Categories > Cartoons > X-Men: Evolution > Between Life and Death

Learning and Coping

by slickboy444 0 Reviews

A mission gone horribly wrong leads Scott Summers to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his friends. But is he really dead? Or something more sinsiter going on? Scott/Jean, Kurt/Kitty, minor hints...

Category: X-Men: Evolution - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters: Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Jean, Magneto, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Shadowcat - Published: 2005/09/05 - Updated: 2005/09/05 - 6903 words

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Between Life and Death
Chapter 9: Learning and Coping


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It had been nearly eight hours since Blake had first woken up. While he remained in bed, he did not sleep one second. Every bit of his mind was fixated on trying to remember that which had been taken from him by Mr. Sinister. But despite his desperate attempts, he was met with continued darkness. And even if he could remember, from what Magneto and Mystique there wasn't much to go back to. It was a solemn, depressing feeling knowing that if he did remember...It might make him all the more depressed about his life. It seemed like a no win situation, but his mind kept probing at a vigorous level...Searching in the depths of his consciousness for any sign of his past.

While he was lost in this dazed state, the door to his darkened room opened and Mystique stepped in carrying a trey of food.

"Blake...How are you doing?" asked the shape shifter.

The young man only turned to face her, but didn't say anything...Which was more or less a clear response.

"Well...I brought you some food," said Mystique as she set the trey down on a table beside him.

"I'm not very hungry," he said in his deep voice.

Mystique let out an exasperated sigh, for this was going to be even harder than she had imagined. It was clear that he was still very paralyzed by his confusion and was trying without success to remember. Never having dealt with someone like this before, the shape shifter was forced to make much of her actions up along the way. Normally, that wasn't how she liked to operate, but this situation hadn't given her much of a choice.

"Want to talk about it?" said Mystique as she stood beside his bed, pretty much just acting on impulse and reaction now.

At first there was no response and it almost made Mystique want to leave, but to her surprise...He actually sat up and rubbed his sore temples.

"I don't know what more there is to talk about," said Blake with a deep sigh, "I try and I try...I probe deeper and deeper...Yet I can't find anything. It's as if my life up until this point was completely erased...And this is just some kind of dream for an incomplete soul."

Not being able to relate, Mystique was unsure of what she should say next. She had dealt with murderers, assassins, giant robots, and ancient mutants bent on destroying the world...Yet in all her years of experience she always felt that trying to help disillusioned teens was the hardest. She was never really good at it when she was principal of Bayville and she didn't see how she could be that good at it now. Never the less, Eric had told her that they must go beyond their normal roles to help this man. Sinister had had warped him in many ways and if they weren't there for him then the mad scientist surly would be.

"Well I can safely tell you that this isn't a dream and your life hasn't been completely erased," she responded as she sat on his bed beside him.

"It has in every way that matters," he quipped.

"You may think that, but it never meant that you didn't live a life," reasoned Mystique, "You are still someone whose life had a beginning and who grew with time...Mr. Sinister just got in the way."

She saw the expression on his face shift to one of anger as she mentioned Sinister's name, not that she could blame him. The man had taken a lot away from him...More than she ever could have known. And it was hard to contemplate just how he felt.

"But that's not the worst part..." he added, "The worst part is...From what you told me, there might not be much worth remembering anyways. For all I know, my life has been full of nothing but pain, loneliness, and sorrow. And before all this happened, I might have done anything to forget my memories. Yet I still find myself trying hard to remember..."

"Maybe there's more to your life than we told you," said the shape shifter, trying her hardest to get him out of this rut he had buried himself in, "We don't know the details...Only the facts. You have to consider that maybe there is at least one part of your memory that's worth recalling. Even if it is full of sadness, sorrow, and bitterness...One good memory can be worth a thousand bad ones."

Blake then shifted his gaze back towards the shape shifter sitting on the side of his bed.

"Speaking from experience Ms. Darkholme?" asked the young man upon seeing the look in her eyes.

'Great...' she thought, 'I should've just put a billboard on my face...'

Blake may have been stricken with amnesia, but he was certainly not stupid. His mind had picked up something in her words and tone and now he sought more assurance even though he was unaware of the true meaning behind what Mystique had said.

"Yeah...I guess you could say that," admitted Mystique with a lighthearted smile, "And please...Don't call me that. It makes me feel too old. Call me Mystique or Raven."

