A/N Here's the final chapter, hope you like it. Leaving it wide open for a sequel, obviously as usual.
Logan and John rejoined the group, wiping their hands just as Emma said they all needed to leave. Emma took in their dirty appearance.
"Is it…is the dead girl…" she started to ask.
"We took care of it," Logan assured her. "There's nothing left but ash." John nodded, a bit green in the face. Apparently he'd never used his powers to turn himself into a one man crematorium before.
"Whatever Magneto's planning, it's happening in a few hours," Emma said briskly. "That's why they came to us now, hoping to get us out of the way before the show went down. Or at least distract us."
"Any idea what 'it' is?" Gambit asked. His arm had been securely around Rogue's waist since the fighting had ended, as if he was afraid she'd disappear if he let go.
"No," Emma said with a sigh. "None of them were important enough to know."
"We don't even get a first rate hit squad? Now dat's just insulting," Gambit said.
Rogue elbowed him in the ribs. "Be grateful for small favors."
"Magneto's holed up in a building in the harbor, a huge warehouse, but from what I could glean from our now unconscious friends is that he has multiple stations all over the city. A church, hotel, club, even a skyscraper, he has people in each. Whatever he's doing, it's spread out and it's big. I think there are hundreds with him, maybe thousands."
"Then we need to take out Magneto," Logan said. "He's the ringleader, without him this all falls apart."
"Hopefully," Rogue said.
"Yeah," Logan sighed. "Hopefully."
They dropped their unconscious assailants off in front of the police station, thanks to Emma they were solidly confused and remembered nothing. The police would be happy, at least half of them had serious warrants out.
Obnoxiously, they couldn't land the jet anywhere near Magneto, that was just asking to be crushed like a pop can.
"Logan, you shouldn't come," Storm said.
"The hell with that," Logan growled.
"Logan, Magneto, magnet. You, metal. Is any of this ringing any bells?" Rogue asked.
"Kid, I love you to death but if you think I'm going to stay behind, you're a lot dumber than I thought you were."
"Try to stop me." With that, he walked off the plane. Storm sighed, exasperated. They filed off and started the walk to the warehouse. They'd had to land over a mile away, though they were still pretty sure Magneto knew they were there. With the amount of mutants he had assembled, odds were one of them had abilities that picked them up in some way. Creeping through the waterfront warehouse district at midnight wasn't exactly the most subtle or safest thing to do even at the best of times, let alone when there was a group of mutant terrorists running around. On the bright side, gang activity in the neighborhood had probably gone way down in the last few months. As predicted, mutants swarmed from every direction.
"There aren't too many," Gambit called from the rear. "Whatever dey're planning, most of de troops must be dere."
"Damn," Kitty hissed. "They aren't going to line up nicely to get destroyed."
The mutants converged, attacking from every direction. One by one they got their asses kicked. Nonetheless, the X-Men were slowly rounded into a circle, surrounded by enemies.
"We don't have time for this!" John yelled.
"Agreed," Gambit said. "Yo' take dat half, I'll take dese ones."
John and Gambit raised their hands, one blowing up half their enemies, one blowing them back with fire. "Let's go!" John yelled, keeping a steady stream of fire to the rear. Rogue, temporarily with Gambit's powers, helped Gambit clear the way in front of them as the stormed into the warehouse. Right inside the front door, Storm and Beast became locked in a vicious tooth and nail fight.
"Go!" Storm yelled. Logan hesitated. "Damn it, Wolverine, GO!" Logan did as she said, leading the team further on.
"There are many gathered in the northeast wing, I can't tell if it's Magneto though," she answered.
"How many can you psychically incapacitate?" he asked.
"Okay, wait until right before we go in, it'll help as a distraction. Just like we practiced boys and girls, ready?"
"But of course," Gambit answered.
The snuck down the hall, as quiet as they could. Logan nodded to Emma. She lashed out and three distinct thuds were heard as bodies hit the floor. The X-Men stormed in. Predictably, Logan was immediately stopped. With an eye roll, Magneto tossed him at the wall. Kitty dived, barely grabbing Logan's ankle in time to phase the both. They flew through three rooms before landing outside. There were only ten mutants in the room with Magneto, and three were down for the count thanks to Emma's psychic attack. Bobby was taken down easily with a well placed kick to the head.
"Figures," Gambit muttered as he blew the mutant away from Bobby. Rogue wove through the clashing X-Men and Brotherhood mutants. She grabbed a chain from the warehouse floor, charged it with magenta light and whipped it around Magneto's neck from behind, garrote-style.
