A/N: This is a re-issue of an old story, with a few tweaks and additions and the proper disclaimers. Please read and review.
Disclaimer: The X-Men and all none orginal characters are the property of Marvel Comics
The school seemed quieter now, with Jean, Scott and the Professor dead and Logan and Rouge, gone it was like the place was missing it's heart. The noisy, consistent, comforting pulse that told you the place had a community, that it was alive.
Ororo Munroe stood out in the gardens near the Professors tomb as she had every night since his memorial, staring at the guttering flame, as a slight breeze ruffling her white hair, and she wondered what had happened to those of their number who had chosen to leave them in the aftermath of the previous battle.
For Logan, it meant a series of dark anonymous bars, from which he moved when the goodwill of the bar staff or his money ran out, or the ghosts of the past he was attempting to drink away the memory of, caught up with him. When he saw a woman who looked like his lost love turning a corner, just too far away for him to catch her, or worse, to catch her and look like a drunken creep when he did, he would leave determined that the next dark bar in the next town would offer him his salvation. Of course none would, he knew where his salvation lay, but he was too afraid of what he would find there, or more, of what he would not, to return.
For Rouge, it had meant retuning home to Mississippi, and her parents, reverting back to using the name Marie, and the freedom of physical contact. However it also meant living every day with the deep guilt of having taken the cure, to given in to the desire to be held without danger, but feeling as if she had betrayed the people who had not cared about her dangerous mutation, had taken her in and welcomed it, welcomed her.
Often she wondered how things were going at the school, how Logan was coping after the death of Jean, if Storm was managing OK and how was Bobby, had he forgotten about her?
Elsewhere in Mississippi, on a countryside hill, a mutant commune slept. They were not like either the X-Men or the Brotherhood, they had no desire to take sides, or make waves, they simply wanted to live. Unfortunately not everyone agreed with this choice of living, with both militant mutant and human groups did not agree with this peaceful policy and on this sleepy night someone descended, a group as yet unnamed, so the newscasts would say in the morning, and wiped the commune off the face of the earth, but unbeknown to the attackers, there is a child of five, with the power of invisibility. hiding in a crawlspace. She has survived, and seen faces.
Later, a good deal closer to the motel room where Logan was sleeping and soon to wake, hung over, and realize he was out of cigars, and the liquor he needed to kill his pain, a young woman leaned over and slapped her alarm clock, the beginning of a day which was to change her life, and leave her scarred, lost and running for her life, not knowing who to run to or who to trust.