"Okay...Raven," he said, falling silent once more.

Mystique didn't know what to say next. Everything was still in a state of uncertainty. They had no idea how they were going to help this young man, they didn't know what Sinister was planning now, and there didn't seem to be any end in sight to this meaningless war. Blake was just a very unlucky participant that was not a part of this conflict whether he liked it or not, but he would have to stay strong if he was going to get through it and get his life back.

"Well, I'll leave you alone for now," said the shape shifter as she got off his bed, "Just remember, Eric and I are here to help you. I know you didn't choose to become a part of this, but as long as you are you might as well stay strong and fight. Because if there's one thing my life has taught me, it's that no matter bad life is or how harsh your memories are...You must never stop fighting."

Blake considered those words as he looked back at the departing shape shifter. It may not have given him any answers, but in his mind it gave him something much more valuable...Drive.

"Raven..." he said, causing her to turn around in the doorway and face him once more, "Thank you."

With a lighthearted smile, she simply nodded in response as she closed the door behind her...Feeling somewhat lighter upon hearing him say that.

'Well...That's my therapy for the day,' she thought as she headed back to the lounge area where most of the others were already sitting down to lunch.

Maybe this was why Xavier did what he did...Because of this feeling that Blake had given her when he acknowledged that she had helped him do something that he could not have done on his own. Perhaps it was more than just being a pacifist. Normally, when she had first started handling the Brotherhood boys she didn't help them so much as recruit them. They still had the same problems after a year that they had when they first arrived.

After Apocalypse, she became less openly bitter and more introverted and reserved. It gave her an opportunity to listen to them and learn more about them, yet she hadn't gone the distance that Xavier had in helping his students. She had always known that part of the X-men's strength was in their unity and dedication towards one another. Between the students and the teachers, there was more trust and friendship rather than strict rules and regiment. Maybe by helping Blake in this way, she could prove to herself just what her true purpose was in life and if the decisions she had made in the past were justified. And in the end...Maybe it would make her a better person along with Eric.

After Mystique left, Blake got up for the first time and walked around the room. Despite being in his coma, his legs hadn't suffered too much and his body seemed to be in working order. But as he found himself completely healed from his weakened state so quickly, he couldn't help but wonder about the powers Magneto had told him about. If he was a mutant, less alone a highly advanced one, what exactly could he do?

As the young man walked throughout the room, he felt this strange energy in and around his body. It permeated all throughout the room and extended into his total being. He wasn't sure what this was, but he soon found himself closing his eyes...Concentrating on all this energy that seemed to be around him in many different forms.

"What is this?" he asked himself, "What can I do?"

As he closed his eyes, he felt a strange connection with the rest of his body and the energy in his room. It was as if every part of him sensed this energy as if it were completely tangible. Soon, he found himself taking this energy into his body as if some invisible hand that extended from his being gathered and collected it within himself and suddenly...His hands began to glow a bright red color.

"Wow..." he said as he looked down at his glowing hands.

But it didn't stop there. The glowing soon extended towards all other parts of his body as well. When he absorbed it...He felt a powerful strength within his muscles that made him feel as though he could lift a big rig truck. And it wasn't just his muscles...He found that he could move this energy to other parts of his body such as his eyes...Which brought a strange feeling to them he could not describe. When this energy reached his brain, he felt the intensity and speed of his thoughts accelerate beyond all normal levels as if everything ran in a fast forward motion...Yet he still understood it all.

Every part of his body felt intoned...Connected...And strong. With a subtle shift in this concentration, he dissipated the energy harmlessly back into the air and tapped it again just to see how much he had control over this. Soon, he felt as though the glowing was completely yielded to his will and he had perfect control over it. As his mind adjusted to all the enhancements that Sinister did to him, he felt completely at one with his body...As if he could feel the greater strength within every part. This invigorating sensation made him feel energized and strong even if his memories still eluded him. But this power was still new to him and he could not fully understand it on his own.

However, as the young man felt the confusing and bewildering strength of his enhanced form, he remembered what Mystique had said...He was not alone.

************************************************

After grabbing a quick bite to eat, Mystique found Magneto in his lair taking a break from his usual duties to read one of his many books. After the Apocalypse incident, the master of magnetism had found himself reading more and taking more time off for purposes other than some grand master plan. It gave him a sense of self assurance and relaxed his tired mind from everything he had struggled with since his return like Sinister and his estranged children. Enjoying the simpler things in life made him feel more...Human, and it was a feeling he had long negated.

