X-Men fan fiction
part 1: Gifted Students
Chapter 1: Homecoming
Chapter 2: Recharge
Chapter 3: Regenerate
Chapter4: Xavier's Decision
Chapter 5: X-Men in Training
Chapter6: Mission Fatigue
Chapter 7: New and Improved
Chapter 8: Fear Itself
Chapter 9: Through the Glass
Chapter 10: Mourning Glories
Chapter 11: Ghost Stories
Chapter 12: The Devil and Despair
Chapter 13: Spuytin Dyvil Falls
Chapter 14: Evil Spirits
Chapter 15: Heart Stone
Chapter 16: The Rubble O'r Our Sins
Chapter 17: Shadow Boxing
Chapter 18: House Rules
part 1: Gifted Students
Jean ran to Xavier’s office and ransacked his desk until she found it: a slender package buried in a bottom drawer. She opened the box and unfastened the latch which bound the precious gem to a cloak underneath it. She did it as quickly as she could; her fingers were shaking. No. I’m not here, she reminded herself. It was the strength of her telekinetic grip that was faltering. She forced herself to focus on the task, to feel the stone against her fingers as she forced it free.
Then she ran back upstairs, Mind Stone in hand, only to skid to a stop in the hallway. Xavier’s study was only a few doors away! Faced with an image of the Shadow King looming larger-than-life directly in her path, Jean had to remind herself again: he was not real.
Jean was in Xavier’s mindscape now, not Shadow King’s. Shadow King had no control over this environment... but D’Spayre was here too; the demon had embedded himself in Xavier’s mind, and was trying to stop her from reaching Xavier, from helping him.
“You don’t need Charles Xavier,” the phantom Shadow King assured her. “You have the Mind Stone now. Use it! Take that power for yourself.”
Jean shook her head in silent defiance.
The phantom Shadow King took a swipe at her. It felt like icy cold water had saturated her, body and soul, stealing her breath away, numbing her fingers. Jean held on to the stone; she knew her telekinetic fingers were gripped tightly around it, but somehow D’Spayre knocked it from her grasp anyway.
Jean scrambled instinctively after the dropped stone, grabbing it off the floor and scrambling again to back away from the phantom Shadow King before he could get in another blow.
Jean. Don’t fall for his tricks! Scott reminded her. He’s not there.
And neither am I.
But the stone is. And you have it.
Jean nodded, securing her telekinetic grip.
Now ignore him and open the door!
Jean took a deep breath, staring up at the image of Shadow King, still blocking her way. She held the Mind Stone tightly, ignored the phantom, and made a run for it, wrenching open the door to Xavier’s study and throwing herself through.
A mystic man in India was telling Xavier a legend. He brought forward a cloak with an elaborate throat latch. Xavier reached instinctively to touch it but his hand was swatted away and the cloak withdrawn, as though he had committed a serious impropriety.
“What is that symbol?” Xavier asked through his interpreter, referring to the gold and sliver interlocking strands which overlaid the elaborate metal throat latch.
“It is a cursed symbol, sign of an ancient evil – the great evil of the netherworld, exiled among the living since the dawn of time.”
“As long as the evil one dwells among us, evil must exist in the world of man and in the hearts of men.” Another monk entered the room, descending from an ornately carved stone stairway. All eyes turned toward him, his entry prompting his fellow monks to pause in their actions, bowing respectfully as to a high priest or a greatly revered elder. “It is we who guard the gate against those who would restore him to power on the other side.”
“Descendants.” The elder monk paused to look around himself, serenely studying their surroundings. “Our Descendants must always guard against the dark ones.” His expression held a stoic mixture of purpose and regret. Only his eyes showed sadness as he turned to face Xavier. “But, in this age, our time grows short.”
“I’ve brought this back to you, for safekeeping.” Xavier offered the mystic man a small cloth-wrapped parcel.
The monk did not need to open it to know what was held inside, nor did he make any move to accept the offering.
“It is your turn now,” the high elder concluded. “You must take the cloak and the stone,” he insisted. “Keep the stone safe until it is needed.”
Xavier shook his head in confusion. “How will I know when that is, or by whom?”
“You will know. You are its proper guardian now.”
The surrounding monks bowed respectfully, accepting their elder’s proclamation, allowing the transfer of the sacred stone.
A low rumble shook the ancient room.
“You must go, quickly now. Death draws near.”
