A/N: And I'm back for the final installment of the trilogy! School is going to be starting up soon, but I'm going to continue to try to update daily. I've got a pretty good record, so I don't want to break that. Hope you all enjoy!
November 20, 1965
"Wake up, wake up!"
Charles began to open his eyes just as he felt a weight on his stomach. He groaned and heard a corresponding giggle. He managed to push himself up and switched on the lamp next to his bed. The light revealed his five-year old son sitting on his stomach, clad in his striped pajamas. David's brown eyes looked him over, his lips forming into a pout even before Charles could say anything.
"Come on," he said.
"Come where?" Charles groaned.
"It's November twentieth," David said.
Charles made a show looking surprised and glancing at the calendar next to his bed. It was all for his son's benefit though. He had known what day it was before he had even opened his eyes. It was hard not to know what day it was when you spent almost the entire afternoon of the day before getting your dress uniform ready for it.
"So it is," he said, patting his son on the back in congratulations, "And may I ask why I get this special wake-up call instead of your mother?"
"Because she's already up," David said.
He glanced next to him. True to his words Moira's side of the bed was empty. He ran his hand over it, hoping that he was not as late as it looked. To his dismay, but not entirely to his surprise, it was cold. Charles groaned. She had beaten him for another year. It was becoming a pattern.
"Alright, alright," he said, "I'm coming, but you have to get off my stomach. Do you understand that?"
"Sure dad," David said.
He slid off the bed. Charles followed suit, rubbing his eyes and putting on his slippers. David hopped from one foot to another in impatience.
"Breakfast is ready by the way," David said.
"Mmm yes, coffee sounds good right about now," Charles said, "Makes me feel much better than little munchkins jostling me awake."
He reached down and grabbed David. David laughed as Charles hoisted him into the air.
"No more of this, do you hear?" he asked.
"I hear," David said.
"Are you sure?" asked Charles.
"I'm sure," David said.
Charles nodded, although he knew that his son had no intention of putting an end to his morning wake-up calls. He didn't even need to read his mind to know that, and he knew that very little save the onset of maturity would stop him from enjoying himself. Charles just had to ask. He did so every year after all.
Shifting David's weight he left the room. David wound his arms around his neck as they went down the staircase. The house they were living in was in one of the rebuilt neighborhoods. After the Night of Fire the government had thrown itself into ambitious building projects to restore the buildings that had been destroyed.
They had had to do more than just restore the buildings though. They had had to rebuild them bigger and better. It had been Erik's idea, but Charles had agreed with it. They had to show the nations of the world that, while Genosha was recovering, it was in no way weak. Many of the projects had alarmingly short deadlines, but with the specialized talents of the Genoshan population they were able to pull it off. Many people who had lost their homes had a roof over their heads by the end of the fall.
Charles had held out on taking a house, leaving them for Genoshan civilians. Instead he took Erik's invitation of moving his family into the palace for a while. The building had suffered some damage, although nothing like one would have expected. The Hellions and X-men who had protected the building had done a good show of making it look as though the government was operating from inside while doing a fine job of defending it.
Under ordinary circumstances he might have tried for one of the houses that were going up sooner though. He did have two very young children and another who was not yet twelve. Moira was still recovering from her ordeal during childbirth. For a long time her white blood cell count had been dangerously low. She had been on IV's and a special diet for six months after the birth of their second son.
There were reasons for staying in the palace though. He could tell that his friend was still suffering the aftermath of his wife's death. Susanna's absence had hung over the palace in a tangible cloud. Charles knew that Erik was unlikely to talk about his grief, but he hoped that he could provide some unspoken support.
After almost a year most of the houses had gone up and Charles had moved his family out. They weren't living in their old neighborhood anymore. Instead they were nearer to the Institute, which cut commuting time for Rahne and, in the future, David and Kevin. It increased the commuting time for him and Moira though, although he considered it a paltry price to pay.
The new house was spacious, designed by several Genoshan architects to have the comfort of an American or English house, but with a few twists that would make it look as though it uniquely belonged to the island nation. Glass was used both as decoration and dividers in some places; glass was cheap after all. It reminded him a bit of an art deco house that had been done in the future, but with more matte and smoother floors.
He looked down. He could see that Moira was in the kitchen, putting the finishing touches on a stack of pancakes. Kevin was by her side, one of his hands clutching the edge of her bathrobe and the other scratching the side of his head. Rahne was in the kitchen as well, grabbing a stack of plates. She balanced them on her fingertips while picking out the cutlery.
"You know we don't like it when you do that," Moira said.
"I've got it," Rahne said.
"You're setting a bad example for your brother," Moira said.
"Don't worry about it," Rahne grinned, "I've got great balance."
With a tilt of her head she walked towards the table. Kevin peered around his mother's leg to look at her as she flicked each dish to its place. She took more care with the cutlery, but there was no concealing that each movement was a toss. Kevin giggled when she finished and Rahne looked back at her mother in triumph.
