Takes place 2 years after Apocalypse, 1 year after the Phoenix. The mutant problem has grown and a obscure general named William Stryker thinks he has a solution. Has Scott/Jean, Wanda/Kurt, Kitty/...
Chapter 22: Resolve
As more days passed for the surviving remnants of the X-men, Brotherhood, and Acolytes things gradually began to recover from Magneto's revelation. While Wanda still kept her distance from her father, she managed to control her anger and many of the others went above and beyond trying to cheer her up. While Kurt was by far the biggest help through this difficult time, Wanda Maximoff finally began to see the others as friends as well instead merely as former enemies that she was stuck with.
Pietro was also finally up and about as he speedy body chemistry helped him heal for the most part, however he was still in pain when not on pain killers and couldn't run at his usual speed. He often needed help from others in getting around, but now he had gotten to the point where he pretty much able to limp everywhere he needed to go. And just like Wanda, he kept his distance from his father. While he still needed help at times with his injuries, he never asked Magneto for help. In addition to being up and about, he used the opportunity to finally come clean with Wanda and start anew.
For the most recent addition to the base, Alex Summers, he took the time to get to know everybody he was unfamiliar with now that he was pretty much stuck here indefinitely. He quickly became friends with Piotr and Pietro as also grew friendly with Mystique. For her, it was the first time she could actually meet somebody who didn't know a thing about her past and start from scratch. Being just Raven Darkholm and not Mystique had really done wonders for her state of mind and in making friends with Alex and further getting to know her son, she felt more sure than ever that this is truly who she was at heart.
As for Piotr Rasputin, he also remained distant from Magneto along with the Maximoff twins. He still found it so hard to believe that others, like Kitty in particular, were still willing to believe him when he said that he had changed. For the Russian mutant that had been hurt and deceived so many times before, it was hard for him ever to see that in a man that had always come off as a liar. Kitty Pryde, the girl who had remarkably managed to connect with the man somehow, had come to occupy his mind more than any other of the residents of the base. Her actions had simply bewildered him in wanting to help Magneto of all people and Mystique, who if he recalled blew up her home once before. He often found himself talking to her...Trying to make sense of her actions and how she, and the rest of her friends for that matter, could be so compassionate in a way he was so unused to seeing outside his small home in Russia.
As for Magneto himself, he was definitely very different after he told Wanda the truth and confronted her and Pietro about his new resolve. He knew his children needed time...But that didn't make it hurt any less for him. Feeling withdrawn from his kids had been a great source of despair for the old man, but he never gave up hope...He truly wanted to believe that some day they would forgive him. In the mean time...He only lightly conversed with some of the base inhabitance. Among those he talked to were Kitty, Scott, Jean, and Mystique. They helped him not feel so alone and even encouraged him to remain hopeful for his kids. And the more he talked to them, the resolved he felt about the choice he made on that fateful night he told Wanda the truth.
Days were spent mostly gathering what information they could about events outside the base. They quickly learned that the news hadn't gotten any better for mutants everywhere as bogus reports of mutant plots and conspiracies stirred the public into a frenzy of unbridled fear. There were some reports that were downright strange...Like stories about mutants how mutants created Apocalypse as a decoy and fought to beat him so they could bide their time against the humans. Other bogus stories like reports of a vast cache of futuristic weapons underneath the Xavier Institute and the Brotherhood boarding house further dampened public perception. Even scientists were brought in to fan the flames of hatred, presenting strange evidence that the mutant gene causes inherent madness and leads to murderous destruction on any individual that inherits it. While the news was carefully worded to mask the attacks and whoever was behind it...The remnant survivors knew that much of it was downright false...But there was little any of them could do about it.
