A new mutant arises in New York that reveals a secret about Jean Grey and her family that will change her life forever. And it all centers around a familiar looking girl named Madelyn Pryor.
Chapter 11: Long Road Ahead
As the sun set on the shores of Genosha, the guns fell silent and the fighting stopped. And as quickly as it began, the war against Hodge and Magneto was over. The tyrannical madman had not gained what he had hoped. He was not to be remembered as a martyr who stood up to mutants. Instead, he would be remembered for the butcher he was, even if it meant letting him live.
Many of Magneto's supporters, including his own kids, were enraged that a man like Hodge was allowed to live. But the words from the X-men, especially Maddie, stuck with him and the decision was final. Now all that was left was to pick up the pieces.
The world had watched this war unfold. Entire governments were placed on high alert upon hearing that a mutant army overthrew a nation. It could have turned out very bad for mutants everywhere. But thanks to a few old friends, such catastrophe was averted for now.
"I hope you appreciate what I'm doing here, Logan," said Colonel Nick Fury of SHIELD, puffing a cigar as his troops cleared out the area, "I had to pull a lot of strings to keep this situation form going up in a mushroom cloud."
"I know the deal, Fury," muttered Wolverine, "You and your boys got what you wanted. Hodge ain't gonna be servin' up any trouble where he's goin'. And bucket head's crew is standing down, so just give it rest already, will ya?"
"It's not that easy and you know it," he said, putting out his cigar, "Now we've got a big power vacuum to deal with. Genosha is a ruined nation and Magneto is the de facto ruler. Add to that we have these Friends of Humanity guys to look into. Do you have any idea how weary that's going to make the international community?"
"Better a ruined nation than a terror state," shrugged Logan.
"And how do you know Magneto isn't going to fall into the same path as Hodge?" said Fury, a hint of suspicion in his tone.
Looking back up at Magneto as he helped SHIELD troops detain Hodge's army and see the rest of the refugees off, Logan couldn't help but wonder. Had this guy really changed? Maybe Apocalypse really did have an effect on him. He was never one to trust so easily, but that didn't stop him from making his decision.
"After what I saw, I ain't sure," said Wolverine.
"Well bear this in mind, Logan," said Fury as turned to make his leave, "The X-men are responsible for him now. If he does anything to upset the balance that I work so hard to maintain, I won't hesitate to take him down and you and the rest of mutant kind may go down with him."
"That supposed to scare me?"
"No, it's supposed to warn you, Logan. We live in a volatile time my friend. You never know what the future may bring."
"For once...I agree," said Logan with a wolfish grin, "Later eye patch."
And with one last gesture, the old friends parted. There was still plenty of rebuilding to do, but they made it through this one traumatic day. All they could do now was ensure that tomorrow would be better.
In the ruins of Hodge's palace, Magneto oversaw the last of the peacekeeping objectives from both his forces and that of Nick Fury's. It would have been so easy to proclaim himself as a new ruler for mutants everywhere and kick out every last human from this island nation, but that wasn't him anymore. Those days were over.
Instead, he allowed international peacekeepers in with open arms, making it clear to all his followers that no further attacks were to be tolerated. Some were still hungry for war against humanity, but Magneto wouldn't have it. Such change surprised many, but for the X-men it was a good sign that maybe things were turning around with the master of magnetism.
"That's the last of them," said Magneto met with the X-men at the base of the palace, "The final ship has sailed. And I ensured each refugee left with what possessions they had."
"Not bad, Mags," grinned Gambit, "All dis without makin' a scene."
"Remy!" scorned Rogue, elbowing him in the ribs.
"It's a start, I suppose," frowned Piotr, still not trusting him.
Magneto, still without his helmet, showed little emotion to such teasing. He had a long way to go before they could convince them. But this was as good a place to start as any.
"So what happens now?" asked Jean, standing besides her sister as they watched the last convoys roll out of the obliterated capital.
"First, we must rebuild," said Magneto, levitating a piece of charred metal from the palace, "Tomorrow, the sun will rise over a new nation. Now, mutants everywhere will have a place they can call home. And I'll make it my personal mission to see that the terror Cameron Hodge inflicted is never felt again."
