Halcyon And On And On

One Year Later

A provisional peace reigned in Bayville; with Magneto gone, nearly all mutant-related crime had dwindled down to nothing. It was almost as if Magneto had never been involved in their lives; never started the Brotherhood.

Except for the few newer students at the X-Mansion.

Pietro had never moved into the Institute; instead, when Rogue graduated from high school, she moved in next door to his and Wanda's apartment, and he moved in with her. She was now taking classes at the local college; most were computer classes so she didn't have to worry about touching anyone, but thankfully it was a liberal arts college so no one commented on her normal mode of dress.

They still came to visit the other students often, taking the 'Pietro Express' as Rogue called it. But these days they mostly borrowed Wanda's car; Rogue felt such high speeds were dangerous for the baby, and Pietro could not argue with that, seeing as how he didn't know for sure one way or the other, and Dr. McCoy couldn't even hazard a guess without running extensive tests.

Yes, Rogue was pregnant. They'd discovered it at the end of her first semester of college. Rogue had only been two months along at that point, but thankfully she'd been able to get all computer courses for her second semester, so Pietro wouldn't have to worry about her all day. She and Pietro both agreed it was the best Christmas present either of them had ever gotten – and it had worked the miracle of lifting the last of the lingering malaise left over from Magneto's death from both his son and, surprisingly, his daughter – though Wanda kept complaining that they'd expect her to take babysitter duty all the time.

It was definitely a Christmas to remember. Scott and Jean finally got together over some Evan-spiked eggnog and underneath a large clump of Storm's homegrown mistletoe. And the highly developed sense of the ridiculous that seemed to reign supreme over Bayville saw to it that Wanda didn't hex Evan until after he'd cornered her for a kiss.

He got to like having purple hair, though thankfully it wore off before school started – just in time for his and the Scarlet Witch's first date.

Pietro still had his job at the Speedy Delivery Service. He still didn't work full-time, but had doubled his working hours now that he was out of school. With the baby on the way, though, he decided to move up to full-time to lay in some money for when he or she arrived. Pietro looked forward to being the father for his children that he had always wished for Magneto to be for him and Wanda. The guilt-tinged grief he'd felt at his father's passing had finally subsided. The regrets of what might have been would always be with him, but his sadness no longer threatened to swallow him whole.

Logan was surprisingly complacent with Pietro having 'knocked Rogue up' as Evan put it. He only threatened to castrate Pietro if he didn't take care of 'Rogue and the runt.' Rogue thought that Logan being so accepting could possibly jeopardize the structural integrity of reality, but was really too thankful – and too caught up in her nesting instincts – to worry about the Wolverine's possible (lack of) sanity.

The Brotherhood Boardinghouse was now not only derelict, but also empty; it had been condemned at the end of the eldest students' junior year. Lance, Tabitha, Todd and Freddy had had a hard time keeping up with the bills by themselves now that Mystique was gone. Having nowhere else to go, Xavier offered them a home and place on the X-Men's team.

Without the pressure of maintaining a relationship with Kitty, and with Magneto's shadow not dogging his every step, Lance managed to fit it without much hassle. After a lifetime of looking over his shoulder and never feeling safe, now he was.

Tabitha had initially been reluctant to return to the Institute, fearing reprisals from Xavier. But the Professor had a long talk with her about her past – her father especially; he had done a real number on Tabitha's self-esteem – and she finally consented to the counseling she'd been needing for so long. Thankfully Professor Xavier was able to break through the protective shell she'd placed around herself. She and Lance were now dating, and it looked to be more serious than he had ever been about Kitty, or she had ever been about Kurt.

Which was good, because Kitty and Kurt were as tight as ever. And judging by the sappy smiles and knowing blushes they'd been exchanging, Rogue might soon not be the only pregnant teenage mutant in New York. And the fact that Logan didn't seem to be stressing out about that, either, was enough to make Kitty want to look for a pod.

Todd had a hard time fitting in at first; he'd lived on his own for so long that it became second nature to supplement whatever meager meal he managed to pull together with insects. He ended up taking refuge in Storm's garden one day, and she found him there denuding the mulberry bushes of locusts. They had talked while she worked, and after a few weeks, he was more comfortable.

Especially since Storm allowed him to eat all the aphids he wanted. She had formerly spent hours spraying her prize roses with insecticides; Todd's way was much more environmentally friendly, and extremely effective.

Freddy, still having a slight crush on Jean, had the hardest time of it. The autumn brought a new crop of students to the school, and a girl named Danielle Moonstar took an (almost – after a literal tussle with Freddy over the last double fudge chocolate chip cookie) instant liking to him. She liked to cook; he liked to eat. And they both loved monster truck rallies and roller derbies. It seemed a match made in teenage mutant heaven.

Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

A brother-sister pair of mutants from Kentucky showed up. Sam and Paige were quickly assimilated into the Institute; her boyfriend, Jonothon Starsmore, however, seemed to rub everybody the wrong way.

Well, really just Sam, but the newly-christened Cannonball had this 'down home, good 'ol boy' charm, which, when combined with his 'sun shining on a cloudy day' smile kept people from killing him.

Jono lurked in the basement, brooded more than Logan when he was drunk and feeling morbid (as opposed to drunk and feeling horny, or drunk and feeling angry) and loved horror movies and slasher flicks. The creepier the better, the bloodier the better, respectively. His taste in music was even more eclectic than Kurt's, and his mode of dress was even darker than Rogue's at her Gothic peak.

Logan took an instant liking to 'Chamber' as Jono called himself, which was par for the course as of late in the Mutant Mansion's Midnight (and every other time of day) Madness. It was also enough to make even Storm start giving him a second glance. Which probably explained why she and Logan were planning on having an outdoor wedding ceremony in April, with Professor Xavier officiating, but didn't explain why the Wolverine asked Rogue to be his 'best woman.'

All in all, things were…good…at the Institute, if not normal (for them) or even less crazy (de nada). Mutants might never be accepted by mainstream society…but that didn't mean they couldn't be happy. It was just another thing that they'd have to work to change.