We won't say our goodbyes you know it's better that way
We won't break, we won't die
It's just a moment of change
All we are, all we are, is everything that's right
All we need, all we need, a lover's alibi- "All We Are" by OneRepublic
When Emma first opened her eyes she was confused. She had been under the impression that, once the Phoenix was done with her, she would find herself in hell. It made the most sense after all. She had no illusions about the kind of life that she had led. At least there she'd be able to find Shaw and her father. That would be her sole consolation, seeing them burning with her.
So when she awoke and saw a hospital room she was more than a little surprised. Emma pushed herself up and everything hurt. She turned her head and saw Megan sleeping, hunched up in a chair, next to her. Wincing Emma concentrated and gave her a slight mental shock to wake her up. Emma didn't have the reach to shake her awake.
Her daughter's black eyes flew open and stared at her. Immediately she got up and flung herself into Emma's arms. The motion caused a stabbing pain to start in her torso, the breath getting knocked out of her, but Emma didn't say anything. Megan was crying, a sure sign that Emma had indeed been close to death. When Megan finally pulled away she stared at her fiercely, tears staining her face.
"Don't you ever do that to me again," she said.
"I'll do my best," Emma said, stroking Megan's hair lovingly, "Now, did it work?"
"The Phoenix is gone," she said, "And Professor Xavier's mind was successfully moved to a comatose patient."
"Mission accomplished then," said Emma, smiling weakly, "Time to get going then."
Megan blinked at her, her eyes wide.
"But you just woke up!" she protested, "You need more medical attention and-"
Emma waved her words away.
"I'm fine," she said, "if you can get my clothes and teleport me to the chopper then everything will be fine. A shot of adrenaline too I think."
"I'm not arguing about this Megan," Emma said tartly, "If you really think I should then I'll check with my doctors when we get home. Now I would appreciate you doing what I say."
She saw Megan hesitate before teleporting away. Her obedience had been drilled too deep into her to disobey when Emma took that tone. Emma hated speaking to her after the traumatic experiences Megan had been through but she had to get away from the island. Yes, she was running. There were a lot of things that she didn't want to face, things she thought that she wouldn't have to with her death.
Emma leaned back into the soft pillows of her bed. She felt so tired, so weak. She hated feeling like that. Irritably she yanked the IV's out of her arms. They weren't doing her any good anymore after all. After all, she was awake wasn't she? Emma fully intended to get a check-up when she got back to her house though.
Her house. She closed her eyes. With her house came her title as the White Queen of the Hellfire Club. Emma fought back tears. She was going back to her old life, one that she didn't want, hadn't wanted in years. Before her experiences with Muir Island she had become tired of keeping up the charade, spending more time with her daughter and working on her developing relationship. Now the idea of doing it again disgusted her.
The battle with the Phoenix had taught her that her strength hadn't come from the charade. It had come from herself, from a woman refined through fire. Emma had discovered that she wasn't the White Queen, not like she had always wanted to be, or thought she had to be to survive. Furiously she pushed away more tears. She wasn't the White Queen, and part of her would die if she had to go back to pretending she was now that she knew.
Still, what choice did she have? Where would she go if not back to her old life? She couldn't stay there with the X-men. Emma nearly laughed at the thought. They wouldn't take her and she wasn't sure she knew any other way to live than as the White Queen. Emma should have died during the battle, she really should have.
Megan teleported into the room, Emma's clothes in one hand and a syringe in the other. Emma frowned; she had taken quite a while. Still, finding her clothes might have been difficult. Silently Megan slipped the syringe under her skin and put the clothes on the foot of Emma's bed. With her help Emma managed to get up and get dressed, putting on the white clothes. With a sigh of defeat Emma gave herself one quick look in the mirror before deeming that she was satisfactory. Make-up would have to wait for the ride home.
"The chopper Megan," Emma said.
He daughter nodded and took her hand before teleporting them to the tarmac. Emma wobbled a bit, still feeling weak. Megan steadied her, looking worried.
"Maybe we should get you back," said Megan, "You don't look so good."
