Before the Blast

A/N: Sooo I'm at Govie School now (woot woot), hence why I haven't been writing this lately. But I want to finish this story, so here goes the last chapter….

oOo

Chapter 5: 1 Day after the Explosion

(8 AM)

Kitty woke up in her bed. She wasn't sure how she'd gotten there, but when she opened her eyes, she definitely felt sheets, warm blankets. She sat up swiftly and small gasp escaped from her lips.

Is this a dream? She wondered, closing her eyes. She remembered walking down the hall at the institute with Amara. They were laughing at a joke about Angel, having fun, just chilling. And then there was a rush of air, followed by darkness. When she woke up, everything was gone. The school. The students. Everything. In one instant, her world became a shattered mess of debris, swirling embers, heavy smoke, and distant cries. It made her feel sick inside. And then, the world had gone dark again and she'd woken up here.

"Mom?" she called weakly, hoping to bring some clarity to her fuzzy world.

A few moments later, her mother appeared in the doorway, as if she'd been waiting outside. "Kitty," she said softly, coming to sit beside her daughter on the bed. Her face was tight with worry and tears threatened to break lose at the corners of her eyes.

"Mom, why am I here? I was at school and there was a…a blast of some kind and it was terrible. Like, everything was gone. Like the building and the students." She gasped for a moment. "Ohmygosh are they ok? Someone might be hurt or worse….where's the professor? What happened? Why am I here, mommy?" Her voice got louder and louder and fear creeped into it as she spoke.

Her mother stroked her face tenderly and pressed her lips together sadly. "Mr. Logan brought you to our house last night. You were unconscious and your father and I worried you were hurt but we were scared to take you to a hospital and we've spent all night worrying about you…." Her mother too a breath. "Mr. Logan explained what happened. Sort of. There was an…explosion of sorts. Like maybe a bomb or something. The whole school is gone and most of the students are missing. The police and fire department were all over the place last night. It was so horrible…" she trailed off.

Kitty sat back and closed her eyes. "Oh god," she whispered. Who was dead? Who was alive? Had the MRD showed up? Where were her teachers? Her friends? They were her life. Without them, she had nothing…The notion made her sick in the deepest pit of her stomach. She wanted to throw up.

Kitty's mother rubbed the back of her hand comfortingly. "I don't know exactly what happened, but I'm just so glad you're safe. We heard some of the kids, well…"

"'Some of the other kids' what, mom?" Kitty asked. Her throat closed up.

Her mother swallowed. "There were about six casualties."

Kitty burst into tears. "No!" she screamed, burying her face in her trembling hands. Her brain raced at a hundred miles an hour. Who had died? Amara? Jean? Tabby? Angel? Kurt? Bobby? One of the younger students? She couldn't bear the thought. It made her stomach lurch and twist.

She cried for almost two hours.

(10 AM)

Kurt woke up in a tree. He was stiff and tired. His limbs were heavy, like they'd been infused with lead. His brain was fuzzy; it hurt to think. He sat up on the branch he'd been sleeping on and looked around slowly. Angel was on a branch just below him, his sprawling white wings spread out wide.

"Warren," Kurt hissed sharply. Angel shifted in his sleep slightly but didn't otherwise react. Kurt decided to let him sleep. He did a little bit of stretching before standing up on his branch and crawling down the side of the tree trunk. On the ground, circling the base of the tree, were several other students. Amara. Sam. Rogue. Scott—anyone who didn't have a home to go to. Logan had taken Bobby, Kitty, and a few other students home late last night.

Kurt sighed. His chest was heavy; there was a deep pit in his stomach that made him feel sick. He sighed again and sat down next to a sleeping Amara. Amara's face was tight, even in her sleep. Kurt frowned as he examined her expression. Her eyes were crunched at the edges, her jaw was tense. Her breaths were shallow and short. Kurt could even hear her racing heartbeat.

Gott, she's so young, he thought sadly, closing his eyes and leaning back against the cool bark of the tree. Where is she going to live? He paused and took a deep breath. Where am I going to live? The pit in his stomach suddenly got deeper. Do I have to go back to Germany? God no. Please God no. He ran a list of possibilies through his head. I could get a job, live in an apartment. Or Angel and I could….move in with his….never mind. I think I'd rather live on the—

"Kurt. Kurt?"

Kurt opened one eye slowly. Logan was standing a few feet away, his arms crossed defensively. "You awake kid?"

"Ja. Vhere have you been?"

Logan extended an arm and pulled Kurt to his feet. "Out and about. I checked out the school for a bit. Checked on Ororo and Hank."

"Vhat's going on at the school? Und yeah vhere are Storm and Hank?" Kurt had noticed their absences earlier.

Logan shrugged and shoved his hands in his pockets. "The schools a mess. There's cops and news reporters everywhere. We just better lay low for a bit. Storm and Hank are hiding out in the underground bunker. I couldn't convince them to leave."

Kurt swallowed. "How many?"

