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 40: A New Future
The new Xavier Institute had finally opened its doors after a long, hard summer of constant work. For those that had survived the terrible attacks that had taken so many innocent lives, it was more than just rebuilding their home...It was rebuilding a new life. Former enemies were now friends, new allies had come to help, and a new reality had settled over the world as a whole. The attacks didn't just impact those who survived it...In many ways it impacted the whole world. Seeing the faces and victims of hate and learning how they had been used by the powers that they were supposed to trust instilled a sobering new view on the state of the world. William Stryker had played everybody with his power and influence. He tainted the ideals of a nation and of humanity in general. But the effects that this man had on the world could never be undone. Even though he was dead...His legacy would always live on as a grim reminder to the power of human hate and the brutality of war.
The effects of the war had given the new X-men many things to feel sorrow for...But it also gave them reasons to feel joy as well. New friends, new relationships, and new beginnings symbolized the onset of a world that they were destined make a difference in. For Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr, it was a chance to put the past behind them and work together as they should have many years ago. This time, they would lead a generation of young mutants together in hopes that wars like the one William Stryker brought upon the world would never happen again. But the fight for acceptance would be different this time around...For many things had changed. This was by no means a battle like the one they had struggled so hard against before...Instead, it was a struggle. Like all movements in history, change is met with conflict and can only be overcome with hard work and struggle. And the X-men had shown that they were strong and they could muster through anything the world threw at them. Now all that was left was for humanity to take up the same responsibility.
The assembly hall of Bayville High was crowded with both new and old students as they awaited the beginning of a new school year. For the students of the Xavier Institute, it was the beginning of more than just that...It was the first step to returning to the lives they had led before the attacks happened. Now, they would be going to school...Trying to live normal lives like regular humans enduring prejudice, hate, and ignorance from those who had not been as impacted by the war as they had. For Kurt, Kitty, Wanda, Pietro, Alex, and Sarah it would be a dramatic transition knowing what they had experienced the summer before. It was an important step to take for them and they knew it would be by no means easy, but it was one that they were all willing to take after having fought so hard in their war for survival.
Scott and Jean were also there in the auditorium of their old high school. While they would inevitably return to college, this was a moment that they did not want to miss. Piotr, who would also be going to college complements of the Professor, was there as well alongside Kitty and the others, including Warren and Betsy, to witness this momentous event that would mark the first small step towards progress in their fight for acceptance.
As for the Professor, Logan, Eric, and Raven who was in the shape of a simple human variation of herself, they stayed backstage as they prepared to meet Bayville's new principal, who was about to give a major speech to the entire student body to mark off the beginning of the new year. It would be an ominous position to fill knowing that Edward Kelly, the man who had helped make Stryker's bloody war possible, once held the same status at the school. And this would carry a legacy with Bayville as long as the war remained in peoples' collective unconsciousness. However, the teachers of the new Xavier Institute hoped that this would bring a more positive light to Bayville and help them on their steps towards maintaining this new peace.
"So when's the new principal supposed to be here?" asked Eric as he stood with his associates behind the curtains of the stage.
"Soon, I hope," answered Xavier, "The speech is set to begin in less than ten minutes so I would assume he or she would want to prepare."
"Any idea who it is or where they stand on mutants?" asked Logan as he looked out through the curtains at the mass of teenagers clamoring the auditorium.
"No, but we can only hope that it not at all like the views of Senator Kelly while he was principal here," replied Xavier.
"I would certainly hope not," said Raven as she looked through the curtains to see her son in the audience sitting next to Wanda, "Maybe I should have tried being principal here again...Even though I don't think I was liked very much."
"Oh, so you'd rather deal with two groups of students instead of one?" said Logan with a smirk, knowing how the shape shifter was at handling things at the school before from the stories the others had told over the years.
"Well...It would give me some assurance," said Raven, remembering the trials and tribulations of the job of being principal for the brief time that she had held it.
"Perhaps it would be less stressful for all of us if you simply stuck to being a teacher at the institute, Raven," said Eric, trying to imagine how stressed she would be if she had both jobs.