"Megan, I'm fine," reassured Emma.
Megan gave her a doubtful look. Frowning again Emma peeked into her mind. Her daughter usually didn't doubt her this much. She saw Scott's conversation with her, the offer of coming to the school. She saw Megan's hopes that the school would be good for her but her desperate desire not to have Emma die. They were all there, her view of Scott as a father figure, her desire to make a difference in the world. Emma felt a lump in her throat and withdrew from her daughter's mind. She hadn't expected that.
"I've been holding you back," she said blankly.
Megan shook her head.
"You haven't," she said.
Emma put both hands on Megan's shoulders.
"I should have seen it," said Emma, wobbling from the weakness of her body and the shock of her realization, "You're a woman grown but I never encouraged you to go off by yourself, find your own way in life. I just kept you close because I wanted you to stay…never thought about what you wanted…"
"What I want is to stay with you!" Megan said, her voice shrill, "Mom, I don't want to leave you! I want to stay with you and-"
"I should have encouraged you to go to college and-"
"Mom!" Megan protested.
"You should stay," whispered Emma, "I can get myself away but you should stay and-"
"I'm not going without you," Megan said.
Emma sighed and threw her hands up into a desperate shrug.
"Megan, there's a good life for you out there," she said, "One where you don't have to worry about people coming to kill you for power, a life of real safety. The X-men are dangerous, but less so than our life. You've been offered something good and you should take it. This offer won't be repeated when you turn it down the first time I'm sure. You should go with them, make your own life."
She gave a sad laugh.
"It's what I should have allowed you to do. What I should have done myself..."
A ferocious glint began in Megan's eyes.
"Do you want a normal life?" asked Megan desperately, "Then quit the Hellfire Club."
Emma blinked at her, feeling shocked.
"Quit the Club, stay on the Island," Megan continued, "Become a teacher. It's what you want to do. And I'll go to the school; you're right, I do want to. But no matter what you say I'm not going to abandon you."
"I can't stay," said Emma miserably, "I…they won't want me…"
"Is this about Scott?" pleaded Megan, "He loves you, I know he does. I know it's not going to be princess in carriages with shoes but I know you want it just as much as he does. But you both have to fight for it. You can't give up."
"Megan, don't do this," Emma said, shaking her head, "You don't know that for sure. He told you he cared for me, and I'm sure he does. But it's not enough...oh Megan...he wouldn't even try to stop me if I tried to leave."
She turned slowly, seeing Scott a few feet away from her. His crutches had been abandoned, although he put most of his weight on his right foot now. Emma couldn't see his eyes beneath his sunglasses but for the millionth time she wished she could, just to know what he was feeling. Swallowing hard she looked over at Megan. Her daughter looked at her pleadingly, although her eyes glimmered with guilt.
"You brought him here," she said.
"When I went to get the adrenaline," admitted Megan, "I know you've been unhappy for years...I knew you needed to talk to him...please just hear him out."
"Megan," sighed Emma.
"Just for ten minutes," begged Megan, "I'll be back in ten minutes, okay? And then, if you still don't want to, I'll take you away. Either way I'm staying with you."
With a fierce nod Megan teleported away. Her heart sinking Emma turned to Scott. He walked up to her until he was only a foot away.
"Scott, I'm not staying," she said, "I can't. It's not who I am."
"The schools are places for new beginnings," said Scott, "You can get one. I know you don't want to go back to the Hellfire Club."
"Your perfect friends won't want me," Emma snapped, "I'm a frigid creature whose murdered and built a power base on fear."
"Ororo used to be a thief living on the streets. We have no idea what the hell Logan was, but we know it wasn't savory. My brother was a convict," Scott said, "I could go on about the members of the Brotherhood that we took in, criminals, everyone we showed that there is such a thing as a second chance. If someone really wants to change we give them the opportunity."
His hand went out to touch her arm but she jerked away. He looked at her desperately.
"Please Emma," he said, "I want you to stay."
"You don't mean that," she said.