"Remember me?" she hissed in his ear.
"My dear, it's been too long," he said calmly. "Are you as unintelligent as the Wolverine? That's metal you're holding to my throat. That's my area of expertise so to say."
"Yeah," she growled back. "But see, that metal that's glowing Magenta? It means it's going to blow up. So I guess it's just a matter of who can pull the trigger first. Can you fling that chain away before I blow your head off?"
"That's a bit dark for you, isn't it?" he asked casually.
"You bring it out in me. Try to kill me a few times, cause the death of a few friends and potentially thousands, I think I have the right to be a little dark," she growled.
"Have you been absorbing Wolverine too much? Growling? How unladylike of you," he said. "What are you even doing here? You're a traitor who took the cure."
The chain glowed brighter. "Obviously not."
Storm and Beast ran in just as the unconscious mutants dropped to the floor as the X-Men finished with them. Kitty and Logan appeared through the wall a second later. All eyes were on Rogue and her captive.
"Yo' know chère, yo' could always charge his clothes in the future. Or maybe just right over de male genital region, sends a message with style," Gambit said casually.
Rogue looked at Magneto considering. "I like my style," she said.
"It does make a splash."
"Why aren't you two just a regular Bonnie and Clyde," Magneto said with disgust. "So, X-Men, not as out of the way as I'd hoped, how delightful."
"You underestimated us, how silly of you," Storm said.
"No matter, in about thirty seconds it won't make a difference," Magneto said.
"What does that mean?" Storm asked, taking a threatening step forward.
"Don't worry, this is probably the safest place you could be in Boston right now," he said.
"It's like you said Logan," Rogue said, tightening the chain. "He's no really big on self sacrifice."
"What's going on?"
Everyone froze, waiting for something, anything to explain what was supposed to happen. Then, flashes came in through the windows, explosions from far off buildings.
"The hell?" Logan growled.
"What was that?" John asked.
"Traitor," Magneto said dismissively.
Rogue charged the chain higher. Gambit took a wary step back. "Chère…"
"Relax. Now, what was that?"
"That," Magneto said, "would be step one in the Boston purification program."
"All mutants all the time?" Logan asked.
"Yes, my oh so eloquent friend. Boston will now be a mutant only zone," Magneto said.
Storm walked up, tears in her eyes. "What have you done? How many have you killed?"
Magneto looked her square in the eye. "If all went well, very, very many. Mutants are in the streets taking what's theirs'. Other mutants will be asked to join us or leave. This is our initial attack, humans are being driven out now, if they're not past the borders we've put up in three hours, they'll be killed."
Rogue grabbed both ends of the chain with one hand and landed a vicious blow with the other. Magneto crashed to the floor, knocked unconscious even through the helmet. Kitty moved forward and phased his hands and feet into the ground.
"We need to get out of here," Storm said. "His little army will probably try to kill us."
"We should kill him," Logan said. "This will fall apart if he isn't here."
"We aren't mercenaries," Beast said.
"I can be," Logan said. He stepped forward only to be thrown back. He looked around confused to see a man in blue with blond hair so bright it was nearly white. He knelt in front of Magneto and smirked at the X-Men.
"Quicksilver," Storm said.
"See ya," he said. Moving faster than any of them could see, he'd taken Magneto and escaped out the window.
"Damn it!" Logan yelled. "Damn it all!"
"We need to get out of here," Storm said. "We have to go now, we can't be here with the rest of the Brotherhood gets here."
They nodded and moved out. Beast threw Bobby over his shoulder. John's face was very white.
"John," Rogue said, grabbing his arm. "We need to go now."
"Yo' have a very dark theatrical side t' yo', chère," Gambit commented. "I like it."
"I do, too," she said. "Sometimes."
They managed to get to the jet without too much trouble. "Most of the Magneto Militia is out in the streets destroying life as we know it," Storm said.
"We have to do something, we can't just leave everyone down there," Kitty gasped out when she buckled into her seat.
"We have t' leave dem," Gambit said quietly. "There are hundreds, or more. We'd be dead very fast. We need t' regroup, figure out what's going on. If we go down dere, we'll all die. We won't be able t' help anyone."
"Well I don't have to like it," Kitty muttered.
"Yeah," Gambit said, taking Rogue's hand. "Me neither chatton."
