that means he needs to be protected. So, can we keep him here with us, PLEASE?"

With his student's request posed to him, Professor Xavier sat in his chair for a moment in silent contemplation, before finally responding to Kitty's inquiry.

"As long as you're willing to take responsibility for him, including feeding and cleaning up after him, then I have no qualms about it." Professor Xavier gave his approval, which brought a very delighted smile to Kitty's face.

"It's not as though you had much of a choice, my most compassionate mentor." Hank now said to the Professor.

"What makes you say that?" Professor Xavier asked in response.

"I doubt that there is an animal shelter capable of properly caring for Lockheed, or that would be very successful in adopting an unusual creature such as he into a home that is any better suited for him than this one. I don't think very many parents, save those already here at this school, would consider a fire-breathing dragon to be a very child-friendly pet." Hank replied with a smirk.

"Oh, Lockheed is just a big softie, aren't you fella?" Kitty said, as she picked Lockheed up from the table to cradle him in her arms while she spoke to him, "C'mon, let's go to the kitchen and find something for you to eat. Only this time, no torchin' the stuff that I pick out for you just because you don't like it."

"CanIcome, canIcome, pleeaase?" Megan excitedly asked, as the vivacious, brown-haired little girl hopped out of her seat and wanted very much to join Kitty and Lockheed on their short trip to the kitchen.

"Go ahead honey." Wanda smilingly gave her permission, as Megan immediately shot across the study to where Kitty was, and soon left the room with her and Lockheed.

"I suppose that we should also get going and finish our final preparations, all in anticipation of our departure later this evening." Hank said to Wanda, Pietro, Doctor MacTaggert, and Professor Xavier, the only individuals currently left in the study.

"I din'na know how I can ever repay ye for comin' back t'Muir Island with me and helpin' t'rebuild it. After the Sentinels ransacked the place, I'll be fortunate if I'm able to dig up halfa handful of a research staff willin' to come back there. Not that I blame them in the least." Doctor MacTaggert stated, speaking specifically to Wanda, Hank, and Pietro.

"The four of us, plus Sean and Forge, all working together should have your facility back up and running in no time." Wanda replied, "Speaking of Sean and Forge, I'm going to go see if they've finished their maintenance check on the Velocity, and if they are ready for us to start loading our things onto it."

"Not to worry, we should have everything on that craft in no time." Pietro told them.

"Thanks, in no small part, to your expeditiously accelerated abilities." Hank remarked, referring to Pietro's quick reflexes.

"You don't have to stand out there listening in, you're more than welcome to come in here and join us, Rahne." Professor Xavier abruptly voiced his out-of-the-blue invitation, as he was able to telepathically detect one of his newest students standing in the hallway right outside of his study.

"I wasn'a tryin' to eavesdrop, honest. I only came t'talk t'Miss Moira, but I did'na want t'interrupt yuir conversation, sir." Rahne Sinclaire timidly replied, as she then took a few small steps into the room, dressed in a simple melon-colored sweater and tan pants.

"Then, I think it appropriate to allow the two of you to have a moment of privacy together." Professor Xavier proposed, as he proceeded to wheel out of the room, followed by Hank, Pietro, and Wanda.

"So, what did ye want t'talk about?" Moira now asked Rahne, as the door to the study closed shut behind those exiting.

"I've been wonderin' if ye just have t' leave? Ye could stay here and do your research work." Rahne implored of her adoptive mother.

"We've been through this." Moira replied, as she put her arms in a comforting embrace around the pre-teen, and spoke in a tone that understood the reasons why Rahne was anxious about their impending separation. Moira then went to sit on a small sofa in the study, with Rahne coming and sitting down right beside her.

"Muir Island serves an important purpose in tryin' t' better understand mutant genetics. Right now my place is there, just like your place right now is here tryin' to learn how t'better control those powers of yuirs." Moira continued to explain.

"But, ye've barely come back after those Sentinels took off with ye. I know ye have important work to do back home, but I'm gonna miss ye an awful lot when ye leave." Rahne replied, as Moira looked into the young girl's bright green eyes and could tell that she was almost on the verge of tears at the thought of Moira's journey back home.

"Oh moppet, it'll be okay." Moira supportively told her, as she gently kissed Rahne on the forehead and slowly ran her fingers through the girl's short red hair, "Once things're settled on Muir, I'll be back here t'check on how ye're doin'. And, you'll be comin' there to visit me too. Ye can even bring along some of the new friends that ye've made here, includin' that blonde-haired young man I saw ye eyein' at dinner last night."

"Who, Sam? I wasn'a doin' any such thing!" Rahne bashfully protested, as she blushed a little and tried to convince Moira that her attention the prior evening was indeed elsewhere, albeit unsuccessfully.