"It killed me to know that I could have lost you without letting you know…" Scott whispered, "without letting you know how much I love you. Emma…I can't lose you…"
"Don't Scott," said Emma.
"It won't be easy or perfect," he said, "I know that. But I swear to God that it doesn't matter. I'm willing to try for you if you're willing to-"
"Don't do this," Emma said, "You don't mean it, you're just trying to-"
"Emma," he said, his teeth clenched, "Read my mind."
"Read my mind."
She did, swallowing hard. She felt the familiar warmth roll into her, saw his despair at losing her. Emma nearly staggered when she felt joy at hearing she was awake and his pulling, needy desire for her to stay with him. Emma saw his feelings of responsibility for Megan. Scott wanted to be with Emma, was already beginning to see Megan as a daughter, saw that they could start a life together.
Emma opened her eyes and allowed tears to slide down her face.
"You don't have to fight to survive anymore," he said, "Emma, you don't have to be alone anymore. Stay, please stay."
Swallowing once more she stepped forward. This was, she knew, as important, if not more so, than the night she had first donned white. This was the true fall of the White Queen and the start of something else, the start of Emma Frost's true life. She didn't have to destroy to survive anymore; she had that choice again, and this time she would make the right one. Somewhere deep inside the girl with brown hair smiled at her.
Closing the distance between them Emma reached out and drew his head to hers in a kiss. He pulled her flush against him, his lips devouring hers in desperation. When she pulled away she rested her forehead against his, staying close. His arms were wrapped protectively around her and she smiled.
"We have a biology position open," Charles said, "I think she'll be good for that."
"We'll have to start Megan on some of the more advanced college courses," Moira observed, "I'm sure she'll fit into the standard schedule pretty well though, but it will probably be an accelerated one. She's smart and a hard worker"
"She has been in strict discipline her whole life," Charles agreed.
He leaned his head further back into the pillows of the sofa. Moira lay next to him on her side, one hand on his chest. It was reminiscent of the way they had done when they were younger on lazy afternoons in the school library. It always brought back so many memories for him when she was like that, always made him remember they had been newlywed and looking forward to the future with optimism.
They had a few weeks before he would return to the school. The X-men had already returned, needing to make preparations for the next school year. They would also be making preparations for him to come back. It would be rather interesting to see how they planned on explaining his return.
"I heard about Hank's phone call yesterday," said Moira.
"Yes, Ambassador to the United Nations Hank McCoy," Charles said, "Not officially announced yet, but it's coming. He's hiring his old staff back on."
"Our son is going to be the aide to an ambassador," Moira said, "Although I hear he's going for the House soon."
"He's certainly going to have an interesting resume when the time comes," observed Charles, "I'm not sure if he's going to include being in the X-Force, although from what I've seen people do like a war hero."
Charles smiled and took a few strands of her hair in his hand, twisting it around his finger aimlessly.
"Where is he anyway?" asked Charles.
"Now that Amanda's left Kurt's forming some solid plans for when she gets back," she said, "I hear he's looking at a few rings. Of course he needs his cousin with him for a second opinion. He's already planning out the method of proposal."
"He doesn't waste time."
"Charles, you had been with me for only six months when you proposed," Moira said, "And we'd been dating for five of those."
"Perhaps it's a family trait then," he said, "When we see the people we want to spend th rest of our lives with we know."
She smiled again as he pressed the back of her hand to his lips. To think that there had been a time when he hadn't had this woman waiting for him, knowing that she would stay with him when everyone else left.
"We're going to have our hands full when the Summers twins go to Westchester this fall," she said, "Although, if they're smart, perhaps I'll finally get the chance to tutor a Summers in Algebra this year."
"Well-" he started.
Charles stopped abruptly, pushing himself up slightly.
"What?" he asked.
"You heard me," said Moira, "As much as it may hurt to acknowledge, our son is grown. He's twenty-two Charles, nearly twenty-three. David is more than capable of protecting himself, and he's surrounded by good people. Now he's going into politics, going out into the world."
She touched his face.