"Did you eat yet?" asked Mystique, "Because if you haven't, Sabretooth is about to finish everything off so you'd better hurry before it's too late."

"Don't worry...I chose to eat early," said Eric as he looked up from his book, "Did you check on Blake?"

"Yes, I brought him some food...But he's still very dazed," said Mystique, "However, I think he'll come around. I actually got him to talk a little and he's definitely a strong person, but he's just had a lot of bad things happen to him. But I can relate..."

"I'm sure you can..." said Magneto with a grin, "If you got him to talk then you must have said the right things. You wouldn't happen to be..."

"Don't even say it Eric..." interrupted the shape shifter, "We've already had the talk about being referred to as 'soft.'"

"I know," said Magneto, still grinning, "But I don't see why we must hide it. After all, you're the one who gets angry about it every time I mention it."

"Oh, and you don't?" quipped the shape shifter in response.

"I do...But I don't raise my voice to the point where I start making death threats."

Mystique then mumbled something incoherently under her breath, but it said enough to Eric to tell him that he was right in some ways.

"Look..." she said, growing serious once more, "You know as well as I do that we aren't prime examples of solid mental health. You've been just as messed up as I have since Apocalypse. But just because it changed us doesn't mean I want to talk about it. There are still some things I need to make sense out of before that time comes."

"I understand Raven...I too have many things to put into perspective before I can even begin to call myself whole again," said Magneto, "But just because we have serious problems, it doesn't mean that we can't have a serious sense of humor about it."

Mystique simply rolled her eyes at her friend's take on their situation.

"You know...Sometimes I feel you'd be less annoying if you were your old, homicidal self," she joked, "But then again, it would be a step backwards now wouldn't it?"

"Indeed," he said as he got up from his seat and stretched his limbs, "And on another note, Gambit has recently discovered something major that we may or may not have to take into consideration in our conflict with Sinister."

"What do you mean?" asked Mystique curiously, "Exactly how major is it? Does it have to do with Sinister?"

"No, this time it's someone else for a change," answered the master of magnetism, "It seems as though Xavier's Institute has been paralyzed into a state of chaos and sorrow."

"Xavier's?" said Mystique as her thoughts quickly shifted towards her kids, "Why? What's going on?"

Magneto could tell that Mystique was still very much concerned for the well being of Kurt and Rogue. While she had not come into contact with them since that day in Egypt after they were freed from Apocalypse, she still liked to keep tabs on them and watch them from afar. It was hard not being able to interact with them, but it was better than not seeing them at all.

"It seems as thought every one there is in a state of mourning," he said, "Although I don't know the exact details, from what Gambit told me, one of their own died in a mission that went horribly wrong. Xavier has been taking it very hard."

"One of them is dead?" said Mystique, sounding shocked and very anxious at who it might be, "Do you know who it was?"

"Don't worry Raven...It wasn't one of your children," assured Magneto, knowing that was what she thinking, "It was their leader and Xavier's first student, Scott Summer."

"Cyclops is dead?" said the shape shifter, feeling both relief and shock that after all the things the X-men had fought, one of them had actually died.

"Yes...And it has been quite devastating from what I can ascertain," said Eric, "Not only did he die...He willingly sacrificed himself."

It was a strange revelation to learn that one of the X-men was dead. Mystique knew Scott Summers quite well, after having actually tried to get revenge on him at one point for leaving her at Area 51. Even though when she looked back on it, his actions seemed somewhat more justified...Knowing herself that had she not been left behind, she would have betrayed them anyways. Being the first student and the leader of the X-men was a daunting responsibility, yet she had seen him time and again prove his skill in the midst of conflict. Now that he was dead, it was hard to imagine the kind of shock that was going through the institute...Especially among her children, whom were both good friends with him.

"This is definitely going to impact some of our backup plans Raven..." mused Magneto, "Without their leader, Xavier's X-men are at a fairly great disadvantage. Add to that their grief in losing a loved one...Which I know personally can leave many deep wounds...And I think it's clear that they may not be able to fight with the proper mindset."

"So if push comes to shove, we may not be able to rely on them for help if Sinister regroups," concluded Mystique, "I know he was our trump card if things got too difficult for the Acolytes alone. So I guess that means that we're still on our own with Sinister?"