They made it out of Boston airspace without any flying mutants trying to blast them from the sky. Everyone was quiet on the way back. The jet had windows, and the sight wasn't pretty. Smoke was issuing from all over the city, fires spreading unchecked. People were ants running in the street, climbing over each other in a desperate attempt to escape. The city looked like it was from Armageddon, hell rained at every turn, bodies lining the sidewalks.
"Isn't…isn't there supposed to be a building there?" Pete asked, pointing top what was now nothing more than a huge pile of rubble.
"Or three," Logan said darkly. There was another skyscraper, almost completely burned.
"How many do you think were in there?" Rogue asked Gambit quietly. He looked out and sighed.
"I'd guess about 900 in de three buildings, probably 400 in the skyscraper dat is on fire, even if it was evacuated not many could get out in time," he said, fingers running over her knuckles.
Rogue closed her eyes and leaned onto Gambit, head tucked under his chin. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder, running a hand up and down her arm. Something wet hit his pants. Rogue's tears were on his list of things never to see.
"That's almost 1,500 dead," she said thickly.
"I know," he whispered. He kissed the top of her head. He whispered softly to her in French to calm her, even if she didn't understand what it meant. The wet stain on his shirt grew steadily larger as they approached the mansion.
"Can we call back the students?" Hank asked when they landed.
"Yes," Storm said tiredly. "We're safe for now, Magneto only wanted us out of the way because we might have stopped them. They've already succeeded, there's no reason to come after us."
"We need to get the students back here before word gets out about what exactly happened in Boston," Emma said. "We want to all be together when the antimutant terror starts."
Jubilee was back with the kids within the hour. Students piled into common areas, bedrooms, the rec room, anywhere with a TV. Images of Boston were all over the news. People were dead in the streets, Brotherhood mutants were patrolling the perimeter of the city, mutants with serious firepower were patrolling the skies. Short of nuking the place, the military wasn't getting anywhere near it.
"There is no official word from the government but the belief is that it's the mutant terrorist Magneto of the Liberty Island and Alcatraz Island attacks. He hasn't made his intentions known, but humans who have escaped have said that they were told that all humans had six hours to evacuate before being killed. A source believes he is trying to create an exclusively mutant military outpost and city," the news reporter said matter of factly. Gambit clicked his tongue.
"It's starting already. We're not all people, we're 'mutants' and 'humans'," he said. Rogue held his hand tighter in hers.
"The death toll is still unconfirmed, but estimated at over 3,000," the reporter stated. "Thousands more are still missing. We'll keep you up to date on developments throughout the night."
"This is bad," Storm said. "Magneto painted a target on the backs of every mutant in the world by creating his mutant state."
"What dey aren't saying is dat Magneto welcomes mutants to join him. If de government or hell, even vigilantes start going after mutants, dey will flock to a mutant safe haven, even if it was built on the bones of people," Gambit said gravely.
"Yeah," Logan said. "And that'll just fan the mutant versus human flame."
"Oui. And we all know dat mutants are going t' be targeted by de governments and by citizens. De X-Men are going t' be very busy on de saving people front."
"Yes," Storm said, arms crossed. Logan's hand was on her shoulder. "The world just got a hell of a lot scarier."
Gambit rose from the couch and led Rogue out of the room, easily able to tell that she was getting overwhelmed. He pulled her into hi, wrapping arms around her.
"Scared?" he asked.
"Yeah. I'd be stupid not to be," she mumbled, arms around his waist. "My voices all have something to say on the matter, they're arguing over if Magneto was right or not. All I can think of is that Magneto killed thousands of people to take over Boston. People are probably going to start killing mutants everywhere, it's sad that with him is probably the safest a mutant can be. I'm scared to see mutant blood running down the streets, and no one is going to give a damn."
"Storm is right, de world just got a lot scarier," Gambit said. "I'll be right here de whole time." Rogue looked up at him with a slight smile. "I'm in dis for de long haul, here. Yeah we're about t' be in deep shit for a very long time, we've just gone like twenty steps backwards in de antidiscrimination fight, but I'm here for dis Rogue, dere's nowhere I'd rather be."
Rogue kissed him before looking at him with a sad smile. "I know," she said. She sunk to the ground, leaning against the wall. He followed suit, shoulder touching hers. "So what now, we hunker down in the school, us versus the whole big, bad world?"
Gambit smiled, threading his arm around her. "Why chère, absolument."
A/N Hopefully before any hate mail starts, I wanted to say I know the ending is darker and unhappier than usual, but that was the point. Things are usually wrapped up neatly in a bow, but endings in life are not that way, and neither should endings always be in fiction. This is creating a new, darker world and sometimes, that's what literary works do.