He and Logan met eyes and Logan knew what he meant. "Right now, six from what the news reports are stating. They don't have names yet. The bodies are too"—

"Stop, please stop," Kurt interrupted. "I don't vant to know." Logan nodded and put a hand on his thin shoulder.

"I'm sorry, elf. None of this is supposed t'happen. It just ain't right. You kids need homes. Lives. You don't deserve any f'this."

"What's going to happen to us?" he asked quietly.

Logan shook his head. "I dunno kid. Angel can always go back to his father. Amara can….go back to South America I suppose…."

"Vhat about me?"

Logan was silent for a while. Kurt was one of his favorite students. Hell, he practically felt like his father sometimes. He didn't want Kurt to go back to Germany, but he had no home in America now. "I don't know."

Kurt nodded. "Figures as much," he muttered quietly to himself.

He turned around and sat down under the tree again. "I'm going back to sleep," he told Logan. "Maybe I'll wake up, and zis has all been some sort of horrible nightmare."

Logan frowned and said, "Yeah, kid, we all wish that were true."

oOo

(1 P.M)

Warren had never felt so bad in his life, except maybe when his father disowned him. He woke up and sat on his tree branch thinking for almost an hour. When his head hurt from that, he climbed down and joined Kurt, Scott, and the other students who were awake. They sat around eating chewy bars that Amara had had in her backpack. The silence was awkward, tense, like a physical weight around the students.

After eating, Amara cried and went back to sleep. Bobby wandered off to clear his head, and Scott sat down under the tree again, cold and lifeless. Kurt wandered off with Angel into the forest nearby. Angel turned to Kurt as if he wanted to say something, but when their eyes met, the only thing he could do was sigh and put his head on Kurt's shoulder.

"I feel like this is a dream or something," Angel groaned. "I'm not even sure I'm awake sometimes. I mean, I'm not even going to try to understand what all happened last night—because I have no idea—and now I can't stop wondering about where we're all going to live and who's going to feed us and keep us safe. I mean, who's going to look after Amara? She's just a little kid. And Bobby's hardly any older. We're hardly any older. What's going to happen to us now?"

He paused and took another breath. Kurt patted his blonde, feathery hair silently and shook his head. "I am as confused as you are, mein friend. But we'll be alright."

"How do you know?" Angel whispered.

"Because. We always are."

oOo

(2:00 P.M.)

Emma didn't want to step into the house. She didn't want to face her friends and colleagues. See their disappointed, furious faces. She could already feel their minds pressing against hers like walls closing her in. She swallowed all of her apprehension and opened the door. The grey-haired telepath was on the other side. His face was impassive, unreadable.

He regarded her coldly, with steely eyes that pierced at her like knives. In the main room of the old house, the others were waiting for her. The cuckoos were a few feet behind Emma; they kept their distance. Emma looked at each of the telepaths in the room and bowed her head in shame.

"Brothers, sisters, I have failed you," she whispered.

The initial response she got was sharp thoughts in her head, stabbing at her brain. She cringed but took her punishment silently. When the stabbing thoughts retreated, the dark haired telepath with green eyes spoke up.

"Yes, you have failed. Jean Grey is nowhere to be found, nor are any of the other students for that matter. Dammit Emma you were supposed to get the girl, not have her blow the place sky high."

"It wasn't my fault," Emma said weakly. "I didn't expect the Phoenix to be so easy to unleash. It was more volatile than you can possibly imagine. I barely had to pry at her mind, and it all broke loose. There was nothing I could do to stop it."

The group was silent for a few minutes. Emma felt bad enough for destroying the school, but she was more upset about disappointing her fellow telepaths. She spoke after a while: "I did manage to go in and recover Charles Xavier's body. He's still alive. I have him in our car outside. Perhaps we could use him to find the girl again," she suggested.

The ginger-haired telepath replied to this. "Do you believe the girl is still alive?"

"Yes. I felt her mind after the explosion. She survived it I'm sure."

"And how do you propose we use Xavier's body to our advantage?" one of the telepaths interjected.

"We could give him to Magneto."

They all stared at Emma. "Whatever for?"

"Because. I have a plan worked out," Emma said, her voice growing louder and more confident. "I'm going to save the X-men."

oOo

(6:00 P.M.)

Logan was standing on a hilltop that overlooked a lazy highway. His hat was cocked forward on his head so that it shaded his eyes. He'd had a long day. He'd had to take several students home and say goodbye to them and their families. He hated saying goodbye. He never told anyone, but he hated it.

He'd had to talk to the remaining students about what was next. Comfort them, answer questions, explain about what had happened—or at least try to. He wasn't even sure himself. It was all over so fast, and then everything was in slow motion, like a horror film. He felt that pit in his stomach that everyone had now. He felt empty inside. Where was the professor? They hadn't found a body, and he hadn't escaped. And what about Storm and Hank? What would happen to them? Would they ever be able to leave what remained of the Institute?