It was in the early hours of the afternoon as Alex Summers casually stood near the lake outside the base and quietly skipped rocks across the relatively still water. He had chosen to come up here alone...Away from the depressing, dark base below that was nothing like the wide open spaces he enjoyed back in Hawaii. As he skipped another stone across the water...Alex yearned to be back home basking in the warm sun. This far north was just too cold for him, even in the summer. There was no cool ocean breeze that constantly refreshed him like there was back in Hawaii. Here...The wind was so sporadic. It would be dead calm one moment and full of a cold breeze the next. It was not his type of weather...But he knew he had little choice in dealing with it at this point.
"Man...This blows..." muttered Alex as he thought about everything that had happened so recently.
He had spent some time trying to get into contact with his foster parents just to see if they were okay...But like before, he got only busy signals and voice boxes. He worried that whoever had found out where he was must have gotten that location from his parents...And he worried for their safety. In the back of his mind he hoped that they were okay...But he had a sickening feeling that if whoever tried to hunt him down got to them first...There was no hope.
Unknown to Alex as he casually skipped rocks across the pond, he was not alone there at the lake...For he was being watched in the distance by the ever vigilant X23. She had stayed near the base for days now, not letting it out of her sight...But not coming into contact with it either. The animal inside her wanted to storm the area and demand that they state their purpose for being here...But the human inside her made her want to stay back and simply watch them from afar...Learning more about them and the strange mix of emotions that they were going through. From the old man and the girl, to the boy she was looking at right now...She had seen so many things written on their faces. These things confused and frustrated her more often than not. But she never once considered leaving...Even as the animal and the human inside the former living weapon continued to struggle for dominance.
X23 decided to move in closer to get a better view of the boy at the lake...When suddenly, she accidentally stepped on a branch...Causing a gentle noise to echo throughout the silence of the early afternoon.
Alex quickly picked the sudden noise up and his eyes quickly scanned for the source.
"Hello? Anybody there?" asked Alex into the silence as he slowly made his way over towards where he thought the sound had originated.
The young mutant was cautious in his approach, for he did not know if somebody had found them in their secluded location up here in Canada. He had been told that the nearest human being wasn't within a hundred miles of here...But that only made him grow more concerned as he looked through the thick bush and trees for the source of the noise.
Cursing herself for being careless...X23 used a life time of stealth and combat training to quickly conceal herself in another area and found another cluster of dead branches at the base of a tree where she quickly and quietly concealed herself.
Alex didn't see any of this as he only looked partially through the thick trees in the distance. It was dead quiet now and he could see nothing. He then unknowingly looked at the pile of branches that X23 had concealed herself behind...And through a narrow slit in the brush, the former living weapon saw his eyes and face clearly. It was the first time in two years she had been this close to another human being...And like always, she had to fight the animal inside her that wanted to lash out at anything and everything around her. Thankfully, her human side won out and she stayed concealed...Never once taking her eyes off of the young man searching the trees for the source of the noise. Then...Alex finally appeared to give up.
"Must have been an animal or something," he assumed as he left the area and headed back into the base...Leaving X23 back where she had started...Alone and in the wild.
Alex arrived back inside the base to find Scott, Jean, Kurt, Kitty, and Peter playing a game of poker. Mystique and the Maximoff twins were in the living room talking about something.
"Hey Alex...You okay?" asked Scott, seeing the troubled expression on his face.
"Yeah...I'm fine bro," assured Alex, choosing not to tell him about the disturbance topside for some reason, "Deal me in?"
"Sure thing...But be warned...I have the funniest feeling that somebody's cheating..." said Scott with a smirk as he and the others looked over towards Kurt.
"Hey man! I swear...I'm just on a lucky winning streak!" said Kurt innocently.
"Well...Be lucky that I'm choosing not to read your thought blue boy," said Jean as Scott shuffled the cards for another game, "Otherwise...We may have to determine a little doctrine in the base on how to punish cheaters."
Alex quickly decided to forget about the incident topside and was quickly dealt into the game.