Xavier willed himself not to fall back into that trap again... remembering a hasty escape from the hilltop monastery as the ground began to shake beneath them, its temple falling to pieces around them, buried in a sudden avalanche.... He could not forget that frantic race down the mountain, trying to outrun churning snows that mercilessly covered everything in their path.
And still the Earth would not stop shaking.
Alone in his study, Xavier’s fingers tightened around the very real Mind Stone which Jean had telekinetically retrieved from his office and placed into his open hand.
You cannot wield that stone, the voice in Xavier’s head insisted.
No. Xavier hesitated. I am but its guardian.
In no more than the instant it took to hesitate, D’Spayre struck.
“No!” Jean screamed, refusing to relinquish her own grip on Xavier’s mind.
Xavier gasped for breath, swallowed up by a mountain of debris. Churning snows mercilessly covered everything, leaving him buried in frigid despair.
We can’t do this alone. Jean pleaded with him, desperate with frustration. We need you, Professor!
Scott spoke calmly. Let the past go now, Professor.
D’Spayre wishes to make us afraid, Ororo picked up the argument. He wants to intimidate us into inaction. He is trying to keep us out of the way while Shadow King grows stronger, to keep us distracted while Shadow King attacks.
D’Spayre wants all of us to believe that our powers - our gifts - are harmful to ourselves and to others. He wants you to believe that we are all doomed to failure. He is wrong, Jean whispered. We will prove him wrong. But we need your help, Professor!
You taught us what was possible, Professor, Scott echoed. We won’t give up now.
Xavier smiled. He could see them standing in his study: Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Ororo Munroe, Hank McCoy, and Warren Worthington III. He felt their appreciation. Enormous gratitude, for all he had done for them, for all they had learned from him. But it didn’t stop there. There was also motivation, inspiration, determination, hope. In a single instant, Xavier could see how greatly he had changed all of their lives... and he felt how thoroughly they had changed his life as well.
D’Spayre was getting desperate, sensing a need to finish this battle quickly. Jean could see the truth: Xavier wasn’t fighting a force of nature, or the ghost of some old enemy, or even the darkness in his own mind. He was slowly being strangled by the demon’s cloak – tightening inch by inch around Xavier’s throat.
Xavier reached backward for his attacker; his fingers grasped at the cloak latch.
The latch was the key. Jean could see it in his thoughts. Xavier focused his attention on the symbol at the creature’s throat, and his mind opened up to Jean’s, revealing the moment – many years ago – when Xavier had first touched the latch. He saw the gate open. He saw the other side.
It is useless to resist, Charles.
He saw the previous Guardian struck down, felt– Xavier pulled his hand back in shock.
There is nothing left to fight for. You are a broken and defeated man.
No. Longer. A flash of anger and determination illuminated his mind; Charles Xavier was done listening to that voice. He reached out again, grasping at D’Spayre, tightening his fingers around the clasp at the creature’s neck.
What do you have left, Charles Xavier?
“Something which you will never know. I have hope.”
Xavier felt the Mind Stone under the fingers of his free hand. And he felt Jean’s telekinetic grip, her fingers over his. Comfort and strength. Solidarity.
“We have hope,” she insisted. Remember the promise you made to me, Professor.
Xavier smiled. It had all begun there, with Jean, changing his life with a simple question.... He felt both of their hands on the stone, both of their minds focused on the task. And this time, without the weight of D’Spayre.
“We will make a difference,” Jean promised.
Xavier heard their voices in his mind again now, adding encouragement – and something more. Adding their determination, their will to fight, adding their strength to his.
You told us over and over... now it’s our turn to remind you of the truth.
You’re not in this alone.
You’ve made promises to us all, Charles.
This is your dream, Charles.
You have to fight for it.
His hand closed tightly around the stone. Surrounded by hope. Without fear, Charles Xavier stared down D’Spayre.
“It’s not too late.” Xavier took hope from each of his students – his dream, his X-Men. “None of us are doomed to failure. Because none of us are in this fight alone.” All of them fought together now, gradually beating back D’Spayre.
You are my dream, Xavier repeated certainly, each and every one of you. And none of us is doomed to failure.
In his mind, Xavier saw the ancient monastery again.
“Go now!” the mystic man bid him. There was no time for questions. Everything was shaking. There was a blinding light....