"I know...That job alone is going to be hard enough," sighed Raven, still new to the concept of being a teacher at the institute after once having been such a bitter enemy, "I just hope I don't mess it up this time like I have so many other things in my life."
"Try no to think of it like that Raven," said Xavier, "Teaching may not be anything like the job of an internationally wanted mutant terrorist...But I assure you it can be just as challenging. Although, the rewards for such a job are far greater and the impact it has is far more reaching."
"I'll take your word for it on that Charles," responded Raven, "But if I can survive two years of hell and a war that nearly killed me and everything I held dear...Then I think I can handle students."
"Don't get cocky Misty," grinned Logan, "Trust me, it ain't easy. There are days when you'd rather fight Apocalypse than face some of the students you come across. Believe me, it's a challenge...But the Prof is right about the rewards. They are the best anybody could ever hope for."
"Thanks for your vote of confidence Logan," replied Raven with a hint of sarcasm, "And I would say the same for you in dealing with your daughter. But maybe I'm not the best person to reference when it comes to parenting."
"Nor I Logan...But you've already done a lot to connect with her," said Magneto, "You managed to do in a few weeks what I couldn't do with Wanda and Pietro in two years. You should feel proud of that."
Logan was still getting used to the idea of being a father to Sarah after having legally become her only parent. Looking back out at the auditorium and seeing her next to Alex made him feel somewhat weary about the challenges that awaited him. He had no experience in some ways, but after having dealt with students for so many years he had the capability. He knew that Sarah had not had a very happy life after having once been a dangerous living weapon only known as X23. But he was no stranger to such hardships and if anybody could help her...It was him.
Then, as Xavier checked his watch once again, he felt that they may not get a chance to meet up with the new principal after all. And since everything was set to start soon, it would be best if he and his new set of teachers and friends made their way to the seats with the rest of the students.
"Well I suppose we'll have to wait to meet the new principal," said the Professor, "We should probably find some seats before they're all taken."
"Yeah, yer probably right as always Chuck," said Logan, "Come on Misty, let's go find one before we have to kick some punk kid out of it."
"Right behind you badger boy..." grinned Raven as she followed her friend down the stairs off to the side and made their way up the rows of seats.
Both the Professor and Magneto were about to follow, when suddenly a new voice stopped them cold in their tracks.
"Hello Charles...It's been a while."
The voice struck a chord within the powerful telepath as he immediately recognized the Scottish accent in the tone. Upon turning his wheelchair around, a look of shock came over him as his eyes confirmed what his ears had heard.
"Moria..." said Xavier as he quickly found himself in a strange position, "What are you doing here?"
Eric looked back at the woman with a confused expression, but both she and Xavier didn't seem to notice this one bit.
"You didn't hear? I'm the new principal here at Bayville," she answered as she approached the two men.
Professor Xavier soon found himself at a loss for words, a rare thing for a man like him. Of all the people he thought he would meet here at Bayville, he never in a million years would have thought he would once again come across his ex wife...Less alone find out that she was going to be the new principal.
"You look shocked Charles," grinned Moria, trying to lighten the mood.
"Well...I am shocked," said the Professor as he soon regained his composure, "I just didn't expect to see you here, that's all."
"Well to be fair, I didn't expect to come here either," answered Moria, "But after I heard about what happened three months ago...I was just so overwhelmed and horrified at such a horrendous loss of life that I...I took the first chance I got to do something to help."
The tone in Moria McTaggart's voice shifted to one of sorrow as she remembered the feelings she felt during those fateful few weeks when the world itself seemed to turn on mutants everywhere. She knew that much of what the global media said was untrue, but there was very little that she could do about it. Although she and Xavier had been distant in the years after their separation, the sight of his beloved students killed and mutilated like animals brought out many feelings of remorse within her.
"I honestly thought that you were dead Charles..." she added with sincerity in her tone.
"Well...You know him," smiled Eric, taking his friend out of the hot seat for a while, "Even when he's bound by a wheelchair, he still manages to stay strong."