Meanwhile, over in the lounge area, Mystique and Wanda had helped Pietro rest on the couch while they tried to get him to eat something without puking it up. He was still somewhat struggling to get back into his normal eating mode after being fed through a feeding tube since his arrival. But he was overall a lot stronger and more determined now that he and Wanda were finally building a new relationship. He was glad to finally feel as though he had his real sister back after lying to her for over two years. Part of his cocky, self-centered nature came from the fact that he had lost both his parents and his sister at a young age and was left to fend for himself. But now...In his weakened condition, he had no choice but to accept the help of others...X-men or not. He knew he would probably never live down the fact that Kurt had saved his life and Jean had treated his wounds. But at this point...He was beyond caring.
"Is that all you're going to eat?" asked Mystique as she still saw half a bowl of chicken noodle soup sitting before the speed demon.
"Lady...If I take one more molecule of food in...I swear I'll be puking it all up for hours...Again."
"Well Jean says you have to get all your nutrients if you're ever going to fully heal," said Wanda as she shoved the bowl of soup back in front of him as if he were a stubborn child.
"Yeah, I know...Doctor's orders," groaned Pietro, "But I swear...I don't think I can handle much more."
"Funny...I never thought I'd live to see the day when Quicksilver of all people skimps out on a challenge," said Raven with a grin.
"Hey! You try eating when your stomach feels like it's on fire!" quipped Pietro, who hated being called weak.
"Come on oh brother of mine...You know you have to eat. Otherwise I'm going to spoon-feed you like a baby myself!" said Wanda with a grin as she handed her stubborn twin brother a spoon.
Not wanting her to resort to that...Pietro let out a groan as he slowly began taking sips of the soup even though he was adamant about keeping what he had eaten in the safe confines of his stomach and not all over the floor.
Unknown to them, Eric had watched this little scene unfold from afar and couldn't help but smile to himself. He chose to stay hidden for the time being...For he knew his presence would only irritate them. But even though he hadn't really spoken to them, he had noticed how Wanda and Pietro's relationship had grown by leaps and bounds since Pietro arose from being stranded in bed because of his injuries. He would have liked to be there to help him as any father should...But he knew that both his children still harbored many bad feelings towards him. And those feelings would most certainly not disappear overnight.
As he watched from a distance, Mystique took notice of him. Looking over to see that Wanda's focus was mainly on her stubborn brother, Raven decided to confront him herself. She had seen his distance over the past few days and had done her part to help Wanda through the difficult times she had faced since she discovered the truth. Since she and Wanda were always rather close, it had been nothing short of therapeutic for her to help such a traumatized young woman through such a difficult time. Raven couldn't deny the strange feeling of accomplishment she felt in working with the others to help Wanda through such trying times. She wondered if this was what Xavier and his other students felt in helping confused, disenfranchised mutants. Because if it was...Then some of Xavier's views actually started to make sense for the first time in her life. Such a feeling...It could never be gained in her line of work. It was something that felt good...There was no denying that. The shape shifter pondered this further...But was forced to set it aside as she followed Eric down towards the hall where he had been watching Wanda and Pietro from afar.
"You know you can't avoid them forever Eric," said Mystique as she approached the old man.
"I know Raven...I don't intend to," replied Eric, not tearing his gaze away from his kids, "But after all the things I've done...It will take some time for them to trust me again."
"I don't disagree with you on that," conceded Raven, "But I frankly think you may actually be scared at such a task."
Normally...Magneto hated it when someone implied that he...One of the most powerful mutants on the face of the Earth...Was scared of anything. But he could not deny the truth in Mystique's words.
"Of course it scares me..." sighed Magneto grudgingly knowing that no good could come with denying it, "Wanda wanted so badly to kill me after she found out..."
"But she didn't..." reminded Raven, who knew the event all too well along with the rest of the survivors due to Wanda's first hand account.
"I know...And the fact that she couldn't do what she so wanted to gives me hope that maybe there is something I can salvage. But..."
