Categories > Cartoons > X-Men: Evolution > Extermination

A Darker Tomorrow

by slickboy444 0 Reviews

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/...

Category: X-Men: Evolution - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Cyclops - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2005/07/13 - Updated: 2005/07/13 - 6393 words

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Extermination
Chapter 8: A Darker Tomorrow


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"Come on Pietro! Breathe!" grunted Kurt as he kept trying to bring life back into the young man's body.

For what seemed like an eternity, Kurt Wagner kept on performing CPR on the dying speed demon as he lay lifeless on the small padded bed in the back of the X-jet. He and the surviving members of the X-men and the Brotherhood had managed to narrowly escape the destruction of their respective homes...But Pietro Maximoff, however, was caught in the crossfire of the attack...And took many bullets from the invading soldiers. In a rare show of heroism, he pushed his twin sister out of the way of a fury of incoming bullets...Only to be hit by the deadly projectiles. He had saved Wanda...But he sacrificed himself in the process. Kurt's efforts looked to be in vain as a wave of sorrow soon swept over the Scarlet Witch. Her tears were flowing freely now...For she did not have the strength or the desire to hold them back anymore.

"We're too late..." said Kitty Pryde, who was also witnessing this horrible event, "Wanda...I'm so sorry."

"No...Oh god no...Pietro..." sobbed Wanda as she buried her face in her hands.

Kitty then made her way over to the distraught girl as she broke down in a wave of sobs. It was clear that nothing would be able to comfort her in this most darkest of hours. However, Kurt kept trying even though it seemed like Wanda had lost all hope. Hearing her agonizing sobs only seemed to further motivate him as he refused to let someone else die on this horrible night. He had just lost his sister...And he didn't want anyone else to feel such pain. Kitty was about to stop Kurt...For it seemed as though it had been too long for anybody to survive. Then suddenly...Something happened that defied all logic. Over the noise of Wanda's agonizing sobs...A raspy cough was heard from Pietro's bloody body.

"HE'S ALIVE!" said Kurt as he quickly stood back and let the young speed demon breathe.

Upon hearing those words, Wanda managed to lift her head and slowly make her way back to her feet. Her tear-stained face was now dominated by an overwhelming sense of disbelief as she watched life return to her brother's bloody body. Kurt had done it...He had successfully revived him...He was alive. Wanda slowly made her way over to her brother's side and gently stroked the side of his face. She listened to his labored breathing and steady groans as she looked on with both shock and relief that her twin brother had not died.

"You didn't leave me...You didn't leave me..." said Wanda as she spoke softly into her brother's ear, knowing that he would somehow hear her.

Then...Through all the agony and all the struggle from both his bloody wounds and his near death encounter...Pietro Maximoff managed to speak to his sister in a soft, raspy voice.

"Mom says hi..."

Those simple words caused a new wave of tears to form in Wanda's eyes...But they were tears of happiness this time...Tears of joy that her brother hadn't perished. His eyes were open ever so slightly...But it was more than enough to see the warm smile on his sister's face as she gently took his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.

Then, a tired and dizzy Jean Grey made her appearance in the back as she forced herself to awaken from her exhausted state after using so much of her power in the escape from the institute. She was greeted with the sight of an exhausted Kurt and a tearful Wanda as she stood by her brother's bed side. It appeared that Kurt had done it...He had bought Pietro back from the brink of death. Kitty stood behind Wanda and also seemed elated that at least one life had been saved from this whole ordeal. Jean knew that she still had her work cut out for her knowing that she would have to put her limited medical training to the test...But now that Pietro had survived his brush with death, his chances for recovery were now much better.

"You did good Kurt," said Jean with a smile as she looked at the tired blue mutant.

"Danke Jean..." said Kurt, still somewhat amazed at the dramatic turnabout, "I guess it vas a good thing that I passed Beast's CPR training session, ja?"

"Definitely," said Jean as she saw him smile as well, "You saved a life Kurt...You should feel very proud."

"Ja...But I vish I could have saved more..." mused Kurt as he remembered all of his friends and family back at the institute, including his deceased sister, "I vish that I could have done more..."

