Disclaimer: I have no claim in Marvel. I'm just messing with their already messed up worlds.

Notes: This is sort of like a dumping ground for all my half-baked Emma centric ideas that aren't good enough to be standalone stories. I have this mildly structured like the classic "What If..." series which ran some far out scenarios. All the chapters are self-contained Emma femslash fics spanning all genres. This series will be updated irregularly since it's dependent upon ideas as they come.

What If Emma...

by Yimmy

Chapter 1: What If Emma Married Betsy?

"Where's my toofbwush?"

Emma glanced up from her newspaper and shrugged. "In the bathroom?"

"It's not dere."

"Use another one, pumpkin. This isn't rocket science."

"But... but..."

"But what?"

Tears threatened to stream from those cute eyes. "Want my SpongeBob and Patrick toofbwush!"

Emma sighed. "Open a new one then. Second drawer from the bottom, pumpkin."

Little feet pattered away leaving the blonde to sip her coffee and enjoy the silence of the tranquil morning. Well, that is before slightly bigger feet pounded down the stairs at an unkosher clip.

She didn't even take her eyes away from the paper this time. "No running in the house, young lady."

The steps slowed but they still pounded, displeased.

"Sulk all you want," Emma called out, "but you are not getting back your television privileges. Understood?"

A faint "Whatever" made it to the kitchen, but the owner of the voice didn't show up. Better not show up at the breakfast table like that or she would've gotten a tongue lashing severe enough to make a middle-age man cry. Teen rebellion--Emma knew it well, but so early and so intensely? Just half a year ago the young lady flew on the wings of angel, but today, she carried herself like the devil after twenty cups of espresso.

Of course, things changed in six months.

Emma looked at the table: four seats, three plates set. Eggs benedict sat piping hot. Cereal and yogurt made their home in the middle, but none of that sugary stuff or preservative laden garbage. The girls only had the best. Some called them spoiled. Others called them picky. Emma called those people envious.

Little feet pattered back into the kitchen. The girl flashed her toothiest smile and gestured wildly at her few pearly whites. "See? See? All clean!"

Folding the paper, Emma scooped the growing bundle of joy into her arms and plopped her down in the booster chair. "You did good, pumpkin. Finish breakfast and we can go to school."

"Wha 'bout sis?"

Emma's expression darkened. "She's old enough to walk on her own."

With long, brown hair, and blue eyes, the cute little thing was the splitting image of a young Emma. She inherited Emma's perception too, noticing to keep quiet when her mama got that far away look.

She didn't like that look. Mama had it on way too much nowadays, and when she did, she didn't talk, didn't smile, and said means things about people. She didn't like that look one bit, but at least afterwards, Mama always tried to be extra nice to make up for being mean.

In record time, the little girl finished her meal. Mama ruffled her hair, stood, grabbed a bag lunch from the counter, and helped her down. The little girl shrugged on her SpongeBob backpack and walked out the door with Mama.

"Grace!" Emma called out as she left, "Don't be late for school!"

Another soft "Whatever" echoed from somewhere in the cavernous house.

Instead of getting angry, Emma held her younger daughter's hand and made the short journey over to the Xavier Institute. For years this scenic setting exuded an aura of homeliness, but today, the leaves drooped a little too much, the clouds rolled in too often, and the grass didn't seem as green.

Emma entertained ideas of moving away, but the girls kept her here. Too many friends, too much familiarity--Westchester was the only home they knew, and Emma couldn't take that away from them. What they needed was stability, not a cross-country journey into a random nowhere.

Maybe one day the luster would return, but Emma didn't get her hopes up.

The front gates of the school stood opened to admit its many students. Emma bent down and kissed her daughter on the forehead.

"Be good, Elisabeth."

"Yes, Mama."

"I'll see you this afternoon."

They hugged and separated, Elisabeth skittering to her classes and Emma watching her skitter. When her daughter disappeared into the depths of the building, Emma walked through the gates herself. Normally, parents weren't allowed on school grounds while class was in session, but Emma considered herself an exception.

Away from the classrooms and to the actual mansion she ambled. Harried teachers--most she didn't recognize--ran past her. Some gave her a questioning stare, but the way she held herself prevented their protests.