Eric soon trailed off in his words as he finally tore his gaze away from his kids and turned back towards the halls near the room he had resided in. Mystique's eyes were still on him, for there were still some things she had left to say...But wasn't eager to the point of following him to say them. This was a complicated matter...And she knew it was better if she didn't get herself mixed up in it too much.
"You know you're lucky Raven..." commented Magneto as he stopped cold in his tracks on his way to his room.
"You dropped your son into a river and abandoned him for over a decade...Yet when you realized your mistakes after Apocalypse and confronted him two years later...He forgave you. Nightcrawler...I mean Kurt...Actually calls you mother. It's something...That I know will take a long time to reach with Wanda and Pietro."
Mystique was silent for a moment upon hearing the master of magnetism's words. In many ways, they could definitely relate to each other. They both had estranged children...They both had faced the darkest sides humanity had to offer. It was the main reason why they worked together so often in the past. But there were many things that Raven didn't agree with in hearing Magneto's comment.
"Speak for yourself Eric...I'm no luckier than you," shot Mystique more bitterly than she intended it to be, "At least you still have both of your children...I only have one of mine."
Mystique quickly looked away, not wanting to show the hurt she felt every time something reminded her of Rogue. It was no different than Magneto...But because of the simple fact that Rogue was dead while both his children survived and actually in his presence was definitely a lot harder on her compared to the master of magnetism as she stood before him in her own stupor of misery.
"Oh yes...Rogue," Magneto quickly realized, "I'm sorry I...I didn't mean to bring that up."
"Yeah...I'm sure you didn't," replied Mystique somewhat cynically, "But don't ever go so far to say that I'm lucky. Kurt may have forgiven me...But Kurt is a very forgiving young man. He grew up in a way that I could never have hoped to provide for him. And Rogue...Like you I had tried to win her back...But I let my own fear and stubbornness get in the way of doing what I now see I should have done. It took a lot for me to see the error of such ways...But I guess I was too little...Too late."
"That is not your fault Raven...None of us could have possibly seen these attacks coming," reasoned Magneto, hearing the sorrow in her voice.
"It doesn't matter...Rogue is dead now. There's no way I can ever atone for what I've done to her. You...On the other hand...You have the opportunity to start anew with both of your children. They say they hate you...But you're still their father...That much they'll concede to. You actually have the power to win them back...Even though it seems somewhat impossible now. But I can never do so with both of my estranged children...Because one of them is gone."
The shape shifter let out a heavy sigh as her thoughts drifted back towards Kurt...The only one of her children that she had left now. He was her entire family at this point...He was all she had left. He had been so quick to forgive her and call her mother again...While Wanda and Pietro continued to show their stubbornness in doing the same for Magneto. But in a strange sense of irony...Their stubborn nature seemed all too reminiscent of Magneto himself when it came to accepting new views on their world.
"Winning them back...Is not so simple when you consider how Wanda and Pietro are. You have lived with them for the past few years Raven...You should know that."
"No doubt they get it from you I suppose..." replied Raven somewhat jokingly in an effort to lighten the mood.
"Well...I honestly cannot argue that," said Magneto with somewhat of a grin.
"But winning them back as you say...Isn't something you can just make happen with a few simple actions."
"Of course I know that...If there were things I could have done for them, I most certainly would have done so already."
"But that's just the thing...You don't know what to actually do in order to win them back and neither do I for that matter. I didn't expect Kurt to forgive me...He just did. I don't think that my own actions had anything to do with it."
"I disagree Raven...I think there was something that you did do. But like me...You are simply too afraid...Or stubborn...To admit it."
"If I knew that then do you think I'd be in my current state of mind now?!" quipped Mystique, who was beginning to get rather frustrated.
Magneto held back any further comments briefly and gave the shape shifter the chance to cool off for the moment. He could tell that their words were striking a chord deep down within the both of them.
"Emotions...Despite all the old babble you used to use to rag against them...Are a fickle thing Eric," said Mystique as she managed to calm herself down finally, "I don't understand them...They confuse me more than any other concept I could hope to ascertain. But I think it is for that reason why you were so adamant at wiping them out and why I was so adamant about being apart of it."
