Categories > Comics > X-Men > Phoenix Destiny0 Reviews
The power of the Phoenix is shaken to it's core and Jean Grey must face all her old demons or the universe itself will burn to ashes in cosmic flame.
Chapter 7: Epilogue
In a dark alley in the grim and gritty section of New York City, the elegant figure known as Emma Frost walked the dreary path through defeat. Gone was her role in the X-men. Gone was all the trust she had worked so hard to gain. In the end, her greatest rival did her in and the loss hit her harder than she ever could have imagined.
"I'm here," she said into the darkness.
Out of the shadows, four figures emerged. One of them was Sebastian Shaw, the Black King of the Hellfire Club. And with him were his fellow Hellfire associates, which included Cassandra Nova and a mysterious cloaked figure whose face was hidden by a dark veil.
"I take it your mission was a failure," said Shaw coldly as Emma stood before them.
"Yes," she said indifferently, "My cover was blown. I had to pull out."
"A most unfortunate turn of events," sighed Cassandra, "And to think, we planned everything so thoroughly."
"Jean came back and she brought help," said Emma bluntly, "There was nothing we could have done."
"So it seems," said Shaw, not sounding at all dissuaded, "But Hellfire is hardly out of the picture. There are still plenty of ways to accomplish our goals."
"I'm sure there are," said Emma, "But this time, count me out."
Her words earned her a harsh scold from her Hellfire comrades, but she remained as firm as ever. Even in defeat, Emma Frost would stand strong, even to those who outranked her.
"Out, you say?" said Cassandra skeptically.
"I'm serious," frowned Emma, "I'm done. I'm sick of this."
"Oh come now my dear," scoffed Shaw, "Don't tell me hanging with those X-men made you soft."
"In your dreams," quipped Emma.
"Then was it Mr. Summers?" questioned Cassandra, "Could it be true that you really did have feelings for him and now that the truth is out, you're resolve has been shaken?"
Emma's scold hardened as she gazed at her former allies. As strong as she was, even her tolerance for defeat had its limits. And after what she lost this time around, enough was enough.
"I'm done with Hellfire," said Emma strongly, "I'm leaving and I'm taking my Cuckoos with me."
"Don't be a fool, my dear," said Shaw with a scowl, "You cannot walk away from us. You are the White Queen."
"Not anymore," retorted Emma as she turned her back on Hellfire and walked away, "From this day forward, I'm nobody's queen."
It was an insult to Hellfire that could not stand. Nobody defied them, no matter how great their rank. But Emma was never one to make threats she wasn't willing to carry out. And with her gone, that would make their jobs much more difficult.
"That ungrateful..." began Shaw angrily.
"Let her go," said the figure in the cloak, "She is lost to us."
"And so is our key pawn for the X-men," added Cassandra.
"Perhaps," said the figure, "But we still have everything we need to finish what we started. It is only a matter of changing our plans."
"But how can we just let her go?" scorned Shaw, "She has failed us. Hellfire cannot tolerate failure."
"She will face the same fate as the rest of our enemies eventually," said the figure calmly, "But for now, we must simply bide our time. Hellfire may be down, but we are never out. We will return. And when we do, all those who defy us shall perish."
And with those final words, the Hellfire Club disappeared into the shadows, poised to fight another day.
Back at the mansion, the reconstruction effort to the damage done by the Phoenix was already well underway. Many of the students pitched in, cleaning up the broken glass and clearing out the debris from the epic fight. And after all the grim news in wake of M-day, it was nice to have something happy to talk about with the return of Jean Grey.
Up in the main offices, Jean was catching up on what she had missed with Scott, Rachel, Logan, Kitty, and Piotr. They filled her in on what happened after her death and revealed the grim details of M-day that left the mutant population decimated.
It was a lot to take in, but it was good to be alive again. And with the state of the world not getting any better with this new superhero registration rumor, the X-men definitely had their work cut out for them.
"So the whole mutant population was cut because of Wanda?" summarized Jean as she looked out the window, watching the residents repair their home.
"Pretty much," sighed Logan, "It's been a mess ever since."
"I can only imagine. It almost makes me wish I still had the power of the Phoenix to undo everything."
"After what we've been dealing with, we all do," said Scott, "But the damage is already done and we've been stuck picking up the pieces."
"Well now that I'm back, I have a lot to make up for. So I might as well do my part," said Jean, still the determined fighter, "You guys wouldn't happen to have an opening here, would you?"
Scott couldn't help but laugh at that. Even in the face of a grim situation, her spirits remained as high as ever.
"Well we did just get an opening for the title of headmistress," said Scott.
"Am I going to need a resume?" she joked.
"Nah, I'd say you're a shoo in!" grinned Rachel.
"Yeah, can't be any worse than the Frost bitch," commented Kitty.