"It would appear so," said Magneto with a sigh, "You know I wanted to leave Xavier out of this...Sinister is a very personal vendetta that I must take care of with as little help as possible. I helped create what he's trying to accomplish, so it's up to me to stop him."

"And don't forget my steak in this Eric," reminded the shape shifter, "After what you and Sinister did to my son all those years ago..."

Eric never liked being reminded of that. Even though he and Mystique had become better friends since Apocalypse, he still couldn't escape what he had done to young Kurt so long ago. Even though Sinister was a big part of it as well, in the end it was by his hands that those horrible experiments were done on the innocent boy.

"I know Raven...Don't ever think I have forgotten about that," he replied, "But consider the chance to take down Sinister and watch him suffer a gift of repentance on my part."

"If we succeed in the end...I'll remember that," she said, feeling somewhat more embittered at the mention of her son.

Since their team up, Magneto had made it clear that he felt bad about what had happened. He was in another mindset during that time...The same mindset he was in when he threw Wanda away into an insane asylum all those years ago. One of the many effects Apocalypse had on him was bring the full force of his long pent up conscious upon him and it was not easy trying to show his sincerity at first. But after Sinister began to first rear his head, much of the past became irrelevant as he made it clear that not only were his kids in danger, but hers as well.

It was by no means easy at first, but as time went on Mystique had come to see other sides of Magneto that few people ever got a chance to see. She couldn't escape how similar they were in terms of what they had experienced and what they had endured. The darkness that they had given into and the sins they committed against their loved ones were not that different. They had both done much to hurt each other in the years before Apocalypse. Magneto had experimented on her son and Mystique had unleashed his daughter on him. But after Apocalypse, they both sought a fresh start...One that would not be influenced by the past.

"So does this mean Xavier's out for sure?" asked Mystique, remembering the situation at hand.

Magneto thought about this issue for a moment, considering whether or not he should bring this upon his old friend after the loss he had just suffered and after everything that he had done to his students. While he had no doubt that Charles would willingly help fight against a man like Sinister, he didn't know first hand how tough he could be. Xavier's X-men were peacekeepers and students, which was not exactly the best force to throw at somebody as cruel as Mr. Sinister. And if the institute was this paralyzed by one tragedy, then it would be difficult to fathom how hard more would be.

"For now...But maybe I'll fly over and see for myself," he said, "But for the time being, let's assume that he and his team are unfit to take on Sinister in their current state. We can't rely on them anymore as a safety net."

"That's going to be a problem Eric, and you know it," argued the shape shifter, "Just look at what Sinister accomplished while we were fighting him. Even with our interference, he managed to complete the machine and use it successfully on someone."

"I understand that Raven..." said the master of magnetism, still somewhat sore over that issue, "We weren't as successful as I had hoped...That I have come to realize. But we did manage to stop him when it mattered. We just have to be more aggressive in finding him next time. It can't be a mere hit and run like before."

"There's just one problem with that...We have know idea where he is," reminded Mystique, "Sinister may be crazy, but he knows how to cover his trails. I doubt even Xavier and Cerebro could find him with his knack for disappearing."

"Then we'll just have to do it the old fashioned way," said Mystique.

"Since when did we have a choice in the matter?" quipped Eric, somewhat frustrated the difficulty of this conflict with Sinister.

"And what about when we do find him?" asked Mystique, "We've smashed him, burned him, flattened him, poisoned him, and shot him...Yet each time he manages to survive because of that fucked up body of his. Any ideas yet on how we're actually going to kill this bastard?"

Magneto was silent for a moment as he considered Mystique's words. He knew all too well what a die hard Sinister was. No matter how hard they fought or how much they threw at him, he always seemed to come back with a vengeance. There was little doubt that this secret war was going to be prolonged quite extensively from the looks of it. But unlike Sinister, time would have its effects on the both of them while Sinister stayed as vital as ever no matter how long it went on. One piece of this madman in the world was one piece too many, but destroying them all was a challenge in of itself in this great struggle with his once former ally.

"I'm still thinking about that Raven," admitted Eric as the prospects looked increasingly bad in the long run, "But we can't let that worry us now. At this moment, we are the only ones opposing Sinister from wiping out all humans and mutants alike. And if he managed to nearly succeed last time, then I doubt he'll make the same mistake twice."

