Elisabeth Summers sat silently in the co-pilot's seat of the Blackbird as it flew away from where the Ultramites' base had once been. Nothing remained, the burning mass it had been disappearing as the Ultramites themselves has done. Hopefully, they were gone for good.
But where did that leave her? She'd gone back to the past in order to save time itself, and now that she had, where did that leave her?
She glanced behind her at Craig. Was she selfish to want to stay behind, to be with him? She thought about what Rachel had said. What if time wasn't linear? What if she had been meant to go back in time and fall in love with Craig? Could she have always been so miserable in her own time because it wasn't where she was supposed to be?
She watched as Briana tried to talk to him, and Craig turned away. Lizzie smiled to herself. At least she'd prevented that…
But Lizzie felt herself torn between what she needed to do and what she wanted most in the world. Her love for Craig was something that had always gone unrequited, but now, in this time, things could be different. She could make him happy, give him what he'd never had in the future she knew, and in turn, find her own happiness as well.
Lizzie sighed. The vision of it seemed wonderful to her, but at what cost? She closed her eyes and leaned back in the chair, wishing an easy answer would come to her, but knowing it wouldn't.
*** *** ***
Vicky looked down at Emil as he lay unconscious on the bed in the medlab. Thanks to Shi'ar technology, the scarring would be minimal, but he was still recovering.
With one act, he'd completely shattered everything she'd thought about him. Vicky had always thought she was good at judging people, but Emil Lapin…
There was more to him than met the eye, that was for sure. The question was, was he the more himself when he was risking his life for her, or was that just a fluke, and his true personality was closer to the smelly gator boy she'd come to know?
Emil's deep blue eyes flittered open, and he managed a small smile at Vicky. "Hey, chère."
Vicky jumped a little, startled. "Hey."
"You been sittin' by my bed playin' Florence Nightin'gale?"
Vicky snorted. "Hardly."
"De X-Men save de day?"
"Yeah, we did."
"Good. Guess I'm done here for now, den."
"Are you going back to Louisiana?"
"Yeah. Lots of women be disappointed if I don'."
"I think maybe that blow made you delusional."
"Dat's what you t'ink. I'm de bad boy of de bayou, chère."
Vicky smirked, but then her expression grew serious. "Emil?"
"How'd you know?"
Vicky sighed. "What was going to happen in that base."
"I didn't. I said you were gonna die, and you didn't."
"But I would have if you hadn't saved me."
"Can't prove dat."
"You can see things, can't you Emil—things that haven't happened yet."
"Non!" Emil snapped, making Vicky jump. "I don' see not'in'!" He rolled over. "I'm tired. I want to rest."
Vicky stood up. "Yeah." She got as far as the door before stopping and looking back over at Emil. "Thank you though—for saving my life."
Emil looked at her, a bright smile on his face. "My pleasure, chère."
*** *** ***
"I'm about to go to the airport."
Craig didn't look up from the copy of the Wall Street Journal he was reading. "That's nice, Briana."
"I'm going back to England, and I probably won't ever come back."
"Don't let the door hit you on the way out."
Craig threw down the paper, the look in his eyes startling Briana. "What? Do you want me to beg you not to go? Do you want me to go with you? What is it, Briana…what is it you want?"
"I…I don't know!" Briana exclaimed with a sob. "I just want you!"
"Well you're not going to get me."
"Why? Why won't you love me anymore? I told you I was sorry for hurting you—I won't do it again."
"There's someone else."
Briana was silent for a moment before asking, "Do you love her?"
"Not yet, but I think I could."
"Oh. So…that's it for us then."
"I hope she makes you happy."
"I hope you find someone who makes you happy."
Briana didn't tell him that she thought she already had. She walked out to the taxi where Peter was waiting for her.
*** *** ***
Elisabeth leaned against the wall. Craig had told Briana there was someone else! Could she dare hope that he was speaking honestly, and he meant her?
Elisabeth shook her head. It didn't matter. She was going back to her time, back to a Craig Marshall too far gone to be capable of love.
She froze, then slowly turned around. "Craig?"
"You been there long?"
"I…um…" Elisabeth stammered, not wanting to admit that she'd overheard his conversation with Briana.
Craig reached out, touching her face. "Would it be incredibly selfish of me to ask you to stay here?"
Elisabeth felt her heart sink. This was what she wanted to hear most in the world, but at the same time it hurt her to no end. She'd only wanted to help Craig, and now she was causing him more pain. "I can't…"
"It isn't right."
Craig took both her hands in his. "Don't make me wait, Lizzie."
"Wait for what?"
"For you. You leave now, and I'm going to have to wait a lifetime for you to be born and grow-up so I can love you."
"I know you weren't happy there, that you felt like you didn't belong. Maybe it only means you belong here."
"You don't even know me," Elisabeth said softly.
"No, but I want to. Something about you calls to me. I can't help it."
Elisabeth was going to be strong, was going to tell she had to go whether she wanted to or not. But then Craig kissed her, and she knew she couldn't leave. Consequences be damned, this was her time now.
After all, how important was time anyway?
*** *** ***
Not the best in the series, I know, but it was meant to be sort of a transition between the earlier books and the ones I have planned out now. I have one short sort of "interlude" planned before things start to get more serious for the X-Men. Drop me a line and let me know what you thought!
Also, I'm curious to know if anyone's interested in seeing a reconciliation between Addie and Ric in a later book. If you are, let me know!