Kitty came down the hall, but all she shared with Emma was a polite nod--same with Scott and X'ian. Hank gave more of a greeting, embracing her and squeezing her shoulders. Paige saw the exchange and pitched in a strained "Hope ya feelin' better Ms. Frost.".

No more encounters crept up, and that was fine by Emma. She didn't come here to chat up the school. Around the corridors, through the backdoor, out into the field, into the forest, and to the clearing went Emma.

A cliff. The recently risen sun. Water in front and trees in back. One single stone stuck up from the ground.

Grace picked it out. Emma wrote the words. Logan shaped and engraved it with his claws. Brian hauled it up here. Kurt blessed it. It was a real team effort.

Emma kneeled. She brushed her lips against the top of the stone.

"Elisabeth Braddock. Friend. Mentor. Sister. Parent. Wife. Only the words of love kept alive are worthy of not being wasted. We love you. We miss you."

Simple. Tasteful. Beautiful.

Never failed to coax tears from Emma's eyes.

They married over ten years ago, after Xavier left the school to pursue his own goals in the new Genosha. The life of an X-Man slowed. Other people rose to take on supervillains while the school itself blossomed into a huge educational juggernaut. Students ranged from abandoned infants to forty year olds. Couldn't deal with Black Tom Cassidy or the Hellfire Club anymore, had to grade papers, garner funding, and hammer out course requirements.

Emma helmed the administrative aspects of the school; Betsy became a teacher. After working with so many children on a regular basis, they wanted to have some of their own. Betsy asked Brian for a... donation in a vial, and Emma carried their first child to term: Grace Beatrice Frost. Emma dealt with the pregnancy, so it only seemed fair she name the daughter. Meggan was disturbingly happy at "finally seeing the fruits of Brian's loins."

Emma and Betsy raised Grace as well as they could. The bouncing baby became everyone's little girl, and she lacked nothing. She grew up humble but confident, intelligent but not arrogant. Her tall, lean frame and fiery passion made her a splitting image of Betsy. Grace was such a heavenly experience that they wanted another child. After much cajoling, Brian agreed again, only because Grace hit him with her best puppy dog eyes and said, "I wanna l'il sis."

So came Elisabeth Braddock Frost: this time, Brian and Betsy both were adamant about the Braddock part. "Frosty's clone" Jubilee liked to joke. From birth to preschool, Elisabeth got what she wanted whenever she wanted. SpongeBob toofbwush. Rated R movies. Candy before bed. Whether through arm twisting or outright charm, the little girl had the world wrapped around her tiny little finger.

Betsy. Emma. Grace. Elisabeth. They were happy. But their happiness ended so fast.

Six months ago. Manhattan. Betsy and Emma left the girls with Jean and Scott and went out on a much deserved date. They were so wrapped up in each other they didn't sense him following them. Him: Shinobi Shaw, Sebastian Shaw's son. His power: intangibility. His problem: hated Emma for being such a powerful member of the Hellfire Club and had "unfinished business" with Betsy stemming from a time when she plunged her psychic knife into him.

He stalked them well--neither noticed his approach. In the middle of Times Square, he tried to kill them both by turning intangible and removing needed body parts. Responding to a good-natured barb, Betsy playfully bumped Emma off the sidewalk. The blonde's mock indignation turned into terror, but before she could do anything, the man ripped her wife's still beating heart out from behind.

Emma fried the coward's brain a second too late.

Shinobi Shaw died that night, but so did Betsy. She had an impish smile on her empty face. Emma held the cooling body close to her and wouldn't let go, not when the paramedics came, not when Warren flew in from his Manhattan office, not when Scott arrived from the mansion with her children. Her sparkling white outfit stained with Betsy's blood.

They didn't get to say goodbye.

There weren't any last words.

Betsy didn't even know what happened.

Emma took the Shaw estate for all it was worth. With Tessa's help, she annihilated the Hellfire Club. Neither act brought Betsy back; neither act made her feel better.