"Okay, if ye say so." Moira smiled, as she let the subject drop and continued to hold Rahne close to her in a reassuring embrace on the sofa.

While they had been planning and discussing the future visits between them, at the moment all Rahne and Moira wanted to do was relish and enjoy every bit of the remaining time that they had together in the here and now, as they sat on the sofa in the study and continued talking.

Just as any mother and daughter would do…


Elsewhere in the mansion, Logan was currently occupied with a search of his own for another of its older residents.

"Say Ali, you haven't seen Kurt around, have you? I been lookin' for him." Logan asked Alison Blaire, as they crossed paths with one another in the first-floor corridor outside of the living room.

"Kurt's probably still in his room. He's been holed up there for most of the day." Alison replied.

"Then, I guess I'll go and see what that's all about." Logan told her, as he continued on down the hallway. He was heading towards one of the ancillary elevators that went up to the second floor of the mansion, dressed in his usual rust-colored lumberjack's shirt and blue jeans.

After the short ride, and an even shorter walk to the men's wing of the dorm area, Logan found himself standing outside of Kurt Wagner's bedroom door.

"Kurt, you in there?" Logan loudly inquired, after a few brief knocks on his door.

"Ja. It is open." Logan heard in response, as he turned the knob and opened the door.

Logan promptly entered the very dimly lit room, which had the window-blinds drawn almost completely shut. He then looked up above to see that Kurt was hanging upside with his eyes closed, wearing a black sweatshirt and pants. Logan saw that Kurt was dangling just by his tail from the jungle-gym apparatus built into the ceiling of his bedroom, which the two of them had constructed and installed up there together. It was so that Kurt could run through his acrobatic workouts whenever the urge would hit him, day or night.

"So Kurt, this supposed to be some new kind of meditational prayer method you're workin' on, what with it bein' all dark and tranquil in here? I guess it's nice to know I ain't the only one tryin' to get into that kinda stuff." Logan postured, as he closed the door and stood leaning up against a nearby wall in the shadowy room.

"Nothing as profound as that, mein freunde. I've just been in here thinking, that's all." Kurt replied, as he continued swinging upside down on the high bar by his tail, with his arms folded over in front of him.

"Well, that can't be good. Anything important?" Logan tried to humor Kurt.

"Just take a look at that stack of returned mail sitting over on the table by you." Kurt told him, as he pointed over with his eyes still closed.

Logan then turned his eyes over to the desk in the room and saw a shoe-sized box that had freshly unwrapped shipping paper next to it. Inside of the box was an ample accumulation of mail, which had all been bound together with a few rubber bands.

Due to his enhanced senses, Logan had little trouble in seeing in the dark the delivery information that had been written on the outside of the envelopes in the box, and instantly recognized Kurt's handwriting. Logan was also able to look back up and still see the barely visible Kurt hanging from above, who because of his mutant powers had the ability to cloak himself in the shadows and virtually disappear from sight.

"These're those letters you wrote to that Amanda girl." Logan said, referring to Amanda Sefton, the young woman back at the circus that Kurt felt a deep level of affection and fondness for.

Or to be more straightforward, Amanda was the girl that Kurt had been head over heels in love with for quite some time now.

"What gives, I thought you two were pretty cozy pen-pals?" Logan continued with his line of questioning.

"Pen-pals, yes. But, apparently she has decided to go with a more lucrative option in the getting pretty cozy department." Kurt responded, as he pulled another envelope out of his front pants-pocket and tossed it down to Logan, "Here."

Logan looked at the envelope in his hand, and saw that it had been addressed to Kurt from a Margali Szardos. He immediately recognized the name from the conversations that he and Kurt had about his early life, and knew that Margali was the woman that had found Kurt as a baby, and had raised him to be a performer in her traveling circus.

"You sure you want me lookin' at your personal stuff like this?" Logan inquired, as he unfolded and held the envelope in his hand.

"I would not have given an opened letter to you, if I didn't want your prying eyes to partake of it." Kurt replied, as he managed a small smile to accompany his remark from his overhead perch.

With that, Logan opened the envelope to see what was inside that had apparently made the usually jovial Kurt feel so somber and glum.

Dear Kurt,

I've been meaning to write to you for quite some time now, but I haven't been able to find the right words to say what I know I must. SO, I will just say it.

For the last year, our performances have been continually drawing smaller and smaller crowds, and a couple of months ago I had to close the circus because things had gotten so bad financially.

And before you go and start blaming yourself, don't.