"I suppose it's better than world domination," said Madelyn.
"But still, it's a major step, Magneto," said Ororo, casting their former enemy a warm smile, "And should you need any assistance, you know where to reach us."
"I'll remember that, Storm," replied Magneto with a smile, "And please, call me Erik."
Scott, Jean, Kurt, Kitty, Piotr, Rogue, Remy, Gambit, Logan, Ororo, and Madelyn still had plenty of reason to be skeptical. But for now, they took this day as a good start to something far grander. Apocalypse had changed a lot and with Magneto's new nation, there was plenty more change to come.
No doubt, there would be plenty of tension as a result of this. But as X-men, they stood ready to face it, even in a world that hated and feared them.
"So that's it? No more ominous threats? No more fighting?" said Kitty.
"For now," said Magneto, "Me and my Brotherhood have a lot of work to do. And I don't wish to let petty conflict stand in the way."
"But you do know that if you ever make a move that'll threaten the world, we'll be there to stop you," warned Scott, remaining vigilant despite Magneto's gestures.
"I would expect nothing less," said Magneto, "And should I walk down the old path of madness, I would certainly hope that you and Charles will stop me. Just do me one last favor and we can call a truce for today."
"Yeah? And what might that be?" said Logan, folding his arms menacingly.
Letting out a deep sigh, Magneto let a rare show of emotion come over him. As a man who spent years trying to erase such feelings, experiencing them again was difficult. But as he thought back to his kids and the horrors he saw under Apocalypse, he swallowed his pride and made his peace.
"Please tell Charles I said thanks. Because even though you all may not like me...I can always be assured that he will never lose faith in me."
It was an odd request, especially from someone who once fought so hard against them. But in seeing such emotion on his time withered face, the young team of mutants accepted his request.
"Ve'll make sure he knows," said Kurt, "Ve promise."
Accepting their word, Magneto cast them an approving smile. But before final goodbyes could be said, there was one last thing he had to take care of.
"I appreciate that," he said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out an unmarked envelope, "But before you go, Mystique asked that I give you this."
"Mystique?!" scoffed Rogue bitterly, "Why the hell should we accept anything from her?!"
"Because she knows as well as I do how hard it is to mend old wounds," said the master of magnetism sincerely, "Even if you don't open it, she just wants you to have it. She's not here now, but rest assured she would be if there weren't so many mistakes to make up for."
Rogue still didn't believe him, but Kurt looked at the envelope with undue curiosity. In his eyes, if Magneto could show that he had changed to some extent, then maybe the same was possible for Mystique. He still bore a great deal of hatred for her after what she put them through. But she was still family and they could never escape that.
"I understand," said Kurt, taking the envelope and tucking it in his pocket.
"What?!" exclaimed Rogue, "Kurt ya can't be serious!"
"Sorry Rogue, but if she loved us enough to keep trying zhen maybe ve should give her zhe benefit of zhe doubt."
"But after everything she's done?"
"She's still family, ain't she, cherÃ¨?" said Remy, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder, "Take it from me, dem wounds will always hurt. But they'll only heal if ya give em a chance."
As difficult as it was to let any part of Mystique back into her life, Rogue accepted this first pivotal step. Hugging her shoulders in a fit of conflict, she leaned in closer to Remy for support. It brought a smile to Kurt's face. Maybe something could come out of this, but for now it was a start.
And while Kurt and Rogue didn't know it, they were being watched the whole time by Mystique, who was standing atop the balcony, looking down at the family she had pushed away. She wished she could be down there to see them off, but it was better this way. And before she turned away, hoping that one day things would be different between them, a tear formed in her eyes. But unlike so many others, this was one of hope.
"Thank you. I'm sure she'll appreciate it," said Magneto, "And as a token of my appreciation, maybe you could use this as well."
Reaching into his pocket, the master of magnetism took out a strange collar-like device. It looked pretty high tech, shining with a metallic gleam. There was a red light in the center, flashing like a beacon of sorts. And as Scott took it in his hands, his curiosity grew.