"You've done enough Kurt...We can't undo what happened back home," said Jean sadly, "But we can work to make it so that nobody else has to die and bring hope to an otherwise dark time."

The pain of losing his sister remained...But the feeling that he had prevented someone else from feeling such pain helped mend some of that agony that tore at his heart. He watched as Jean gathered the medical supplies stored in the back and prepared to treat Pietro. Wanda still clung to her brother's side...But Jean knew that she needed to rest now.

"Will he be okay?" asked Wanda wearily as Jean prepared some peroxide and bandages.

"If he's managed to survive this long...Then I'm confident that he will," assured Jean, "I just have to patch up his wounds and prevent any further infection. For now, we need to let him rest and give his body time to heal."

A wave of relief finally settled over the Scarlet Witch as the danger finally passed for her brother. He took ten bullets for her and survived. For all their arguments and fighting...He still showed that he loved his sister and had a kinder side. Pietro had saved his sister's life even at the expense of his own...And now the faint beacon of hope that had threaten to die with him, remained strong not just for Wanda...But for every one of the surviving mutants aboard the jet.

"Come on Wanda...You should rest," said Kitty as she managed to tear a reluctant Wanda away from the bedside so that Jean could work, "Your brother is in good hands."

Although she wanted to linger a bit...She knew that Jean needed space to do what she had to. Giving one last look of relief to her brother's unconscious form, Wanda finally left his bedside and walked over towards the seating area of the jet. But as she left, she made her way past the tired Kurt Wagner as he prepared to follow her and Kitty to the front. He had been the one to save Pietro's life...Even after she had given up hope. Kurt had saved her brother...Even after all the pain she put his friends through as a member of the Brotherhood...Even after the pain of losing his sister...He hadn't given up hope and fought to save the life of another. Wanda didn't know that souls so noble even existed in this terrible world...But here he was, standing before her.

"Kurt..." said Wanda as she turned to meet his tired gaze.

He looked so exhausted after everything he had seen and the heroic deed that he had done...But he managed to stand wearily in front of the grateful young woman who still had a hint of tears in her eyes from all the emotion that she had endured in the past hour.

"Thank you...For saving my brother's life..." said Wanda softly as she managed to smile brilliantly despite her drowsy state.

For all the pain that Kurt had suffered in the last hour after losing everything back home...That one smile almost made it all somewhat lighter even if it was only briefly.

"It vas nothing Wanda...I'm just glad that nobody else died," said Kurt in response as he managed to return her smile.

"No...It was definitely something, Kurt...You saved Pietro's life. You lost your home...Your friends...Everything...Yet you still helped me, an enemy who has done nothing but cause trouble for you and everybody else you care about...Why?"

Kurt couldn't help but blush as he heard Wanda's praise of his deed and he ended up scratching the back of his neck nervously as he soon felt himself unable to tear himself away from her gaze.

"I...Lost my sister tonight Vanda. Rogue she...She died tonight," said Kurt in a sad tone, "I saw her dead body...I saw the suffering that she endured in her wrongful death..."

"Kurt..." but Wanda's words did not stop the young mutant from speaking his peace, no matter how painful it may be.

"She vas the closest thing to a blood family that I ever had...And ve vere finally starting to develop a decent brother/sister relationship," said Kurt as his head than sank, "But now...I vill never get to be the brother to her that I wanted to be...I will never get a chance to have a sister. The pain of such a loss...It...I don't vant anybody to ever feel such a thing. And you of all people...Don't deserve to suffer such a fate."

Wanda watched the tears form in Kurt's eyes as the mention of Rogue bought forth all the torment that he felt over losing her. Wanda felt somewhat guilty...Knowing that her brother was now alive while this kind boy's sister had been taken away from him so wrongfully. She had been bawling over the prospect of Pietro dying while Rogue was already dead and nothing could be done to change that. In many ways, they were both very similar in the context of what they had been through in their difficult lives...But Kurt had somehow managed to grow in to a kind, caring person. Wanda didn't know how this was possible...Being someone who had to live a life within an inhuman body, yet still developing into such a caring person. Because of him, she didn't have to suffer through losing a sibling...And for that, she was grateful in every way.