I completely understand and respect why you couldn't come back to join us. It is true that there are people out there that still think of you only as the mutant that tried to kill the President of the United States, even though that Stryker man brainwashed you into doing it. They most likely don't care that the U.S. President did issue an order afterwards to have all charges against you dropped. Those anti-mutant bigots would still use any reason that they could find as an excuse to harm mutants and the people close to them. I didn't want you to put yourself in danger by venturing back into the public eye so soon afterwards, just as you said that you didn't want to put us in any danger by returning to join us.

But, one of the reasons that made this letter difficult to write is because I must inform you that Amanda left from here not too long after the circus closed, running off with Marsal for who knows where. I had been hoping to hear from her, so that I could forward your most recent letters to her. But no such luck, I haven't heard from her for weeks now. So, I am returning the last letters that you've written to Amanda, unopened. But, there is something else I feel that I must say to you.

Ever since that night when I first found you as an infant, I have raised you as my own. You are just as much a son to me, as Amanda is my daughter. Lately, I've had time to think about things while you've been gone, and to really think about you and me. I now see how wrong it was of me to exploit your appearance by having you play the role of the Devil in those circus performances. I should have taken your feelings and devout beliefs into consideration, and thought about how doing such a thing night after night would affect you. As you always liked to remind me, God made you look the way that you do for a reason, and I am certain that it wasn't just to sell out circus shows in one town after another. All I can ask is that you forgive me for whatever pain that I might have unintentionally caused you because of it, and I hope that you now find your true purpose at that school that you are living at. Perhaps, you were meant to end up there, to spread the joy and light that you naturally bring with you, because I know that you have always brightened my life with your presence.

And who knows, maybe one day I will come to visit you and see for myself just how well this new life of teaching suits you?

Love always, my little Nightcrawler,


"Wish there was somethin' I could say to make things better." Logan sympathetically said to Kurt, as folded the letter and put it back in its envelope, sitting it on the desk next to the others.

"I appreciate that. And, I do suppose it is the thought that counts." Kurt replied, as he finally opened his eyes and teleported down from the jungle-gym, reappearing right in front of Logan, "At least now I know why I haven't heard from Amanda for so long."

"Even if I don't have that much to say, if you wanna talk about things, I'm all ears, Bub." Logan told his closest friend, one of the few men that he felt truly understood some of the things that he had gone through in his own life, particularly with regards to Weapon X.

"Okay, but first I think that I will finally take you up on your offer to buy me a drink." Kurt surprisingly said to him.

"Alright, I've got a healthy stockpile of beer stashed in the fridge in my room down the hallway." Logan replied, as both of them started towards the door, "Say, from now on sittin' here with you in the dark just ain't gonna cut it. You're gonna need to invest in gettin' you some mood-lighting, or somethin' in here."

"Mood-lighting? Ha, that's what I thought I had done." Kurt smiled, as he responded to Logan's joking remark, while the two of them continued out of the dark room and into the hallway.


For Bobby Drake, life getting back to normal for him following the defeat of the Sentinels meant resuming his normal weekly routine. So, as he made his way out to and entered the school's car garage, he went over to the silver Honda Civic that he generally drove when traveling by himself, all while carrying a moderately-sized brown cardboard box with him.

But, today he wouldn't be quite as alone as he might have expected.


The startling utterance in the silent garage caught Bobby completely by surprise, as he turned back around to see none other than Rogue sitting on the front of the hood of one of the SUV's parked in there.

"Oh, hi Rogue. I didn't see you sitting there." Bobby said to her, as he walked over towards the SUV where she was, dressed in a blue and white baseball-styled jersey and a pair of denim jeans, "Um, why are you sitting there anyways?"

"Just hangin' out. Your session's today, isn't it?" Rogue inquired with a smile, as she sat with both hands behind her for support and leaned slightly back on the hood of the vehicle, crossing one leg over the other. This day, Rogue was wearing a dark-green sheer silk blouse with matching gloves, a black tank top underneath the almost see-through blouse and a pair of black jeans, and had her hair tied back into a single, long ponytail.

"Yeah, I was just on my way to see Dr. Lykos now." Bobby confirmed, referring to the weekly therapy sessions that he had been attending, while he held the taped up box with both hands.

"Good, because Ah don't want us to be late." Rogue stated, as she then slid off of the front of the SUV, with her heavy hiking boots making a noticeable thud as she landed on the garage floor.

"Us? You're gonna go there with me?" Bobby slowly questioned her, surprised by her offer.

"Ah meant what Ah said that night out at the boathouse. Even if we're not dating anymore, Ah'll always be your friend and be there for you." Rogue reiterated, as she came and stood right in front of him. All Bobby could do in response was stand in awe of this girl, who was able to find it in her heart to still be concerned about him despite how much he had hurt her.