Xavier tightened his fingers around the Mind Stone, his other hand still clinched at D’Spayre’s throat. Blinding rays of light lanced through his fingers as the gate opened. D’Spayre uttered a cry of horror mingled with disbelief.
I cannot wield the stone alone, but – together – we can send you home, demon. Return to exile, within your own cursed realm of existence!
Charles Xavier struck down D’Spayre with all the force of his thoughts, simultaneously pushing him away with the strength of Jean’s telekinesis. Together, the two of them forced the demon into the Mind Stone.
With a final flash of blinding light, the gate closed behind him and D’Spayre was gone.
“Storm. Wait,” Cyclops demanded. “We’re not done here.”
The five X-Men were standing in Xavier’s study. Jean helped Hank get Xavier back into his chair, all the while mentally doting over him; he was unharmed, but understandably exhausted. Cyclops was aware of it all through their mental link with Jean. All of this was mental, in that only their minds were here. Jean had used her psychic powers to create a mental link between the team and Xavier; Jean had even gone so far as to enter Xavier’s mindscape in her attempt to reach him, to free him.
There– here, they had helped him to defeat the demon, D’Spayre, who had been attacking Xavier’s mind on Shadow King’s command. All of that was a reality that had happened in Xavier’s mind. Their bodies were still in the caverns below the Xavier Institute grounds, left behind when Shadow King had used his power to pull their minds into a landscape of his own making. Their minds, and apparently one other mind: Candra.
“My part here is done,” Storm answered. “I told Jean I would help you free Xavier from D’Spayre. That much I owed to Xavier, and to you all. But Shadow King is still out there. I have a score to settle with Farouk; I won’t be his useful distraction any longer.”
“That’s not how this works, and you know it. We’re a team. We work together.”
You won’t change her mind, Scott, Jean warned cautiously.
“I’m with Storm,” Angel spoke up. “We defeated D’Spayre. We should hit Shadow King quickly, before he knows what’s coming.”
“I cannot help but worry that we mortal mutants will find ourselves decidedly ill-equipped for a battle between immortal creatures,” Beast offered warily.
“I believe I can help even those odds.” Xavier rolled toward them.
“Are you all right, Professor?” Cyclops asked.
“Yes. Thanks to the five of you. Now, Storm and Angel are correct. We have to take the fight to Shadow King. And Cyclops is right as well, it will take all of us working together to defeat him.”
Cyclops gave a ready nod. “What’s the plan, sir?”
“When Shadow King pulled you all into the crystal formation in the caverns, his goal was to remove Candra from her hiding place within the Heart Stone. He was also hoping to knock Storm out of action so that she could not aid Candra.” Xavier smiled, his gaze coming to rest on Ororo. “He was not counting on Storm being able to wield the Heart Stone. And he certainly did not want to face me again, not on such unequal footing.”
“Are you sure you’re ready for this confrontation, Charles,” Hank asked, “after everything D’Spayre put you through?”
“I assure you all, I’m in better shape than Shadow King is. Before, he was able to use D’Spayre to strengthen himself. Now he is vulnerable. He is still dangerous within the confines of his own reality – inside the crystal cave – but Shadow King is far from invincible. Even there, he can be defeated.”
“Professor,” Jean asked, “can we dispatch Shadow King using the Mind Stone, as we did D’Spayre?”
“Unfortunately, no,” Xavier answered. “D’Spayre belongs to the demon realm, while neither Shadow King nor Candra do. We cannot force Shadow King through that gate.”
“What about the Heart Stone – what’s on the other side of that gate?” Angel asked.
“If Storm can open it,” Beast amended.
Storm nodded. “That is exactly what I intend to do. I’m going back out there.”
“Heart Stone or not, Ro... you’re not immortal,” Jean countered quietly.
“I am still a mutant, an X-Man, a thief,” Ororo held the Heart Stone in her hand for emphasis, “and a Priestess, like my mother before me.” Mind over matter, Storm reminded her friend. Here, I am a goddess.
“Xavier holds the Mind Stone, so he has the power of the stone behind his thoughts,” Hank reminded them all, “but does Ororo really have the power of the Heart Stone?” Hank motioned to the stone Storm held. “Or is this only your mental projection of the stone?”
“That’s a big gamble to take,” Cyclops noted. “Is the stone still in your physical possession back in the cave, and can you accesses its power, separated from your body?”