"What I'm trying to say is that there is no longer any reason for me to remain on Muir Island," she said, "I'm giving the reigns over to Alex officially in a few days. The rest of the staff is staying on so it should be fine. And when you go to Westchester, I'm coming with you."
He stared at her.
"But, the danger-"
"Charles, I lost you," she said, her voice breaking, "I lost you and I was left with so many regrets, regrets that I didn't join you sooner. I want to live with you as your wife again, not separated like we've been all these years."
The hand on his chest fisted in the cloth of his shirt.
"And before you say anything about all the good I'm doing with my genetics research I'm not giving up my work, I'm just relocating it," she said.
"Charles," Moira sighed, "I don't want to be left behind. I've been left behind so much and...I want to be with you now. When you or I die, for real, then…then I don't want there to be any regrets left behind. I just want the memories of joy, of the times we had together."
Moira closed her eyes briefly and a tear rolled down her cheek. His heart twisted when he saw how much pain she had been in, how much she had lost when he had died. He closed his own eyes, remembering something that had happened long ago, a promise that he had never been able to fulfill.
"But I can't give you anything. If...if we were to stay together I probably couldn't even give you children."
He shook his head when she tried to say something in protest.
"Don't deny it," Charles said, "I've seen your mind; I know how badly you want them. But I won't be able to give you that. All you would have is-"
"You," she finished for him, "You asked me a question Charles and I gave you my answer. Nothing's going to change it; that's where I want to be in ten years. I can see it, can you?"
A single tear fell from his eye. Charles opened his eyes again and stared into hers.
"Yes sweetheart, yes I can," he said, his voice low, "And that's why I think you should look at your hands."
Moira looked down. A diamond ring had been slipped onto her finger. Her hands had been so numb with cold that she hadn't noticed. She looked up at him.
"So?" he asked.
She reached up and kissed him. Charles' arms wrapped warmly around her. He held her close as the snow continued to fall around them.
Charles placed his hands over hers. Perhaps it wasn't too late to fulfill that promise after all. Her eyes opened again, her brown eyes staring into his blue. He smiled at her, squeezing her hand tightly.
"I want nothing more than for you to come with me," he said, "And as long as you want Moira, you have me."
Her eyes filled with tears.
"Always," she whispered, "I want always Charles."
"Always sweetheart," he agreed before sealing his promise with a kiss, "Always."
A/N: And that's the end of The X-Force! I just did the word count and found out that this fic was actually 279 pages on Microsoft Word. If you've read this, you've essentially just read a full-sized book of fanfiction. Thanks for sticking with it for the 74 days it took to write!
I had a really great time writing this; there were so many different relationships to explore between the characters and I'm excited about the number of them I got to use. Kurt is my favorite X-man, you might have guessed from this particular fic. His ability to bring out the best in people was a really admirable quality, as well as his overall faith in the goodness of people. It was also another opportunity to use the whole 'bad-guys-with-good-guy-kids' which I enjoyed doing so much in 'Sins of the Father'.
Also, I had a great time using Moira as a main character. Like Emma she gets passed over in so many fanfics for a leading role. Still, they're both really interesting people with diverse motivations when you read thier history. Obviously the First Class Emma and Moira are different from the comic Emma and Moira, but still.
Charles and Moira obviously cared about each other in First Class. When the Blackbird crashed Charles made sure she was alright before checking on Raven. Moira was the reason these fics got written, a real 'what-if' about if her relationship with Charles worked out and, if so, why she wouldn't be in the films. She would have to be strong to start with, which she obviously was. However, Charles isn't the safest person to be around and any woman who was going to stand with him for 20+ years would have to decide that he was worth all the heartache he'd cause. I think Moira loved him enough and was strong enough to do it.
I'd like to thank all of you who have been reviewing, especially actressen who has continually added the stories in this series to her community, ShiroNeko316, lovelylittlewren, QueenoftheSouthernSun, noamg, KuryakinGirl, batfan, and Coyote Blues who gave me most of the German words you see Kurt using. Thanks for reading everyone!