"Okay." Bobby smiled, as he then turned to head back over to the Civic parked a few feet away from them.

"So, what's in the box?" Rogue curiously asked, as she took notice of the large carton that he was carrying with him.

"Some of the things that John left behind, mostly clothes and some other personal stuff. He did have a lot of journals, though, which is kind of weird when you think about how much he seemed to hate school." Bobby revealed.

"Hmm, what did he find to write about?" Rogue queried Bobby.

"I don't know, I never looked through any of them." Bobby told her.

"You mean to tell me that they sat in your room for almost a whole year, and you didn't peek inside one of them. Not even once?" Rogue asked.

"It just didn't seem right. I guess I figured that if he wanted me to know what he was writing about, then he would've told me." Bobby explained.

"That shows a lot of self-control on your part." Rogue said, as she gently elbowed Bobby in the side.

"Well, going out with you definitely helped to teach me that." Bobby responded with a smirk, as they made it to the car and he opened the trunk with the small remote on the key-chain in his hand.

"Ah imagine you're sending this off to him at the Massachusetts Academy?" Rogue assumed.

"Yep, it's going there first class, and in care of St. John Allerdyce." Bobby remarked, as he put the box in the trunk and closed the lid, referring to the name that John had been enrolled under at the Massachusetts Academy, "I swear, you'd think hanging out with the Brotherhood that John would've been able to come up with a better alias than that."

"Like what?" Rogue playfully challenged him, as they each went and opened the driver and passenger's side doors of the car.

"I don't know, Johnny Blaze maybe? Anything would've been better than St. John." Bobby replied, as he sat down in the car seat and cranked the ignition.

As Bobby and Rogue soon sped off in the car, so began in earnest a new phase in their relationship. It was one where the two of them would hopefully come to learn what the true meaning of friendship was, and how that would really translate between two individuals who at one time had been so much more to each other, and had been so for so long.


Meanwhile, as they watched the two young adults exit the estate grounds in the silver car and turn out onto the winding road that led out of Westchester County, Professor Xavier, Scott Summers, and Ororo Munroe soon went back to the conversation that they were having in the estate's garden area.

"…I believe that the sight of all of you, of all of my X-Men, united together to be something that I shall carry with me always." Professor Xavier said, as he sat in his wheelchair at an outdoor table with Ororo and Scott.

"It will undoubtedly rank up there with the other amazing sight of the day, when Magneto and the latest incarnation of his Brotherhood swooped in to aid us, and in particular with witnessing Pyro's advanced exhibitive use of his abilities against the Sentinels." Ororo stated, as she sipped her beverage from the glass in front of her on the table.

"As much as I hate to admit it, we might not have beaten the Sentinels without their help." Scott reluctantly surmised.

"Indeed. And in spite of our obvious differences, they were instrumental allies. But, one must wonder how long such an arrangement will last?" Ororo remarked.

"I would hazard to guess that such an accordance will only last between us and them until it no longer suits Erik's own intentions for mutantkind. Which begs the question, what does the future now portend for both this school and for the Massachusetts Academy?" Professor Xavier posed to them.

"I think the better question is, what does the future hold for the students at both schools, and for the next generation of mutants as a whole?" Scott expounded upon, with a somewhat foreboding omen for tomorrows that had yet to come…


To be continued in The New Mutants


A/N: Special thanks to everyone that reviewed the last chapter

The Toaster- I will certainly take that under advisement.

Montana Magic- Glad you liked it, and I hope you did well with your French final, Mon Ami. As far as the future, you just never know what'll happen, but I think it will be worth sticking around for.

ishandahalf- Glad you liked the action-packed stuff, and it looks like your paranoia-sense did it's job well. I'm also glad that you liked Lockheed'd big intro, I thought it would be the most fitting way to bring him on board.

Episodic(?)- Sorry to hear about your stories, but I can't wait 'til you get them back up. I'm also glad that I was able to catch you a little off guard with the Magneto thing too.

El Varon- Glad you liked the addition of Lockheed. And as far as Bobby and Angelica are concerned, their story has barely even begun. So stay tuned, because some pretty Amazing things are in store for them…

TheDreamerLady- Candy Southern? Yep, the one and only. As far as Betsy goes, I'm sure she's busy in England right about now pursuing a lucrative modeling career. Although, when your brother is the famed Captain Britain, it's only a matter of time before you'll get caught up in the super-hero biz too, so keep an eye out for that in the future.

Independent Fire- Glad you liked the conversation pieces at the end. All will be revealed in due time, both with Remy's mysterious connections from the past and with Kitty and Lance's more than casual acquaintance.