Moria couldn't help but laugh at Eric's words. She remembered how Charles talked about him a lot when they were together and she remembered how they had gone separate paths. But deep down, she knew that Eric would come around. Xavier had always expressed this view even during times when his friend continued to devolve into madness. However, Moria didn't want to think of the past right now...She was here because of the future and what she so desperately wanted to do to make it better so that neither she nor anybody else would have to lay eyes on the gruesome pictures of dead mutant children ever again.
"I guess I can't argue with that," said Moria with a grin, "I'm glad to see that war hasn't tainted your sense of humor Eric."
"Luckily it hasn't..." agreed Charles as the mood lightened, "So if you're going to be principal here, then who's going to take care of Muir Island?"
"Oh don't worry about that Charles," assured Moria, "It's in good hands. Besides...Being principal here is a good way to make a greater impact like I knew you always wanted to do. And while my heart goes out to ye and all the children that died that day, just know that I would have been there to help if I could."
"I never had any doubt Moria..." smiled the Professor, "And I'm glad to know that both my students and Bayville is in good hands."
"Thank you Charles...And this time, I promise to help as much as I can. You have my word."
Then, the lights began to dim in the auditorium, hinting that it was almost time to begin the ceremony.
"Well, I had best get ready for my speech," said Moria, "It was nice seeing ye again Charles. You too Eric...Keep him out of trouble, you hear?"
"Do not worry...He is in good hands," assured Eric with a grin as Moria made her way to the main stage.
After she left, a brief silence fell over the two men. Xavier still had a hard time getting over the shock of seeing Moria again after this time. He rarely spoke with her after they separated. But he was glad to know that his students would have someone to watch out for them when they weren't within the walls of the institute. The world was a dangerous place...And having friends to help was one of the best ways to help cope with that danger both in times of great hope and in times of great uncertainty.
For Eric, he couldn't help but grin at the strange turn of events that he had just witnessed. While it may have been humorous to see his friend caught so off guard, it was comforting at the same time knowing that they had at least one human friend out there that was willing to accept mutants for who and what they were. And even if every other human in the world didn't feel the same way...Having just one was a victory in of itself.
"Charles...Was that..." began Eric, but the Professor soon cut him off, knowing all too well what he was going to ask.
"Moria McTaggart...My ex-wife," said Professor Xavier, still feeling somewhat awkward about this new development.
"You're ex-wife..." repeated Eric, "And she's now the principal of this school..."
"Please don't start Magnus..." said Xavier as he shook his head.
"Oh come now Charles...This I have to hear," grinned Magneto, who was having way too much fun with this moment.
"I'll fill you in later on old friend..." sighed Xavier, now knowing how some of his students felt when it game to gossip, "But in the meantime, I think we should find ourselves a seat..."
The students and teachers of Bayville High and the residents both old and young of the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters prepared for the assembly to begin. There were many things going through the heads of those that had survived the deadly attacks upon their home and livelihood, but overall they were not feelings of dread or anxiety...For if there was one thing that working together and rebuilding their lives had showed them, it was that there was always hope even in one's darkest hour. So many times, they had faced death and so many times they had fought to escape it. While many of their friends and family had not been so fortunate, they had grown stronger in the process of making sure that their memories lived on.
As the new principal, Moria McTaggart, walked across the stage the audience applauded and for the students of the institute, it was now time to listen and wait for whatever the future had in store for them.