"I'm sorry...That Rogue is gone..." said Wanda as she moved in closer to him and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, "I...Can't imagine the kind of hurt you must feel...But I think I have a pretty good idea."

That got Kurt to smile somewhat as he placed his hand over hers and gently squeezed it. Wanda offered a strange sense of comfort that Kurt never knew she had...Yet here she was helping him in this time of great anguish.

"I'm thankful that...At least one of us doesn't have to suffer through such a horrible loss," said Kurt as he stood soothed by her presence, "Thank you...For understanding."

"No...Thank you...For giving something so precious back to me..."

What happened next nearly blew Kurt's mind. In one swift and gentle motion...Wanda Maximoff planted a deep kiss upon her brother's savior. Kurt didn't know what to do or even what to think as he felt her soft lips against his...But it wasn't long before he soon found himself kissing back. A strange surge of electricity suddenly flowed through the two as the two mutants soon became lost in their own world. They both reveled in it...Even though it wasn't meant to be so deep. Then...They both reluctantly parted...Leaving each other in a state of great confusion over what had just happened. After an initial period of awkward silence, Wanda finally managed to tear herself away from the area and made her way towards the front of the plane in a confused state.

'What...What on Earth just happened? What did I just do?' thought Wanda as she collapsed into one of the seats.

Unknown to her, Kurt was thinking the exact same thing.

'Vhat...Vhat on Earth just happened? Vhat did I just do?'

Kurt Wagner stood frozen in his confused state for what seemed like an hour. He found himself gently touching the area on his face where Wanda had kissed him...Still able to feel the lingering scent left behind. Over and over again he kept asking himself the same question in his head. Had he really just done it? Did Wanda Maximoff...The Scarlet Witch, daughter to Magneto, and member of the Brotherhood actually kiss him? And did he...Kurt Wagner, son of Mystique, member of the X-men, kiss back? The young man's mind had gone blank with confusion as his legs soon gave way to exhaustion and he collapsed against one of the seats in the back of the jet. His eyes soon became heavy as he kept playing the unbelievable scene over and over again in his head. This whole night had already been immensely stressful for everybody...But for Kurt, and Wanda for that matter, it had just taken an unexpected turn.

Jean continued to wrap up Pietro's body in bandages while administering disinfectant to keep him from getting any sicker and to help stave off some of the internal bleeding. But all in all, the speed demon was alive and it looked as though he would probably survive...But there was still a remote chance that something could go wrong. However, it was better than before and given the situation, it was quite remarkable at that. Jean gave Scott the news via their psychic link, telling him that it looked as though Pietro is out of danger. Even though Pietro was still a member of the Brotherhood and technically still an enemy...Scott felt relieved that nobody else had died on this awful night.

Scott Summers flew the X-jet in to the night as he sat in the pilot seat in a dazed state of mind. It was only one hour ago...Now their world was so different. An hour ago he was laughing with his girlfriend, giving advice to Kurt and Kitty, and contemplating how he was going to ask Jean to marry him. Now they, along with three old enemies, were fleeing for their lives as their homes now lay in ruin and many good friends and family lay dead. Scott looked back at the seating area of the jet to see a solemn, distraught Mystique and a sleeping Wanda, Kitty, and Kurt. It was strange...For some of these survivors were supposed to be enemies. But this was the first time he and everybody else for that matter had actually seen Mystique or the Brotherhood in over two years. Two years ago, they all fought alongside each other against Apocalypse...And since then, many things had changed. Old feelings die hard for old enemies...But as Scott Summers looked back at the surviving members of the Brotherhood...Something different came over him. He then found himself looking at his reflection in the window of the plane as it soared through the sky at fantastic speeds. The look on his face...Didn't seem to be that of Cyclops, leader of the X-men. After seeing his home destroyed, watching his friends and family die, and escaping the all out hunt from the military...He didn't feel like Cyclops anymore. Instead...He just felt like Scott Summers. His level of thinking was now so strange compared to what it was just over an hour ago before all this had happened. Now it was different...His normal, ridged personality felt like it had been shattered by the horrible events of the past hour. Over and over again he could see his home exploding in a fireball, he could see the body bags strewn out across the lawn containing the bloody remains of his friends and family, and he could hear Jean's agonizing screams as she felt so many people die within her mind. To Scott...Cyclops may be just as dead as the others as only the man behind the visor remained...But was that such a bad thing? He wasn't quite sure...But his thoughts were soon interrupted when he looked back to see Mystique still wide awake...Staring off in to space with a look of great sorrow.