"What are you getting at Raven?"
"I think...That we are both afraid," said Mystique simply, "Not mad...Not sadistic or murderous...But simply afraid. We both seem to fear emotions in the same way humans fear mutants. Our solution was to rule over them...Or wipe them out. Not because they made us weak...But simply because we were afraid of them."
It was a sudden realization that hit Mystique when she thought about such an analogy between their views on emotion and that of humans and mutants. It made the scope of their so called 'dream' more mundane than ever. Xavier chose a path that didn't involve fear while they let such concerns drive them to the point of genocide. When it was all put into retrospect...It seemed rather pitiful that they had once justified their view with such unscrupulous notions.
Magneto couldn't help but think about this new idea that Raven had presented. For so long, he thought his motivation for wanting to wipe out the human race was based on mere anger over what they had done to his family. But in the end it was only a half truth...The full answer had always eluded him and in some ways was responsible for his innate madness over the human race that had seemed to drive him up until Apocalypse. It was a strange feeling now...Having something makes sense after being confused by it for so long.
"That's an...Interesting analogy Raven," said Magneto, trying to mask the true impact it had.
"It's more than that Eric...I believe it's the other half to one of the answers that the both of us has been seeking," explained Mystique as her demeanor suddenly shifted to one of great self pity, "But something like fear...Something so simple and so...Human...Being the cause of all our madness and misery...It just...There really are some reasons that we just aren't willing to admit because of our foolish notion of pride."
"Perhaps...Apocalypse made us swallow that pride two years ago...When we saw just how scared we truly were at heart," added Magneto as Mystique seemed to freeze in her train of thought.
"And don't forget the attacks," reminded the shape shifter, "What better way to have your pride shattered than to see your home and friends destroyed."
"Indeed..." conceded Magneto as he continued to debate these notions with himself even further, "Now we both see the world differently. There are fewer mundane things to fear and more cosmic reasons to be concerned with."
"But that doesn't mean that either of us has gone back on our ways..." added Mystique.
The shape shifter then turned back and looked the master of magnetism in the eye without any fear. Right now, he just seemed like another man on the same level as her and not some mutant overlord that others should cower before. They were both in a similar struggle for their own personal sense of truth. But for Mystique...She believed that Magneto's situation had something else that he had been very slow to see to this point.
"I believe...That you already know what you have to do."
"What do you mean?" asked Eric, growing all the more curious as to what Mystique was seeing that he wasn't.
"You fought against humanity because you lost your family. Whenever you wanted to justify your reasons before me or anybody else for that matter, you would always bring them up in some way or another even if you didn't say anything. Your bandwagon was never mutant rights...It was vengeance. And vengeance is not a valid reason...It is an emotional response. I think Xavier understood that...But you didn't. I guess what I'm trying to get at is...Its emotion that drives your actions...Be they good or evil. And I think that the confusion you feel now...Along with the worries and concerns with your children...Go back to the whole issue of pride. We know the path we have been down, but we are both too afraid to stray from it. I personally believe that I have finally stepped off of that path...But you haven't."
It was less advice and more of an observation on Mystique's part, but Eric continued to listen on...Hoping that maybe this would help him start on a new path as so many others had after the events of the past few weeks.
"Then how do I do that? How do I finally break away from the path I have been down for so long?"
Mystique paused once more as she considered how she should phrase her answer. She knew she was not the best person to be giving advice...But never the less, here she was merely talking about that which she had observed.
"Like I said before...I think you already know how," answered Mystique, "You've just been assuming that it's actions that you must perform to repent for the past for both your children and the others. But there it's truly not that which you do...It's what you show us that shapes how we see you. Just like the media is doing to mutants...What we sense is how we determine how we see others and the world in general. I don't know you well enough to know exactly what you must show us and yourself to finally break the habit...But I think that's a decision best left to you."