"Good morning students and welcome back..." began the new principal as she looked over the entire student body that she was now in charge of, "My name is Moria McTaggart...And I'll be your new principal here at Bayville High. I can't tell you how honored I am to be a part of this school at such a major point in history. I know that this past summer had a major impact on every last one of you...Some more than others. In the span of only a few months...A major war from within this beautiful country erupted against its citizens and brought forth tragedy, loss, and shock unlike anything that has ever happened before. But for everybody here, the events struck much closer to home. Many of the children that were so brutally and needlessly murdered that day went to this very school...Walked these very halls...And even sat in this very auditorium. Some of you may have known them...Some of you may have even been friends with them...And I'm sure that some of you taunted, teased, and picked on them. And for what reason? Simply because they were born different...Because most people didn't understand them. And it is that kind of hate and intolerance that drove those behind the war and brought forth so much carnage upon the innocent. Many of the students that died had families, friends, and dreams...Just like the rest of you. They were mutants...Yet to most people there was nothing more to them than the powers they wielded. But there was more to them than simply mutant powers...There were people behind those powers. Each one of them had their own story to tell just like each and every individual here, mutant or non-mutant. And simply because of one part of that story...One small part that they could not control...They had their lives taken away from them. Their hopes, dreams, and aspirations...They will never come to pass simply because of intolerance and hatred. I know many of you saw those pictures of their bodies just like the rest of the world and no matter how gruesome they may be...We must never forget them. Those pictures show the horrors that hate can lead to. And we must all be confident that we are better than that...We are better than the savagery of murder and intolerance of innocent people. Now I talk about this war because I know it had an impact. I know some of you many still walk through the halls, see somebody whom you know is a mutant, and taunt and tease him or her simply because of the way that they were born. But I also know that some of you will do the exact opposite when you see a mutant because of what the events of the past few months have shown you. Either way, this is a new world now. You are all a part of a new generation that will have great influence over the generations to come in how they choose to see the world. Will they be full of hate, fear, and intolerance and simply lead to more bloodshed? Or will they have learned from their predecessor and be full of compassion, understanding, and love? The choice is up to you all now. As principal of this wonderful school, I will make sure that the rules apply to everybody despite race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or genes. But there is only so much I can do...It is up to all of you to see to it that humanity learns from this war. And so Bayville...I welcome you all to a new year and I look forward to being a part of this wonderful school...Thank you."
Applause broke out all over the auditorium as the students of Bayville High, both mutant and non-mutant alike, cheered the words of their new principal. Her words offered promise and hope as well as a grim reminder at the power of hate that had killed the innocent people that had once walked the halls of the school. Some were in tears at the mention of those who died while there were still those that scoffed at the mention of dead mutants. However, the knowledge that some of their own had died in such a grand and deceitful war struck a chord with everybody because it only made them feel as though they had been a part of it. The legacy of William Stryker and his war of hate would not soon be forgotten by anyone...But it was the memory of the victims, not the violence of his method that remained prevalent.
As the applause began to die down, Moria remained on stage smiling at the impact of her words among the student body. But she was not done yet...For there was one last thing that had to be done before this new generation went about making their own choices and their future.
"Thank you...Thank you all. I appreciate it," said Moria as once again, everybody in the auditorium focused on her, "Now before I step down and let you all go about making your own choices about what I have just said...There is one last matter to take care off. While I know that you all will never forget how the victims died...You must also remember how they lived. And that's why, with the help of Charles Xavier and his wonderful students and staff, we have for you a brief show commemorating those that died that fateful night. As you watch it...Remember who these young men and women were...Not just what they could do. They all had lives...Despite them being tragically cut short, each and every one of them had a life. And for the souls of those that were taken all too soon from this world...We must lift our hearts to them...And never forget..."
Then, as Moria finished, the lights dimmed and music began to play. On the large projection screen that came down from the ceiling, the images of a slide show that the new X-men and their teachers had put together began to show up in vivid detail for all to see. However, these were not the pictures of the dead, mutilated bodies that everybody was so familiar with at this point...They were pictures of the victims when they were alive. There were photos, videos, and audio clips of the voices that had fallen forever silent. Now, they were mere echoes from beyond the grave...But not for the purpose of haunting...It was more for the purpose of reminding everybody who these people they had mourned truly were.
In the area where the students of the institute and their professors sat, it was a particularly emotional moment as they saw the living images of their friends and family that were now long gone. Both Kurt and Raven felt tears in their eyes as they saw images of Rogue when she was still alive. Others soon followed as they saw the faces of those that they would never see alive again. Each dead friend had a story to tell...And it would be up to them to make sure that the world knew every one of them.