Grace, the first born, Betsy's favored daughter, withdrew into herself. The girl who did no wrong did nothing but wrong. Her grades suffered. She didn't want to get up in the morning. She lashed out against everyone. She went to school and came straight home. Some nights, Emma caught her daughter clutching Betsy's photo and bawling like a newborn.

Emma couldn't blame her.

Elisabeth, young Elisabeth, she knew something was wrong. Her big sis acted funny. Her mama acted funny. She acted normal to balance the funniness, but it didn't help.

Emma didn't know what to say to her.

Emma... Emma herself quit the school. Life went on. Sometimes, she wished Shinobi had ripped out her heart instead so she wouldn't have to deal with everything. Then she thought of Betsy, sweet Betsy who loved her daughters, sweet Betsy who would've wanted the girls to live life to the fullest.

So, Emma got up everyday and lived so her daughters could live.

"It's so hard," she cried, resting her head against the gravestone, "It's so hard..."

Hours passed. The tears dried. The sun shined bright overhead. Emma hated feeling so needy, but she was. A cool breeze played with her long hair while birds soared high above. Dying here sounded like a good idea. Green grass. Nice day. Betsy. All Emma ever needed, all here on this forsaken cliff.

The school bell for the elementary classes rang. Emma brushed the grass off and kissed the headstone again. She headed back into the forest only to run into a cigar smoking Logan leaning against a tree. Looked like he'd been there for a long time.

"This ain't healthy, Frost."

"No," she admitted, "but do you have any better ideas?"

"Get outta here. Find somewhere to chase away the worry and hurtin'."

"I can't do that to the girls."

He snorted. "Leave the girls here. Every flamin' person here treat 'em like their own flesh n' blood anyway. They'll be fine."

"They need me, Logan, especially with Betsy gone. I wouldn't be able to ever think of her again if I didn't take care of our daughters."

The cigar fell to the ground and splintered apart under his boot. "If it's one thing I know, I know Betts wouldn't mind. The woman would've broken down if she saw you today, all wailin' over her grave like a banshee. Ya need peace, n' lemme say that this joint ain't the most peaceful of places. You can't take care o' your daughters if you can't take care o' yourself."

Tempting, but "No."

"Fair enough," he grunted, "I ain't the kinda man to argue with a mother." He walked in the direction of Betsy's grave. "Just think about it, ok?"

Grace. Elisabeth. "No," Emma repeated. "They're our daughters and I won't leave them behind, not to the X-Men, not to Brian, not to anybody."

"The birds gotta leave the nest some time, Frost."

"Not now."

Emma reemerged into the world, her back straightening, her eyes clearing up. Two hundred feet behind her was the only place she showed her pain. Anywhere else, too much depended on her. She'd bore the weight of the world on her shoulders before, but none of her experiences prepared her for this burden, the burden of children and continuing on after the one she loved had left.

It's so hard, perhaps too hard, but Emma Grace Frost never gave up.

"That's a proud woman you hitched," muttered Logan when he reached Betsy.

In a perfect world, true love would conquer all, the sheen of ice around Emma's heart would melt, and Betsy would throw the lid off her coffin and surprise everyone by coming back to life. In a perfect world, the children would grow up with two loving parents, a host of boisterous uncles and aunts, and be the light of future generations.

In the real world, Emma would carry on, perhaps find someone else, perhaps not. Life would go on, children would grow up, and the gravestone here would wither away, sooner or later uncleaned and unkept. Betsy's body would lay here, but her memory would be buried in the memories of others, there to live on till the end of their days.

In this world, grief stood still. Emma languished. The children hurt. The X-Men came and went, the group the same but the individuals different. Memories scattered to the winds, removed by other pressing concerns. Paid gardeners dispassionately cleaned the gravestone once every month, the words lovingly etched on it meaning nothing to them.

Life began and ended here, out in the corner of nowhere in a place which mattered to few. Logan brushed a speck of dirt from his jeans and tipped his wide-brimmed hat to Betsy's memorial.

"Don't worry 'bout the kids. No matter what, you can count on Frost."

In a perfect world, these words wouldn't be needed.

In the real world, these words wouldn't matter.

In this world, these words needed to be said.

- The next tale awaits...