"Katya..." said Piotr, shaking his head.
"Sorry, but it's true. I knew that woman was trouble. I could feel it from day one."
"Yeah...we all should have," growled Logan, "Where'd she head off to anyways?"
"I don't know," sighed Scott, "She must have slipped away in the confusion. The Cuckoos are gone too."
"You think she went back to the Hellfire Club?" suggested Rachel.
"Oh I wouldn't be so sure about that," said Jean with a suspicious tone.
"Huh? What are you talking about?" said Kitty with a skeptical look.
Jean was silent for a moment as she contemplated her rival. Even though she played a big part in her death and tried to steal her husband, she remembered the day when she mind raped her and brought her back to life. With her Phoenix powers, she had burned through her defenses and uncovered her secrets. And some of those secrets weren't as they seemed.
"I know it sounds crazy, but I think on some levels, Emma did find a place here at the institute," she mused, "And as much as I hate to admit it, she was right about some things."
"You've gotta be kidding me," scoffed Rachel.
"I mean it," sighed Jean, "She always criticized me for running off and dying on my friends. And she had a point. I left a lot of you behind when I needed you the most."
"That wasn't your fault, Jean," said Scott, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"In some ways, it wasn't," she conceded, "But Emma was right about one thing...I was afraid. I was afraid of what I was becoming and what I was doing to my loved ones. That and dealing with the Phoenix was just too much."
"But the Phoenix is gone now," said Rachel, "You're you again, Mom."
"That's not true," she said, turning back to her friends, "I am still the Phoenix. We just exist on a different level now."
"Well as long as you're here, that's all that matters," said Logan.
"Thanks, Logan...I owe you and everybody else so much," she said, feeling her emotions get the better of her again, "And I promise you I'll make this life count."
"And so will we," said Scott, pulling her into an embrace.
It was a warm moment in an otherwise bleak world. And for Jean Grey, it was a true blessing. Even if the world wasn't going to get any easier, she was going to make sure she treasured each moment. After having died one time too many, she was ready to live again. But before she moved forward with her life, she had one last matter to lay to rest.
As the others spread the word about Jean's return, the newly reborn woman took some time aside to spend with her husband. They had a lot to make up. And after enduring so many complications, she wanted to rebuild what they had almost lost.
Their marriage had nearly been destroyed. The merge with Apocalypse, the psychic affair with Emma, and Jean's tragic death put a strain on the both of them. But now that the veil of lies had been lifted, they were ready to start picking up the pieces. It was not going to be easy, but their love was worth it.
Walking through the deserted lower levels, the reunited couple stood hand in hand, trying to make sense of everything that had happened.
"So what happens now?" asked Scott, walking with his once dead wife in a daze.
"I don't know, Scott," said Jean honestly, "I really don't."
"We've got a lot to work out," said Scott, his tone growing serious, "Lies or not, we had a lot of problems. And it wasn't just Emma."
"Yeah, I know," said Jean, her voice distant as she remembered those grim times, "We were both at odds. We were dealing with a lot of crap and we just didn't handle it the way we should have."
"That still doesn't absolve me for what I did," said Scott, stopping to take his wife into his arms, "Jean, I ran into the arms of another woman...a former enemy no less. I had a psychic affair with her. And even though it was just thoughts, it was still an act of infidelity on my part."
A heavy silence fell upon the long time lovers. Never before had their love been questioned like this, yet in the end they had made it through. They saw things clearly now. And with the link they shared, there was no more doubt. They were meant to be, now and forever.
"Scott I...I know things between us have never been easy," she said, struggling with her words, "And I admit, that affair hit me hard. I was really beginning to think our marriage was over. I was really beginning to think you didn't love me anymore."
"That's not true, Jean," said Scott, feeling the strain as well, "I've always loved you. I just...I felt something with Emma. I know it was wrong and I know it was a big lie, but I still felt it."
"So all those things you said about her that first time I came back...were they true?"
Scott hesitated before answering. As hard as it was, letting go of what he had with Emma wasn't easy. Even if she did use him, he couldn't deny what he had felt. It tore at his heart, but he was thinking clearly now. He knew what was in his heart.
"On some levels, they were," he conceded, "But even if a part of me did love her, you're still my soul mate, Jean. Even when I was with her, I thought about you. Even during the affair, she made herself look like you. And that's because you're the love of my life. I've never doubted that. I was just..."
"Afraid?" said Jean, finishing his train of thought for him, "I know. I was afraid too."
"But you didn't shack up with some manipulative blonde," muttered Scott with remorse.
"No, but I did kiss Logan," she admitted.
That earned her a look, but Scott didn't say anything.
For a moment, they just stood in silence, reflecting on all the hurdles their love had faced. It had nearly been destroyed forever. But their hearts were still entwined, even in the face of death and lies.