"Mystique? Are you okay back there?" asked Scott as he turned back to face the blue shape shifter.

"I'm fine..." replied Mystique in a mechanical, monotone voice.

Scott was no stranger to such a response...But it somewhat surprised him that it was coming from Mystique.

"Well...Just so you know, Jean just told me that it looks as though Pietro is going to make it."

"That's good to hear..." replied Mystique in the same tone as before.

Scott knew that there was something else. He knew because it was as if he was looking at an entirely different person as he saw the look on Mystique's face. He might as well have been staring at a complete stranger. Gone was the angry, bitter look of the Mystique two years ago...Replaced by this solemn, distraught shell of a woman. Scott looked closer as his curiosity grew...Then, he saw something that he had noticed earlier, but never quite thought enough about it. He saw the streaks of tears left on her face that had yet to vanish despite the rush of their escape. Had Mystique really been crying? Had this woman, the same one who had blown up the institute beforehand and tried to kill him back in Mexico, really been crying? He then saw another tear fall down the side of her cheek as she closed her eyes and tried to rub the sleep out of them. Finally...It dawned on the young man once more.

'Rogue...' thought Scott, 'She must have seen her...Body.'

It was hard to think about...But he knew that it had to be the reason. Rogue was still her daughter even though she had rejected her back in Egypt two years ago. Now...She was dead. She had lost a part of her family...A feeling that Scott was all too familiar with.

"I'm sorry about Rogue..." said Scott as he broke the silence between them.

That caused the expression on Mystique's face to change suddenly as she looked away, not wanting him to see her shed any more tears.

"Why do you care?" said Mystique somewhat bitterly as she looked out the window in an effort to distract herself.

"Rogue was my friend you know..." said Scott as if to remind her, "She was a very good friend that...Didn't deserve any of this."

A hard lump formed in the shape shifter's throat as she listened to Scott's words. She tried to keep herself from completely breaking down before him...Not wanting to show weakness. It was an unfortunate part of her nature...But after seeing what she had back at the institute, it hurt to keep it in like this.

"Nobody deserved any of this...Nobody," mused Mystique as she managed to look back at the young man she once left for dead back in Mexico, "Especially not Rogue. I put her though so much. I...Hurt her in ways no parent should ever hurt their child. For two years now I've been...I've been trying to find ways to make it up to her...To be more a mother than an enemy. But I was too stupid and scared to...And now she's gone...I'll never see her again...I'll never get to tell her how sorry I..."

But that's far as she got as Mystique became too choked up to go on. Seeing this women break down like this was almost bewildering to Scott...But those words and those feelings were things he knew all too well. He knew that Cyclops would have still kept an apprehensive stance...But Scott Summers on the other hand, would do no such thing as he engaged the auto pilot and turned his chair to face the distraught Mystique.

"I'm sorry...I really am," said Scott, trying to sound as sincere as he could, "Trust me...I know what it's like to lose family. I know what it's like...To watch them die right before your very eyes."

Raven Darkholm looked back at the face of Scott Summers expecting to find nothing but pity...Yet when she looked at the expression on the young man's face, she saw the same hallow look that she had been feeling for so long now. She couldn't believe that it was the face of Cyclops...Someone that she had once considered an enemy...Yet here she was, sitting with him and his surviving friends aboard a plane that was keeping them out of harms way from the soldiers below responsible for the destruction of their livelihood.

"How can you possibly know how it feels to..." but Mystique was soon cut off when she was reminded by Scott of the event that he knew all too well as a part of his past.

"I lost my parents you know?" said Scott, remembering how he felt that fateful day when he watched them die, "You probably already know it as a fact...But I was there...I lived it."

As the knowledge that she had forgotten before and once taken for granted once again came over her, the expression on her face changed.