"See?" she said.
"I see a teenager showing off," Moira said.
"Ah, don't be like that," Rahne said.
"Your mother's right," Charles said, descending the last step, "I don't know what they teach you in the Acolyte program, but it's bad form to go around flinging dishes."
Rahne rolled her eyes and began gathering cups. At fifteen years old she had been enrolled in the Acolyte program at the Institute for a year. When she had gotten ready to enroll in classes for her freshman year she had presented them with her intended plan. He wondered if she had expected them to be proud of her. When they'd told her they needed to talk it over she had certainly seemed surprised enough.
They hadn't had long to discuss it because of the rapid deadline for enrollment. Moira had advocated it; by her speech to them she could tell that Rahne had thought quite a bit before announcing her intention. She was also a former CIA agent. She'd seen firsthand that the need for defense had to be a priority.
In the end Charles had let her go with some reservations, remembering his original protests to the program. He could still remember the outlines for the program before they had been edited. After the events of her childhood and the Night of Fire he couldn't begrudge her learning how to protect herself though.
At the sound of his voice Kevin turned around. He smiled, his blue eyes lighting up. Charles wondered how long he had been watching Moira cook. Kevin was showing a high level of curiosity at four years old, just as David had. However, unlike David Kevin kept his observations to himself on many things, making him the quietest child in the family.
Now that they were at the bottom of the staircase Charles put David on the ground. He grabbed Kevin's hand and scurried with him to the table, sitting down at the nearest place setting. Kevin sat next to him, smiling at his father and putting his hands on the table. Rahne ruffled David's hair and flicked one of the cups towards Kevin, making him smile.
Moira looked back at Charles and grinned.
"Looks like sleeping beauty's up," she said.
"I'm glad you think I'm beautiful," Charles said, "You're not so bad yourself."
She shook her head and poured out another pancake. Charles glanced out the portico to the dining room. He made sure that all of their children were occupied before he put his hands around Moira's waist, resting his head on her shoulder. She leaned back her head so that it touched his before resuming her work.
"So," he said, "how long until Raven and Azazel get here?"
"About three hours," Moira said.
"So we have three hours until complete and utter chaos," Charles said, "And one of those is going to be taken up getting ready."
"At least one," Moira said, "You can never get the braid straps right. It makes me wonder how you managed to do anything at all before I came."
"The answer to that, love, is not very well," Charles said.
"Happy engagement," he said.
"Happy announcement day," Moira answered.
Charles made a gesture with his hand.
"Engagement day," he said, "As it happens I do know something happened with the United Nations and Genosha, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was."
"Right answer," Moira said.
He sighed and buried his face in her hair. It had been seven years ago that Genosha had announced its presence to the rest of the world. So much had happened since then, both in the world and their small island. His personal and political life had shifted, and the world had moved in its orbit.
There would be a ceremony later that day commemorating the historic day. He knew that Levine was coming, despite the fact that his new job as Director of the CIA was time consuming. He had been a part of the first officially sanctioned alliance between humans and mutants, working together for a common goal.
Charles was also aware that a monument was going up to commemorate the date. It was rather special touch to the date, especially considering how many members of that original alliance, the Starjammers in particular, had died for that cooperation since then. He thought of Christopher Summers before sighing.
"It still doesn't mean that there's much time," he said, "Lovely."
Moira gave him a side look.
"There would've been more if you'd been up on time," Moira said.
"But where's the fun in that?" Charles asked.
Charles jerked his head in the direction of the dining room.
"Besides," he said, "it's becoming something of a family tradition for me to be late. You wouldn't want to deprive David of his fun."
"He does enjoy shaking you awake, doesn't he?" Moira said.
"He jumped on me this year," Charles said.
"Oh?" asked Moira, "He's getting creative."
She leaned her head back and kissed him. Moira pulled back just as Rahne walked into the room. She shook her head and opened the refrigerator.
"Look, you guys can do your kissy thing after breakfast, okay?"
Charles released Moira's waist as she put the last pancake on the plate.
"You'll realize it's not so bad someday," he said.
Rahne shook her head. Charles noted that she had put her hair back, already started getting ready to attend the ceremony with her parents later that afternoon. David and Kevin were too young to be exposed to such attention from the media, but Rahne had reached an age where it was expected of her to appear with them.
From the state of her hair and washed face he realized that she was more ready than her parents were to meet the crowds.
"Maybe for me," she said, "Not for you guys though."
She smirked before taking the milk out. Rahne walked into the next room and Charles shook his head.
"She has far too much of you in her," he said.
"And if she had more of you she'd be better behaved?" Moira asked.
He considered the question for a moment.
"Probably not," he said.
"Never mind," Moira said.
She kissed him on the cheek before taking the plate.
"Let's go and have some domestic bliss before the rest of the day takes over," Moira said, "Sound good to you?"
"Sounds wonderful," he said.