Upon saying that, Mystique left Eric's presence. She felt she had said enough and she wasn't willing to open any more old wounds. This left Eric still confused somewhat...But with a greater sense of hope than before. He decided to head back towards the other end of the hallway where Wanda and Pietro still resided. It appeared that Wanda had finally been able to get Pietro to finish his soup, but the young speed demon still looked quite nauseous. They seemed so...Human at this point. It was as if they didn't even have mutant powers to being with. It was contrary to all of Magneto's past notions that it was the power and abilities that made mutants and not the people that they resided within. But these were his children...They weren't just mutants. So how could he show them that he had changed? What could he do?
The TV was still blaring before them like it had earlier and this time it was tuned to a CNN news report.
"We have an update on our two week long coverage of the mutant menace. Military officials today say that they have uncovered more files concerning Charles Xavier and his mutant plot against humanity. This time, it is in the form of new pictures linking him to long time mutant terrorist and self proclaimed supremacist, Magneto."
Then, on the screen, old photos of Xavier and himself flashed on the screen. They were images of them that were taken long ago when they worked together in universities and hospitals. While it was doubtful that the news anchor would even bother to mention this, it portrayed exactly what they wanted it to portray.
"Apparently, Charles Xavier and Magneto had a long standing friendship that spanned several decades according to the sources. While in previous years, Xavier has long denied any involvement with Magneto's affairs, government officials say that they now have indisputable proof that proves that claim otherwise. Public outcry against the mutant threat has rallied many citizens behind the military and the president as a steadfast campaign of containment has been stepped up with widespread congressional and executive approval."
Magneto listened on to the cryptic news report. There were no mentions of the mutants at the Xavier mansion or the Brotherhood boarding house being mere children...Every time such things came up, the news anchor twisted the words and described them more as soldiers. His old friend, Charles Xavier, whom had spent a lifetime pursuing a policy of peace and understanding, was made out to be a deceitful...Bloodthirsty mutant supremacist. Mutants everywhere were made out to be sub human...Animalistic...And unworthy of even having a soul. Men like the president and the soldiers that had so brutally destroyed their homes and desecrated the innocent were made out to be heroes and the more lies they heard...The more fearful and full of hatred they became. It was almost too much for Magneto to bear.
Then...As he looked back at the screen that bore the picture of him and Xavier standing together side by side...Something struck him deep at his core. Both men in the photo were smiling...They looked as though they were full of optimism and hope for the future of both themselves and humanity as a whole. But as he looked at the eyes of the man he once was...He thought about the man he had become. Charles Xavier...The one whom had been the only person never to give up on him even as his own students continued to see him as a monster...Was smiling too in that picture. They were colleagues...Friends...Dreamers. And the legacy that Xavier had worked so hard on was being tainted by the black hearted madmen that were behind all this carnage. Suddenly...Magneto knew what he had to do.
Through standing in the shadows, the master of magnetism made his way through the lounge and past Wanda and Pietro...Not at all responding to their glances as he neared the kitchen where the rest of the survivors still were. The twins noticed a different look in his eye as he passed them and they both got up to follow him. As he quickly entered the kitchen with the others, all eyes quickly turned to him as he spoke up.
"Scott...Where did you say Xavier was staying on his trip to Washington before this whole ordeal started?"
"The Watergate hotel...Why do you ask?" answered Scott, not understanding why Magneto would want to know that.
"Because I am going there to get him," replied Magneto sternly, "I'm through simply sitting here while the media slams him and everything he's built up over the years and I'm through letting the situation for mutants everywhere get worse by the minute."
"Wow Mr. Lensherr...Now just wait a minute," said Kitty, "We don't even know if the Professor is still there and we don't even know if he's still alive. I mean...If they hit us the definitely would have hit him too..."