"I'm sorry I...I didn't mean to..."

"Don't be...I understand...Believe me, I understand," said Scott.

Mystique had known from Magneto that Scott was and orphan and that he had lost his parents...But until just now, she never thought much of it. She never considered how it could affect somebody so much because she was always too transfixed with the notion of the ever so perfect, uptight leader of the X-men and protégé of Charles Xavier. Yet now...In wake of losing her daughter in a similar way that Scott had lost his parents, it seemed somewhat different...She could empathize with him now.

"You feel so lost and helpless inside..." said Scott as he continued recalling the feelings that had haunted him for so long, "The whole thing plays in your head over and over again...And no matter what you do or how hard you try, it's always the same outcome. Every feeling...Every image, sound, and smell...The look on their faces as they...It hurts."

Scott's tone began to waver as the mention of something so painful made it hurt to even talk about. Yet Mystique was feeling the same emotions as he was right now...It was the last person on Earth that he ever thought that he would be able to relate to...But here he was.

"Does it ever go away? Does it ever stop hurting?" asked Mystique, hoping that it would.

Scott just shook his head solemnly, for he knew that he couldn't give her the answer that she wanted.

"I wish it did. But no matter how hard you want it to...It never goes away. The pain is and always will be there...Festering incessantly like a scar in your mind."

"Then how do you do it?" said Mystique, "How does someone like you mange to look so indifferent to it? How do you make it go away?"

Now more than ever...Mystique wanted answers. She never thought that she would turn to Cyclops for such answers...But she desperately wanted to know.

"Raven...I stopped trying to make it go away a long time ago," mused Scott as he looked Mystique in her yellow tinted eyes, "I've learned that...You can't just get over it and set it aside forever. It took me a long time to understand that. I don't forget or numb it out. I just...Cope."

"Cope? How can I cope knowing what I did to my daughter and my son? How can I ever cope knowing the monster that I truly am?" shot Mystique.

"I once thought the same thing after my parents died," replied Scott, "I once thought that I would never recover...I would never be able to go on...But I did. I found the strength with the help of the Professor, my friends, and Jean to cope with what I've been through to keep moving on."

"That's easy for you to say...I don't have any friends...Only enemies," quipped Mystique in a bitter tone.

"You still have Kurt...You still have your son, don't you?"

"I don't deserve his friendship or his forgiveness," said Mystique as she teared up at the mention of her son, "I dropped him in a river...I left him for dead...I fought against him and his friends for no other reason than to further my own selfish goals."

"But he still forgave you didn't he?" reminded Scott as he recalled Kurt's actions back in the woods when he bought Mystique back with him, "Whether or not you deserve it shouldn't matter...He still forgave you."

The mention of her son's forgiveness only made her feel worse. She had abandoned, betrayed, and hurt Kurt so much over the years...Yet he became such a kind, caring, and forgiving young man. He was everything that she was not...Yet her blood still flowed within his veins. Kurt would be so willing to accept having his mother back...But after what she did to both him and Kurt, she didn't feel as though she had the right to.

"That still doesn't change what I did," said Mystique as she looked away from Scott's eyes, not wanting him to see her in such a horrible state, "I can never atone for my actions. I can never forgive myself...Never."

"I don't believe that, Raven...I honestly don't," replied Scott.

"How can you say that?!" yelled Mystique harshly, "I lied to my son, I lied to my daughter, I did things that hurt them both so much...And in case you have forgotten, I tried to kill you!"

Scott could tell that he was just making Mystique more upset with his words as she mentioned the events of the whole Mexico incident where she tried to kill him out of revenge for leaving her in Area 51. It wasn't his proudest moment to say the least...But every time he remembered that incident, he thought less about what Mystique had done and more about what had happened as a result of that fateful day. Although Mystique didn't know it...Scott somewhat treasured that day because it was the day where he and Jean finally admitted to having feelings for one another. Afterwards, they became more than friends and started dating. Since then...They had grown very close, becoming lovers and soul mates...Especially after the Phoenix incident. And it was all because of what Mystique did to him back in Mexico. Scott almost smiled at the thought, but stopped himself from saying anything. He didn't know what to say next...But then once again, he saw his reflection in the window of the jet...And suddenly, it became a lot clearer to him.