"So if we could barely do it last time, then how are we going to accomplish it again without Xavier as a viable option?" she questioned, only further adding to the compounded problem that the two mutants faced.

"Like I said Raven, I'm not sure," replied Magneto, noticeably unenthusiastic about their predicament, "But we cannot beat Sinister without some kind of edge on our side. And now that Xavier is out, we must find something else."

"But what?" asked Raven.

Magneto was about to respond to that, when suddenly...A new presence stood in the open doorway to the room. At first they didn't acknowledge it, until a strange bright red glow illuminated the room, capturing their attention.

"Magneto...Mystique...Meet your new edge," said Blake as he made his entire upper body glow the ruby red color of his power.

"Blake..." said Mystique, feeling both surprised and relieved as he saw him standing confidently before them.

"Sinister took everything from me...So now I have a stake in this just as much as you do," said the young man, no longer feeling like the weak, bed stricken comatose boy who had been brought into this lair from the brink of Sinister's grasp, "If you guys are going to work to take him down, then I want to help. I'm willing to learn from you and I'm willing to do anything make sure he doesn't fuck anybody else's life up."

Magneto couldn't help but grin at the young man's determination. The confusion that had gripped him was now replaced with a new sense of purpose that he couldn't help but admire. Sinister may have had most of the advantages against him and his Acolytes, but now they had the one that mattered most.

For Mystique, she couldn't help but smile at his new look of determination. Normally, she wasn't one to give the kind of advice that would pull someone out of a rut instead of putting them into one to begin with. That seemed like only something Xavier would do, but in seeing Blake accomplish the same thing, she couldn't help but feel...Proud that she had done something to help him. Her words actually got through to him. Was this the feeling that Xavier got when he helped his students? Was this the real reason why he did what he did?

For the moment, Mystique pushed those thoughts aside in order to handle the startling new development at hand, for it was their first hint of good luck in this conflict in quite some time.

"I don't blame you for wanting that..." said Magneto with a grin as he stepped forward and offered his hand in a welcoming gesture, "In that case...Welcome to the Acolytes Blake."

The young man eagerly shook his hand, feeling confident that this was the right thing to do. Sinister had taken so much from him and he wanted desperately to get it back. But if he couldn't uncover the mystery of his past...Then the least he could do was make Sinister pay and ensure that nobody else suffers his wrath. And with Mystique and Magneto's help...He felt like this could be a place and a cause where he truly belonged.

"Thank you sir," he replied with a smile, "And in addition...Call me Blaze."

************************************************

The nights hadn't gotten any easier for the X-men in the day that followed Scott's funeral. Alex didn't linger after the ceremony, for he found it too hard to be in this place that his brother had called home for so many years. By the end of the day, he was back on a flight to Hawaii, but he ensured Jean that he would call to check up on how she was coping along with the rest of the institute.

However, things hadn't gotten much better for the most part in the mansion after the funeral. Logan, Ororo, Hank, and the Professor had become pretty much 24/7 grief counselors to many of the younger students still trying to come to terms with Scott's death. Among the worst were Bobby and Kurt, who still felt a twinge of guilt for being the last ones to see Scott before he died. For Bobby, he planned to spend some time back with his parents for the weekend, hoping to do something to ease his troubled mind about this horrible ordeal. But Kurt had experienced a little more difficulty with this and it was showing quite clearly to others.

While most of the mansion slept in the late hours of the night, Kitty had pretty much given up trying. To her, death was just so hard to get over...Especially when it was someone who was like a big brother to her and everybody else throughout the mansion. Growing up in such a normal setting, she never had to contend with tragedies like death before. And having it happen like this was just so...Sudden. She knew that their lives were far from normal because of their mutant powers, but that didn't make it any less painful. Mutant or not, Scott was still a friend...And now he was gone forever. It didn't seem fair...It didn't seem right at all for him to have died with so much in his life. He was a leader to the X-men, he was a role model to the students, he had a future ahead of him, and he had a girl that loved him to death...Yet he had still died.

Kitty found herself in the kitchen of the institute, getting a late night drink of water. Sleep had never been this hard for her before and she had no intention of trying tonight. She didn't know what she was going to do, but whatever happened...She just didn't want to sleep and relive the same nightmare over and over again like an instant replay in her mind. As she made her way out of the kitchen and into the darkened living room, she then noticed a presence on the couch. Upon taking a closer look, she saw a blue take hanging down from the side and she quickly surmised who it was.