"That Kitty...Is exactly what they want you to think," replied Eric, "Xavier is alive...I know it. And Wolverine probably is too. If they killed him...Somebody would have said something. The media would have used it to gloat...But they haven't. Whoever is behind this is probably keeping him alive...I'm sure of it."
"And what makes you so positive about that?" asked Raven skeptically.
"Leverage..." answered Magneto simply, "Whoever pulled these attacks off was smart...Well organized...And well informed. He knew when we would all be in our homes...He knew exactly when and how to hit us...And he knew how we thought and would respond to such attacks. That's why we've all been running scared...Never fighting back, just running."
"We know that..." said Scott, "We've been one step behind this whole time. But I don't think it would make sense to risk keeping the Professor alive if whoever wanted to wipe us out wanted to do so effectively."
"But it is for that same reason why he would need leverage. If he has Xavier...Then he probably considered using him as bait or a bargaining chip. But I suppose that since we have drawn this little skirmish out for so long...That idea may be waning...And they could execute Xavier and Wolverine at any time...Which is why I have to go to Washington myself and save him."
"You?" commented Piotr, "Why the sudden urge for heroics Magneto? Is this some kind of repentance ploy?"
"Believe what you want Piotr...I already have my reasons. I am on a different path now and I could care less whether or not you or anyone else chooses to believe that."
A sudden silence soon fell over the room. Looks of skepticism still hung strong over the faces of Wanda and Pietro...Who still stubbornly saw their father as a lying supremacist out to cover his on back. But it was a look that Magneto knew he could not change...He could only show his sincerity like Mystique had said. Then...Jean Grey stood up and decided to say something.
"I believe you..." said the young psychic, "But if you're going to do this...Don't do it alone. Let some of us help you."
"No..." responded the old holocaust survivor quickly, "This is something I must do alone...Washington is probably a fortress with all the military operations against mutants going on."
"But that's crazy!" exclaimed Kurt, "Vhat do you expect to do? Just valtz in to Washington and pick up the Professor?!"
"Exactly Kurt..." replied Magneto confidently, "Like I said before, whoever attacked us believes that they know us. And this action...Will be something they most certainly won't expect. And going alone keeps you all out of danger. You of all people should know that Xavier doesn't need to lose anymore of his students."
Nobody said a word upon hearing the master of magnetism's words. For the first time since he had arrived with them, he had in himself a resolve that went beyond mere survival for himself and his kids. Now...He wanted to actually fight back. Some wanted to dissuade him, some wanted to urge him on, while others didn't seem to care either way. But one thing was certain...He was going to do it.
"I give you my word that I will save Charles..." stated Magneto adamantly, "I'm don't know what we'll do after all is said and done...But I'm more for the old saying 'seize the day.'"
Magneto may have been a man with a shady history and a rather complicated past...But one thing that everybody knew about him was that he never made promises that he wasn't willing to keep.
"Then...I guess we should all wish you luck," said Scott, not able to think of anything else to say at this point.
"Just be sure to let the Professor know that we're okay and that we're worried about him," added Jean.
"It will be done..." said Magneto as he abruptly turned towards the elevator, not wanting to waste anymore time.
Pietro and Wanda remained silent the whole time while Mystique couldn't help but grin at Eric's new resolve. Nobody said anything to the Maximoff twins, but as Kurt placed a gentle hand on Wanda's shoulder...She quickly ran off in pursuit of her father as Pietro limped close behind, gritting his teeth in pain.
As they caught the next elevator up, the twins caught a glimpse of their estranged father standing near the hanger where the X-jet was being kept. Magneto had sensed their presence and merely stopped...Trying to stow away his continued remorse for what had happened between them. But he wasn't about to let himself fall into the depths that he had before...For it was a path that he knew would only lead to more suffering for him. But never the less...He turned to face Wanda and Pietro as they stood in the ominous silence of the cold, drafty hanger.
"What is this Magneto? Some kind of ploy for self-repentance?" said Wanda non-believingly, "Or are you just trying to win us back with foolish notions that a good deed will undo all the horrible things you put us through?!"