"I haven't forgotten about that incident, Raven," began Scott as the shape shifter once again shifted her gaze to meet that of the young man sitting in the pilot seat, "But I don't blame you for it...At least, now that I think about it...I don't think that it was really you that did that."

"What do you mean?" asked Mystique, somewhat bewildered by his words.

"Mystique...For all the years that I've known you...I've only seen one part of you," explained Scott, "And you too have only seen one part of me. When I looked at you in the past, I saw Mystique...The shape shifter, the terrorist, the assassin, the fighter...In other words, the bitter and angry woman that made the choices that affected your kids in the first place. And when you look at me, you no doubt see that cocky, upstanding, squeaky clean boy scout and leader with the weird visor...In other words, you only see Cyclops."

"What's your point?"

"My point is...That for all the years that I've known you...I honestly don't know a thing about you," answered Scott, "I know Mystique...And honestly, she's not a very likable character...But I'm not looking at Mystique right now. And you're not looking at Cyclops right now. Right now...I'm looking at Raven Darkholm...The woman behind the powers and through the veil of deception that you and your powers so often cast. I've never gotten to know this woman...Until now. Because that's who I'm looking at right now."

Scott's words were an enigma to Mystique as she heard them...But when she actually thought about it, he was right on many different levels. As Mystique, she had hurt her children, tried to kill Cyclops, and use her daughter against Apocalypse...But as Raven Darkholm, she hadn't truly been able to do anything. For so long now...She had been Mystique...Not Raven Darkholm. She had hidden behind her powers, using them to make herself into the angry, bitter woman that she so hated right now.

"I...Think I understand what you're trying to say Cyclops," said Mystique as his words sunk in, "It's just that...I've been Mystique as you say it for so long now that...I don't know if there's any Raven Darkholm left within me."

"That's where your wrong, Raven...Because that's exactly who is sitting right in front of me. I know this...Because Mystique would never admit to making the wrong choices with her children, she would try to justify her actions with her own disillusionment. And I also know this because the real Mystique...Would never cry over losing her daughter...Because to her, it would just be losing an accomplice which can easily be replaced. A daughter on the other hand...Can never be replaced. I can tell that Raven Darkholm had a great deal of love for her children...But Mystique just got in the way."

It was funny...For someone who by all accounts should hate her with every fiber of his being, Scott was finally helping her make sense of her world that had for so long been a shattered mess. He was the last person that she thought she would ever find solstice in...But in speaking to him, it was as if she was speaking to a complete stranger that she had never met. Then, she remembered what he said earlier about her only knowing one side of him in the same way he only know one side of her. And in thinking that she couldn't help but wonder...

"I suppose your right about that...But if that's the case...Then who am I looking at right now? Because I know that Cyclops would never in a million years talk to me in the way that you have."

Scott then managed to show a brief smile as he looked back into the eyes of Raven Darkholm...Not Mystique.

"You're looking at the guy behind the visor...You're just looking at Scott Summers now."

It made sense now...A lot of things were beginning to make sense now even though there was so much more that Mystique wanted to know about herself and the actions that she had come to regret. In simply talking to somebody in a different way...It felt as though she truly was Raven Darkholm again. It was a welcomed feeling...One that actually made her smile for the first time in what seemed like forever.

"Well...Thank you...Scott Summers."

"No problem. It was nice to finally meet you Raven..." said Scott as he held out his hand.

Knowing what he meant by that...She almost laughed.

"Nice meeting you too Scott..."

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The incessant darkness as a result of the thick clouds gave way once more as Eric Lensherr and Piotr Rasputin descended once again as the Xavier Institute came in to view in the distance. The Brotherhood boarding house had been destroyed...And three of the inhabitance had been killed in the process. Their deaths were wrongful in so many ways...But Lance, Todd, and Freddy didn't have a chance, for they were fast asleep in their beds as death fell upon them. Magneto had gone there in hopes of finding his children, but since that their bodies were not among those at the site, he could only hope that they had survived and fled to the Xavier Mansion. However, if his mountain based complex had been hit and so had the Brotherhood...Then it was a pretty safe bet that the X-men had been hit as well. These attacks were well coordinated, well planned, and swiftly executed...Hinting at a diabolical mind behind all this carnage. However, Magneto did not think about that as he flew in closer to the institute grounds...All that he could think about were his children.