As the show played and images of the children that had died flashed upon the screen, Scott and Jean gently held each other's hand in a close, loving grip. Through their psychic link that had been so powerfully forged over the years, they could feel the deep emotion brought on by these images. Each hand had a beautiful ring on it...Now that they were getting married and looked forward to spending the rest of their lives with each other. And by seeing the kids on the screen...It gave them hope that any kids they had together would have a better world to live in through the stories and lessons told by the friends that had been lost.
As Kurt struggled to hold back his tears as a result of seeing pictures and images of Rogue, Wanda stayed close to him and gently entwined her fingers with his and hugged him close...Letting him know that he wasn't alone in his grief and never would be. Kurt willfully accepted the embrace of the girl that had so quickly captured his heart in the midst of tragedy. She had helped him just as much as he had helped her...And for that they would always have the time during that horrible war when they grew so close connected with each other in such a profound way. That connection...One of true love and understanding...Was something that each of them would treasure no matter what the future held for them. They had both gained and lost something as a result of this war...But now they had each other and after everything they had been through...They were determined to never let go.
For Kitty, seeing many of the friends she had alive on the screen had brought out a lot of hard feelings for her. Seeing them in this manner almost made it seem as though they were still alive. She clung to Piotr's strong arm as he lent his support to her in this difficult time. Losing so much and going through all these tribulations at such a young age had left their marks...But she was no longer the young girl that was struggling to make sense out of everything, she was a young woman. Piotr had seen for himself how much she had to grow up in such a short period of time...But she had done it and stayed strong. Her will, her heart, and her spirit was truly unique and as he absorbed the feeling of her grip on him...He looked forward to being a part of and learning from that uniqueness, for she had now forever entrenched herself in his heart.
For Sarah Logan, formerly known as weapon X-23, seeing the images of those that had been killed by war...The very thing she had been trained to fight her whole life...It struck deep at the emotions she had so long struggled with. For every life that was taken...There was a story behind that life. Seeing that on the screen brought out many strange feelings within her because it reminded her of just how wrong the people at Hydra had been. War was not a game or a business...It was a conflict that often brought tragedy and heartache to many. She may not have been an expert on emotions, but she knew the feelings that she felt now were hers and hers alone...Not Hydra's. This time, she no longer cringed at the sight of others and their families...For she had a family now. Looking over at Logan, she couldn't help but smile. Now whenever he looked at her and held her, she felt safe and secure. He was the only family to her that she knew...And she was the only family to him that he knew. She was not his clone...She was his daughter. And he was not her enemy...He was her father.
Alex saw X-23's expression as she looked at the images and back at Logan. Being someone who had lost both his parents and his foster parents, he knew she had something precious now. There was only so much he could show her...But there were also things that she could show him. In helping her, he had come to treasure that which he had taken for granted. And while Logan had shot rather dirty glances at him in the past for growing rather close to her...That didn't at all take away the impact she had on him. Looking back at her and his brother, he knew he had a place here with the X-men. He had family, he had friends, and he had a chance to make a difference...And to him, that was the ultimate thrill.
Raven Darkholm may not have been the most emotional woman on the world, but seeing the images of Rouge and the other children that now lay dead had moved her in a way she had never thought possible. Now she was an X-man, a teacher, and a mother once again. She now had friends like Kitty, Scott, and Logan to help her through the hard times she faced. While Rogue's death would always hurt, she could think of no greater way to honor her than by learning from her mistakes. And as she saw her smile on the screen...It was almost as if her voice from beyond the grave was telling her 'Its okay Momma...Its okay.' As her gaze drifted back towards her son, who was still held close against Wanda, she smiled once again. Logan, who was sitting right next to her, could help but grin.
"You may get a chance to be a mother yet...If the elf and the witch give you grandchildren," joked Logan, causing the shape shifter to blush profusely.
"Don't get ahead of yourself yet Logan," said Mystique in response, who couldn't help but be amused by the notion, "But I can't say I wouldn't enjoy it. Let's just take it one day at a time..."