Jean found herself, hugging her husband closer. In return, he hugged back, never wanting to let her go again. They tried to hold back their tears, but that was not possible anymore.
"I'm sorry, Jean. I'm so sorry," sobbed Scott, tears streaming down his face.
"I'm sorry too," she choked, "I'm sorry I kept dying on you. I'm sorry I kept leaving you when we needed each other the most."
"But I'm not afraid anymore," he told her, swallowing his sorrow, "I had to come to terms with a lot of things, Jean. But one thing has always remained constant."
Taking her face in his hands, Scott gazed into her beautiful green eyes, wanting to make sure she felt every ounce of love through their bond.
"I love you, Jean...I love you more than anything. You're my wife, my lover, and my best friend."
"I love you too, Scott," she said, holding him close, "I love you so much."
Unable to hold in their emotions a moment longer, the reunited lovers met in a deep kiss. It had been too long since their love had flowed so freely. All the lies and death were no longer a burden. And at long last, they could embrace that which was nearly lost.
Their link now solid, the two lovers parted with new hope. They had a long ways to go, but they were going to make this journey together.
"We've got a lot to make up for," said Scott, smiling at his beautiful wife.
"I know. But we'll get around to it," said Jean, smiling back.
"First, I want to renew our vows. I want to take a second honeymoon. I want to put the past behind us and move forward."
"Sounds like a plan, lover," said Jean, feeling his love pouring through their link, "But before we get to that, there's one more thing I have to take care of."
Her thoughts drifting back to Jack, a renewed feeling of sorrow came over her. Scott was quick to pick up on it and took her hand as they renewed their trek to the infirmary.
"None of this would have happened if it wasn't for him," she mused, "He made the ultimate sacrifice for us. It's only proper that we honor him."
"Yeah, I think so too," said Scott, staying close as they prepared to enter the area where Jack's body resided, "We'll give him a memorial service, grave, everything. He deserves our respect after what he did for us."
It still saddened Jean that Slayer had to die to save them all. But in the end, he kept his promise to her. And for that, she vowed to keep her promise to him. Even in death, his impact on her would never be forgotten.
And as they prepared to view his body one last time, Jean held Scott's hand as her thoughts drifted back to everything she owed this mysterious man.
"I just...I wish there was something more I could have done," she sighed, "Jack saved me...he saved all of us."
"I know," said Scott with a comforting gesture, "But he made his choice. The least we can do is..."
Suddenly, as they entered the infirmary, they were met with a shocking sight. The body bag that Hank and Logan had put Slayer's body in was empty. It lay flat on the gurney, as if there had never been a body in it to begin with.
"What the..." gasped Jean as she ran over to the gurney, "Where's the body?!"
"I don't know," said Scott, scrambling for an explanation, "I thought Hank..."
Then suddenly, something caught Jean's eye.
"Wait! Scott, look at this!"
Standing over the empty body bag, the two lovers peaked inside to see a single sheet of paper with messy handwriting on it. Curious, they picked it up and read over the text. And as Jean absorbed the fateful words, tears filled her eyes and that of her husband.
"Oh my God," she gasped in a weak voice, "Jack..."
And through the words of a single letter, the final message of the mysterious warrior found its way. And it was a message that Scott Summers and Jean Grey would be sure to heed. After all, they had a promise to keep.
Hey, if you guys are reading this, then you're probably standing in front of an empty body bag with a ton of questions going through your mind.
First off, no, you're not crazy. I am gone, but I'm not dead. I know I should have left this world back with the Phoenix, but I can't...not yet. There are still things I have to do, places I have to see, and challenges I have to overcome. You have your place. I have mine. I'm sorry, but this is the way it has to be.
The battles I fight must be fought alone. I know it sounds selfish, but one constant must remain...I cannot have anything to lose.
You have friends, family, and above all...love. And take it from someone who's lost everything...don't take it for granted. That's exactly why I can't become attached. Trust me, its better this way.
That's not to say you won't see me again. Our paths may very well cross somewhere down the line, but until that day I ask that you promise me one thing.
Don't ever be afraid to open your heart and face who you are. In a world where lies are everywhere, the best things to hold onto are the things from within. Love each other, cherish each other, and make each moment count. The path to the future is open to everybody, but it's up to you to walk it.
So long my friends. Good luck in your journey. Just remember, you have the power...it's just a matter of how you use it.
AN: That's it. That's the end. Screw 616, this is my take. But what do you all think? I'd love to know. Please send me your comments via email or post them on the fanfiction website. I don't care which you do as long as you REVIEW! Thank you all for reading and I wish each and every one of you the best!
THE STORY IS OVER! BUT THE REVIEWS MUST LIVE ON! REVIEW!
The path to the future is open to everybody, but it's up to you to walk it.