"Kurt? Is that you?" she said as she made her way over to the couch.

At first she thought he may be asleep, but upon closer inspection she saw that he was wide awake...Staring at the ceiling in a daze.

"Kurt...Are you alright?" she asked as she looked down at him with worry.

"Nein..." he answered simply, "I can't sleep."

"Yeah...Neither can I," said Kitty as she knelt down by his side on the couch.

"Nightmares?" he asked, knowing full well how she would probably respond.

Kitty simply nodded in response with a solemn look on her face. Upon seeing this, Kurt forced himself to sit up and patted the side of the couch next to him. Kitty then took a seat and the two young teens simply sat there in the darkness of the institute.

"Why does it still hurt?" said Kitty as she hugged her knees, "Why can't I stop thinking about it? Everyone...Is still so sad."

"Death is always sad," said Kurt as he scooted in closer to her, "It always hurts..."

"I know...I know," said Kitty with a sigh, "It's just that...Saying goodbye...Only made me think more about how Scott's gone and never coming back. I mean...He was like a big brother to us all."

"Ja...I know he vas," said Kurt, "Ve may not have always agreed on everything, but ve never let the little things get in the vay."

"So why does it still hurt so much? Why do I still feel so bad about this?" pondered Kitty.

Kurt could offer her no simple answers, for he had been asking the same thing himself over and over again for hours. It was part of the reason why he was down here wide awake, unable to sleep one wink.

"I vish I could give you the answers you deserve Kitty...But I'm at just as much a loss as you are right now," he admitted.

Kitty felt her eyes moisten up once more as she leaned into Kurt's warm, fuzzy body. He responded by gently wrapping an arm around her and hugging her close. The comfort they offered each other was a welcome sensation after feeling so cold and numb from everything that had happened. Neither of them wanted to let go out of fear of feeling the deep sorrow all alone once again.

"It's just that..." choked Kitty as she struggled to get the words out, "It's not just that he's gone...It's also all the things the Professor showed us about his life. All those images of loss, sadness, and pain...I can't imagine what it must have been like. And yet, we teased him for the way he was...For being so uptight. But now...I know why he was that way. I know why he felt the need to be overprotective..."

"And now you feel guilty for teasing him about it..." finished Kurt, knowing all too well what she was getting at, "You feel...Like a truly awful person for mocking a trait of him that came out of such horrible abuse. You feel...Like if you hadn't been so arrogant, maybe he could have been happier and things could have been easier for all of us. And the worst part is...You never even got a chance to say that you were sorry."

Kurt had pretty much summed up what Kitty was too choked up to finish. He hugged her tighter as she started weeping once again. It was very hard for Kurt to hear someone he really cared about in so much pain. Kitty was more than a friend to him...She was a beacon of hope for his otherwise cloistered life...Forever trapped in his demonic body. Seeing her like this was hard enough when he was still dealing with many of the same issues as her, but that only prompted them both to lend each other their support in this very dark time...Not just for them, but for everybody.

"He shouldn't have had to make that sacrifice..." mused Kurt, "He shouldn't have had to die."

Kurt fought another wave of sobs as he continued to sink into the embrace. He could have faced a hundred lynching and a hundred insults from mutant hating protesters...Yet they could never hurt him in the same way he had been hurt by this horrible tragedy. Kitty could see this conflict written on the young man's weary face. It hurt to see, but it only proved how hard it was for the both of them.

"I know...Do you think it will ever stop hurting?" asked Kitty as she sunk into the couch together.

"I don't know Kitty," said Kurt, at a loss for any further words, "I really don't know."

There were still many things they had not gotten over and it was clear now that the mansion would never be the same. But for Kurt and Kitty, at least they had something to hold onto...Each other.

************************************************

Upstairs in the darkened room of Jean Grey, she was stuck in a state drifting in an out of dreaming and consciousness. Since the funeral, she had stayed cloistered in her room in a state of great sorrow. Both Ororo and Logan had tried to get her to talk, but she stayed quiet...Not ready to do so just yet. But at least she ate now...Even if it wasn't much. In the day after Scott's funeral, it still hurt. No matter how hard she tried, the young woman just couldn't escape this great feeling of sorrow and cold isolation.