"We're almost there..." said Eric as he used his powers to gain speed.

However, as soon as they flew close enough...Their eyes met with a grizzly scene.

"Oh no...They hit them too..." said Colossus as he looked down at the carnage below.

The once proud institute that had given hope to so many scarred young mutants out there now lay in complete and utter ruin. Now, all that remained was rubble...Smoking, charred rubble. It was still smoldering in some areas and dozens of men and women in military uniform remained littered throughout the area sifting through the debris and putting out the surrounding fires. The smell of smoke hung strong in the air even as the two men remained high above the ground. Eric Lensherr let out an angry grunt of frustration as he saw the home of his old friend destroyed in the same manner that his complex had been. He didn't know if Charles had been inside at the time or if he had somehow managed to escape...But the prospects did not look very promising. Then, just like he had at the Brotherhood, Piotr saw something horrifying on the ground near the front of the destroyed mansion.

"Magneto...Look," said the Russian as he drew Eric's attention once more.

"No...No not this...Not here..." said Magneto as he looked at the ghastly scene before him.

All along the ground, body bags were lined up in a grim row of death. There were more than there were at the Brotherhood...A lot more. There looked to be over a dozen bloody bags. Some of the contents were visible...And it was just as bad, if not worse as before. Piotr tried to look away as the horrible sight of so many dead children lying on the ground below in such an inhuman state. The grizzly mutilation caused by the explosions and attacks were almost too hard to look at. For Eric Lensherr...It all resembled the horrible scenes he saw as a boy in Nazi concentration camps of many dead bodies being piled together as if they were mere garbage.

"This inhumanity..." said Eric in a deep, darkened voice, "Is appalling. These children...These innocent souls...Taken without mercy...Without conscious. I MUST find my children...I must protect them from such cruelty!"

A feeling of great anger soon consumed the Master of Magnetism as he looked at the dead bodies below him. However, unknown to either him or Piotr...They were both being watched. In the trees of the wooded areas in and around the institute, two groups of marines lay in cover away from Magneto's sight. Using their high-resolution night vision, they could see the man and his associate hovering silently over the ground below them. The leader of the group, who was concealed within the branches of a high tree, aiming his rifle directly at Magneto was prepared to strike. Staying invisible from sight...The soldier made a quick contact over an encrypted line to his superior.

"General Stryker...This marine group leader one checking in," said the soldier softly into his wireless headset, "I have bucket head in my sights and my men are prepared to strike. What are your orders?"

A brief silence soon fell over the line as the message reached a very eager William Stryker at the other end. His palms were sweaty with excitement as Magneto was now finally in the crosshairs of a gun...Ready to be taken out once in for all. Then, the soldier got his response over the line as Stryker replied in a sinister, calm voice.

"Take him out solder...Take that bastard tyrant out once and for all..."

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AN: Well, I'll stop there for now. I know I left it at another big cliff hanger, but don't worry...I'll try to make so you all won't have to wait too long! So what do you think? Are they going to succeed in killing Magneto? Stay tuned to find out! I know this chapter was a bit heavy on the dialogue, particularly the little chat that Cyclops had with Mystique. But I really wanted to do that because I wanted to bring out a new dimension for the both of them. They don't talk much in any other story or X-men universe out there, so I thought that I would do something unique! And the psychological outline that was discussed...Well, that's just a result of too much thinking on my part. So what do you all think? Did you like the first Kurt/Wanda elements in this chapter? They were a great couple in the comics and I go really well together in my opinion. And you haven't seen the last of them in this story! I have plenty more to tell! In the meantime, please send me some feedback! Send me your reviews directly via email or post them on the fanfiction website! Well, thank you all for reading! I really appreciate it and I wish you all the best!

REVIEW!!! SLICKY HUNGRY FOR REVIEWS!!!
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