For Pietro Maximoff, the scars left by the ten bullets he had taken in that war festered at the sight of the images of those that were lost. He had come so close to joining them...But it wasn't his time yet. He still had his sister and now his father to live for. After being so arrogant too both his friends and his enemies for so long, he had finally found the strength to look at himself in a new way. Looking back at his father, whom he would have to work with a long time in order to get over the past, he felt the shallow hole that had made him so bitter fill in with a new sense of belonging. He had lost his old friends because of his attitude...And he refused to lose his new friends. It would be a challenge...But for the Pietro "Quicksilver" Maximoff...It was a challenge he was all too willing to take.
Professor Charles Xavier and his old friend Eric Lensherr watched the fruit of their efforts unfold before their eyes as they saw the reactions of both their students and the young men and women watching the images on the screen. For many years, both men had worked for change. Sometimes they had worked together while other times they had fought bitterly. But no matter which side they were on, they had always respected one another. Now, they were working together once more. This war had given them a lot to think about and consider. In seeing the horrors of war, Magneto had forever been changed by that which he had fought for after so many years. Now...His promise to Magda and his new view on the world would fight for a different future. Xavier had fought for peace...But naivety and ignorance had nearly destroyed that dream because of William Stryker's drive to bloodshed. Now, both he and Eric had learned from this war...Like their students, it had forced them to grow up and see things differently. But looking back at all their students, they couldn't help but feel a great sense of pride for what they had accomplished. In many ways, their students had taught them in much the same way they had.
"So what happens now Charles?" asked Eric as the slide show drew closer to its end, "How do you propose that we fight together for a common goal without turning on one another like last time?"
Professor Xavier thought briefly for a moment about that question. It was hard to consider...But looking back at his students, he merely smiled at what he had learned from teaching them the ways of peace.
"I can't say for certain what will happen next old friend," said Xavier as he turned to face his friend, "This war has shown us a lot in terms of what we both were fighting for. But now that it is over, the way I see it is that I will become more vigilant...You will become more pacifist...And somewhere in the middle, I'm sure we'll figure something out."
It was simple, yet complicated at the same time. But after all that had happened, they had grown somewhat accustomed to such notions. As the show ended and everybody applauded, it was clear now that a new future awaited them...And both they and the X-men were ready and willing to take it on and shape it in their own way for mutants and humans alike.
The memories of those that had died as a result of such a horrible and meaningless war would always be with those who lived it. The faces of the dead would forever exist both physically and consciously for the X-men and their teachers. But because of this war, enemies had become friends, families had been reunited as well as lost, and everything was in perspective now that they had fought and survived the war against William Stryker and the Friends of Humanity. They would all carry scars both mental and physical for many years to come, but it would help serve as a reminder of what they were fighting for and for whom. And no matter what danger they faced or new foe they encountered...For the friends and family that they had lost...They would never be forgotten.
AN: That's it...It's over. "Extermination" is finally over! After 40 chapters it has finally come to an end everybody. The story has been full of war, loss, destruction, drama, romance, and change...But like all tales, it must have an end. I put a lot of effort into this long fic. I have worked so hard on making this story one for the ages and I'm kind of sad that it's over now. I have really enjoyed telling this story to everybody and I am honored to all those that took the time to read and review this long tale. The message I offer is clear about the brutality of war. No matter who dies or how events in time impact them...Everybody has their own story to tell. This story has really been a joy to write and I'm honored that you all took the time to read it. So in closing, I once again offer you my thanks for reading this story. I can't tell you how much it means to me and I hope that you all continue to enjoy the stories I have yet to tell. And before you leave, please don't forget to review! Send your comments to me via email or post them on the fanfiction website! This story is over now and I would love to know what you all think! Well, that's it I guess...That's the end of "Extermination." Thank you all again for reading this story and I wish you all the best in the future! This is slickboy444 saying, thank you and best wishes!
Nobody knows how old mankind is...But it is most certainly old enough to know better.