Magneto didn't flinch this time. He chose to remain strong in the face of his children's hatred. It was not easy, but that did little to dissuade him.
"You could say it's a little of both Wanda," answered Magneto, "But you and Pietro must know that there are some things that don't revolve around you. You've already made it abundantly clear that there is no way I can undo my wrongdoings...That much I know."
"Then why?" asked Pietro coldly, still not believing in his father one bit even though everybody else seemed to trust him in his promise to save Xavier.
"This is personal Pietro...Not something for you or Wanda...But for me. Xavier is still a friend. I owe him a great deal and like the two of you, I have hurt him. You may not want to believe that I am sincere in my actions as of lately...And there's nothing I can do to change that. Only you two can do that...And maybe with time you will. But in the mean time...There are other things I intend to rectify. This...Is just one of them."
Neither Wanda or Pietro said anything after that. Part of them was brewing with hatred while the other was brewing with hope. It was an inner tug of war of epic proportions between whether or not they should believe their father.
"I know you may not care what I have to say to you both anymore...But I might as well say that I will be thinking about the both of you a lot while I'm gone."
And with that, Eric Lensherr turned around and walked away while his children remained motionless outside the elevator where they had encountered him. They were not going to stop him...Even if they wanted to, they couldn't. But whether or not they chose to admit it...Wanda and Pietro would be thinking a lot about their father as well while he was gone. And after a quick stop to pick something up from the X-jet...Magneto was on his way to Washington DC to save his old friend.
The Pentagon was still a fury of activity as Stryker's team worked around the clock to narrow down their search for the escaped mutant in the Canadian wilderness. The general was on the phone constantly with Canadian officials and replying to messages sent to him by Trask about the progress of the final step. Either way, Stryker was not worried. Nothing had happened to him that he hadn't prepared for yet. And at the rate things were going...It would all be over soon enough without a single doubt over who the outcome will favor.
"General Stryker sir...We have a message coming in from the Xavier guard at Watergate," said one of his female communications officers as he and Magnum went over more satellite reconnaissance photographs.
"Patch him through," ordered the general as he put on his headset to listen in on the message.
"Sir," said a voice over the line, "The Wolverine has just woken up and is getting agitated again after his last failed escape attempt. And Xavier isn't getting any easier to handle either."
"Did you give the animal the sedatives that I provided?" inquired the general.
"Yeah, but it isn't having the same effect on the freak as before. And frankly, I don't know how much longer we can handle these two. They've been in that room for weeks."
"What about Xavier?"
"The man won't talk anymore. He's not cooperating. The guy's quite a handful for a cripple."
The general considered this new report. If Xavier wasn't cooperating and Wolverine was growing increasingly unruly then they may have in fact outlived their overall usefulness to him. The longer this operation went on, the more their value decreased. Stryker had considered using Xavier before as bait for the surviving mutants...But with their disappearance and the final step of the operation growing ever nearer, this idea was growing increasingly unrealistic.
"That man has outlived his usefulness," commented Magnum in her thick Russian accent.
"Yes...At this point, it appears he has," agreed Stryker as he considered his options.
"So what are you going to do with him?"
A slow, sinister grin spread across the general's face. For he knew it was finally time to hammer the final nails into the proverbial coffin of the mutant races last hope.
"Colonel..." commanded the general over his headset.
"On my order...I give the go ahead to execute Charles Xavier and Wolverine."
AN: Well, that's it for now folks! So now Magneto's on his way, but Stryker has already given the order! Stay tuned to find out! I know the last few chapters have been a little on the dramatic side because of Magneto unveiling the truth to Wanda, but I wanted to extend that scene in order to help the change in Magneto flow. I thought it would add a little cause and effect to the story overall. So what do you think? Do you like this story? Please tell me! Send me reviews via email or post them on the fanfiction website! I'd love to know what you all think! Please review! Until next time, I wish you all the best and thanks for reading!
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