A faint sound drew him from his thoughts. He heard a fast heartbeat gradually increasing, and he recognized it as Kurt's. "What is it, elf?" Logan asked dryly. He wasn't in the mood to talk. He just wanted to be alone and think.

Kurt stepped up beside him and looked down on the highway as well. His face was a mask, but his eyes were full of sadness. "I'm leaving," he replied.

Shocked, Logan looked up and met his student's eyes. "What?"

Kurt shrugged and shifted around nervously. "I don't know. I don't have a home now, und I've never really felt like I belonged anyvhere, except vhen I vas at the school. Now zat it's gone….I have nothing."

"You could get a job. Work. Live somewhere," Logan suggested quickly. The last thing he wanted to hear was that Kurt was throwing himself back on the streets. "You don't have to do this, kid."

"Come on, Logan," Kurt chuckled darkly. "Who vould hire me? Who vould give me a place to stay? At least if I'm on my own I can do things mein way."

"Go back t'being a thief, you mean?"

Kurt shrugged. "I hope not."

Logan thought for a minute before saying, "Well, you could stay with me, if you want, you know."

Kurt glanced up, his face a mixture of surprise and doubt. "You vould hate it if I did."

"Naw I wouldn't."

"You vould. Besides, I like to alone too."

Logan reached out and put a hand on Kurt's shoulder. "You ain't s'pposed to be alone."

"Do I have a choice?" Kurt asked bitterly.

Logan let his hand fall to his side. "I don't want you to go, kid."

Kurt smiled a tiny smile. "I know. But don't worry about me. I can take care of meinself."

Logan noticed for the first time that Kurt had a backpack on and was wearing a hat to shroud his face. He couldn't believe he hadn't noticed before, but his mind wasn't fully there. He sighed and pulled Kurt into a hug, realizing this was goodbye. Kurt hugged him back.

"Take care of yourself, elf."

Kurt smiled a little at hearing his pet-name. "Ja. I vill."

He broke free from Logan's fierce grasp and stepped back before vanishing in a puff of smoke with a loud bamf. Logan blinked. Kurt was just….gone. He might not ever see him again. Ever. The hole in his chest got deeper.

oOo

(8:00 PM)

When Kitty heard a knock on the door she stayed on the couch and stared blankly at the wall. Her mother had to answer the door, to see Angel and Bobby on the other side. Kitty's mother frowned but let them in, knowing that their presence might comfort her daughter.

Angel and Bobby sat on either side of Kitty and gave her a mutual hug. Kitty looked from Bobby to Angel and managed a weak smile. "What are you doing here, guys?" she asked in a bare whisper.

Angel sighed. "Checking on you."

There was silence for a minute. Then, "You know, I was just watching the news report on TV about the school," said Kitty. "It didn't really hurt that much." She glanced at Angel and Bobby's faces. "Is that bad, that it doesn't hurt?"

"You're just numb," Bobby said. "We all are."

Kitty nodded barely. "Yeah." She looked at Bobby. "What's going on with everyone else? Logan didn't tell my mom too much last night, and she didn't tell me too much either."

Bobby shrugged. "I was in the same situation until just recently, when Angel came by. Logan sent me home."

Kitty turned to Angel. He just shrugged. Logan's been sending kids home. The rest of us…well, we're not sure what to do. Scott's barely functional, poor guy. And Amara and Sam and dead to the world right now. Hell, so am I."

Kitty looked at the carpet. "So, are you going to live with your father?"

Angel made a face of weary disgust. "I hope it doesn't come to that," he said. "But I might have to, if you know, homelessness doesn't work out for me."

Kitty's eyes darted up to his face. "You can stay with me and my family," she offered quietly. "You don't have to stay on the streets."

Angel shook his head. "I couldn't as that of you, Kitty."

"It would be ok, really," she insisted.

"Yeah, or you could stay with me," Bobby added.

Angel put up his hand. "No," he said firmly. "It's really ok."

Kitty sighed in resignation. "Who else is left?"

Angel shrugged. "Not too many. Some of the younger students. And Rogue."

"Where's Kurt?" Kitty asked suddenly, remembering he hadn't been mentioned. She prayed to God he was alive.

Angel sat back on the couch. "He left this afternoon. Decided to take it solo, I guess."

Kitty exhaled with relief. "He could have stayed with one of us."

"I think we all just want to be alone right now," Angel said.

Kitty sat forward on the couch and looked angrily at both boys. "No! We have to stay together. We have nothing left….but each other. We can't just split up."

Angel sadly lowered his eyes and gave Kitty another hug. "It's a bit too late for that, I think," he said. "It's over. The X-men are over."

Kitty closed her eyes and started to cry. She and Bobby both knew Angel was right. The three of them sat there on Kitty's couch in defeated silence. There was nothing else to do.

oOo

*Fin*

OMG I finally finished it! Yay. See? I would never abandon you guys. I love you all too much. Anyway, sorry the last chapter drags on a bit. But I didn't know how to end it! I had to re-write like 6 times. Hope you like the end. :D

-The Ember Raven