Others tried to help her. The Professor suggested she spend some time at home with her parents, but she didn't like that idea very much. Ororo had suggested that she try taking a walk with her outside just to get some fresh air into her head, but she had no desire to leave her room at this point. Some students had already pestered her about Scott and his past after having learned from the Professor just how truly bad it was and she didn't want to have to relive that. Twice already, such questions had prompted a violent outburst from Logan, which only further strengthened her resolve to stay in her room where she wouldn't have to see all the sad expressions and sense all the sad thoughts.

But even in her sleep, all was not peaceful. Her tied body needed rest, but her mind wouldn't let it be so easy as she kept tossing and turning. In her mind, there were many of Scott's horrible memories still floating around...But the one that hurt the most was the last memory she had of him. It was the memory of the feelings she experienced as he died in her head. It may have happened a few days ago, but it felt as if it were just mere moments ago. No matter what she did, she couldn't get rid of the pain. And no matter what she did, the nightmare wouldn't cease haunting her mind.

Outside the burning building Jean could sense Scott still in fiery contents. In her mind, she could sense his panic and life force beginning to falter. She looked around, desperate for any help...But for some reason, nobody else was there. She knew the building was about to explode, but no matter how hard she tried...She couldn't get any closer. She tried using her powers, but for some reason...They were useless. She tried to run, but a cold, paralyzing wind had blown her back and created a seemingly unbreakable barrier that she tried to fight, but just could not get through.

"Scott!" she yelled desperately, "Scott please! Get out of there! The building will explode! Please Scott!"

Her cries were only prompted by a final 'I love you' through her link as she kept trying to get closer so at least she could die with him...But something kept pushing her back. It was a force she could not see or sense, but it was keeping her from changing that which she already knew was going to happen.

It was like the cruelest of punishments, seeing it happen again and feeling all the pain and sorrow that came along with it. Tears were streaming down her eyes as she kept screaming out for Scott both physically and through their link, but to no avail.

"No..." she whimpered, knowing what was coming next, "Not again...Please not again."

Then suddenly, she felt a painful sensation surge through her mind. Then, she saw a strange image flash before her eyes that she had not seen when it happened. It was strange and unclear, but she could make a few very faint images. They were of Scott...And being hit by some strange force from behind...One that didn't feel like an explosion and more like a shock. It was truly painful, but that wasn't it. As the pain surged through their link...She thought she saw a dark figure standing over Scott's body with a sinister grin on his face. Then...The explosion came.

"Scott!" she yelled as she shot up in her bed with a cold sweat drenching her body.

Jean started hyperventilating...Unable to catch her breath as the tears streamed down her eyes. This nightmare had been many times more vivid than previous dreams, but it had been just as painful. Some of the images were still fuzzy, that didn't make it any easier to experience.

Jean then proceeded to reach over to her dresser off to the side of her bed and firmly grasp the ruby quartz glasses...The last tangible piece of Scott she had left. The young redhead tightly hugged her knees as she took in the sensation that the glasses brought in her hands. It wasn't much, but it was still something to hold on to. She didn't have the strength to fight her tears this time as she began weeping in the silence of the night, the images of the nightmare playing over and over again in her head.

'Why?' she thought to herself, 'Why does it still hurt so much? I know he's dead...I know he's gone. But why does it have to be so painful? Why does it have to feel so...Incomplete?'

No answers came...But that didn't matter. None of them would bring Scott back or give her the chance to say goodbye to him. Her heart was truly in pieces now...And she didn't know if they would ever be whole again. Gripping the glasses, she kept searching again through their empty link...Trying to find her soul mate or at least some part of him. She had stood before his grave...Watched everybody say goodbye to him...Yet still, she searched. Something inside her would not allow her to give up. Even thought there was still nothing but emptiness, she kept on searching...As if she would eventually find him when every logical part of her mind was telling her that it was impossible. But even if it was...She kept searching.

************************************************

AN: So what do you think? Are things complicated enough now for you? Scott is now Blake in his mind and Magneto and Mystique still don't have a clue what they truly have before them. And it's not getting any easier at the mansion, that's for sure! And don't worry, there's still plenty to come with this story! So what do you all think so far? I would love to know! Please send me your feedback via email or post your reviews on the fanfiction website! Thank you all very much for reading and I wish everybody the best!

HEY WAIT! DON'T LEAVE WITHOUT REVIEWING!!!
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