"What is it?" he asked, taking in the strange device.
"Something Hodge had been using to control his mutant population," explained Magneto, "It's some kind of power dampener designed to keep a mutant's abilities at bay. Perhaps Charles could look at it and find a use for it...especially for those who deal with powers they can't control."
That earned a sudden shift from Scott and Rogue, who both had abilities they struggled with. Jean sensed it through her link with Scott, entertaining thoughts of being able to see without the burden of a red hue. And as his mind raced at the possibilities, she took his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, believing there was always hope.
Rogue experienced the same inner conflict, finding herself holding onto Remy's hand as well. It had been so long since she experienced something as simple as touch and now here was something that could possibly help. It was unclear if this would be the key to freeing her from her burden, but at least there was hope now.
"Guess that means you won't have an excuse to get close anymore, huh?" commented Madelyn.
"Don't tell meh yer gonna start teasin' too, Maddie," she groaned.
"After how you helped me back there, of course not," assured Madelyn with a smile, "But why not take a chance at a little happiness, Rogue?"
Even though she and Madelyn didn't get off to a good start, that didn't stop Rogue from smiling with a new sense of hope. And even though they were still very different, Madelyn sent her plenty of thanks, hoping to secure a new understanding if not a new friendship as well.
"Wise words, cherÃ¨," grinned Remy, "Think you gonna give em a try?"
"Guess we'll have to see, swamp rat. Just remember, touch or no touch, keep your hands to yourself."
"Aw come now, Rogue. Ya know Remy always minds his manners. Especially around de femmes."
"Vell I vould certainly hope so," taunted Kurt, "Otherwise ve are going to have a serious talk, mien friend."
"Yeah...serious," added Logan, a subtle hint of warning in his tone.
That silenced Remy once and for all as the X-jet descended from the sky, skillfully piloted by Hank for the final pickup. And unlike before, Magneto would pull no punches in letting them go. It was the first step of many in making up for the future. Even if he and the X-men could never be allies, that didn't mean they could both work for a better tomorrow.
"Well, that's our ride," said Kitty, "So no more tricks?"
"No more tricks," assured Magneto, "Thank you, X-men. And to you, Madelyn and Jean, I wish you luck."
"Don't push it," said Madelyn, still holding a grudge, "But as nasty as it was having my mind twisted, I guess I should just chalk it up to experience."
"And you know what?" said Scott with a smile, "You passed with flying colors."
"Of course she did," said Jean, giving Maddie a sisterly hug, "She's got this stuff in her blood. And I know she's going to be one hell of an X-man."
As crazy as this world was, full of conflict and so many that hated and feared them, the life of Madelyn Pryor felt secure. She had a sister who supported her, a family who loved her, and a place in the X-men she now treasured. It had been a real challenge coming into this world, but with what she just overcame, she was just as confident as her sister of her future at the Xavier Institute.
"Now what do you say we go home, kick back, and maybe give Paul a call later on?" said Jean, leading her identical twin onto the X-jet.
"Jean...you're the best long lost twin a girl could ask for," smiled Madelyn, walking hand in hand with the sibling who had done so much to help her.
"Hey, what are sisters for?"
And with the roar of the engine, the reunited twins sat back with their friends as they flew into the sunset. Life had a way of taking many interesting turns. And just when the path seemed clear, something so unexpected came into their lives and turned everything upside down.
But through the bonds of family and friends, Jean Grey and Madelyn Pryor could move forward with their new lives together. They had a long way to go, but together they would face whatever the future held. They were sisters, bound by blood and friendship. And no matter what the next day brought them, they would treasure this bond now and forever.
AN: That's it. Jean and Madelyn are family now, the end of one story and the beginning of another. I hope you all enjoyed it. Please tell me what you think by sending me your comments via email or posting them on the fanfiction website. Thank you all very much for reading and I wish you all the best.
THE TWIN GREYS IS OVER! BUT THE FEEDBACK CAN KEEP COMING! SO PLEASE REVIEW!
A family is only as strong as the bonds that make it.