Storm gave a shrug. “Only one way to know, and I intend to find out.”
“Then we’re all going back in,” Cyclops decided.
“Let’s take the fight to Shadow King,” Jean concurred.
Storm opened the door leading out of Xavier’s study. Instead of being greeted by familiar hallways, the X-Men were met with an almost blindingly bright light. Angel held up one wing to shield them from the glare. They were leaving Xavier’s mindscape, going back into a world created and controlled by Shadow King for his own purposes: revenge upon his enemies, and his return to power in the mortal world.
“Ready, X-Men. And good luck,” Cyclops bid them. Storm and Angel stepped over the threshold. Beast pushed Professor X’s chair through the doorway after Angel and Storm. Jean stood beside Scott, pausing to slip her hand into his. The simple action helped calm her nerves.
Cyclops gave her a tight smile. “Let’s go–”
“Don’t–” Jean interrupted, her fingers tightening on his as she fought off a familiar twinge of annoyance, “call me ‘Marvel Girl’.”
The X-Men reemerged into the streets of Shadow King’s Cairo, very much the way they had left it. Except now the sky was no longer a brilliant, cloudless bright blue. There was a massive battle taking place in the sky overhead. Shadow King and Candra. A smoky shadow of deep purple clashed with a blood red smoke screen, blotting out the sun as they filled the sky with ominous storm clouds. Everything seemed to rumble, crackle, tremble with energy. It looked like the end of the world.
Jean, Cyclops prompted.
She immediately reestablished the mental link between them all. Scott felt her take a deep breath, her fingers relaxing their grip on his just slightly. At the same time he felt the mental link expand substantially, a fuzzy landscape coming into sharp focus. Scott realized that Professor X had just added his own efforts to strengthening the psychic link.
Jean immediately felt Shadow King’s mind and Candra’s mind come into focus. To the naked eye they were nothing more than smoke and electricity and destruction. But to the powerful, trained psychic mind, the reverberation of every blow in their fierce psychic battle could be seen and felt in vivid detail.
He can’t attack us all at once, Cyclops told them.
But we can attack Shadow King all at once, Jean finished his thought.
And Shadow King can no longer draw strength from D’Spayre’s manipulations of our emotions, Xavier finished.
“What about Candra?” Storm asked. “She should be fighting on our side.”
A figure appeared to them, a psychic projection, like a hologram, representing its real-life counterpart in miniature. A warrior in red.
“Ororo Munroe. I am glad you have come back. I cannot defeat Shadow King on my own.”
“What can I do, Candra?”
“I need your help to open the gateway that will send me home,” Candra said. “Shadow King must go through as well, and that gateway must stay closed behind us.”
“Both of you?” Storm asked.
“Yes,” Candra answered. “Only then can we trap Shadow King on the other side.”
“But you said he was not one of you, not Immortal,” Storm protested.
“He is not, but we have dealt with his kind before. There are ways to contain him there. I belong on the other side. And once there, I will see that Shadow King is properly dealt with for his treason and destruction.”
“What should the rest of us do?” Cyclops asked.
“Distract him,” Xavier answered. “Weaken him. Divide his attention. Move him into position for Storm and Candra.”
“We will do the rest,” Candra confirmed. “There is one more thing, and this is vitally important. Your minds must not remain here once Shadow King passes through the gate. This place exists only as a psychic construct. Once his mind passes to another plane this door will be closed behind him; any construct he leaves behind will immediately cease to exist–”
“Leaving us trapped inside the crystal,” Jean breathed.
“I won’t let that happen,” Xavier confirmed.
“Be warned, you will have only a short time to react.”
“I will see to it,” Xavier vowed.
Candra gave a ready nod. “Then we join the battle together. Fight well, X-Men.”
“Keep him on the defensive,” Cyclops yelled. “All your attention on Shadow King! Don’t give him an opening for attack. Don’t let your minds leave this battle!”
The X-Men attacked their foe from all sides. Cyclops with the full power of his optic blasts, Storm unleashing her fury in wind and hail and lightening, Jean hurling telekinetic attacks. Beast and Angel flanked out behind them, Angel serving as a scout from the air, and Beast as defense for Xavier. The Cairo environment shifted violently around them: earthquakes and tremors, trying to throw their approach off balance. Trying to keep them away from Shadow King.
“Everything around you is his except for your mind. Your mind is yours!” Jean yelled. At her mental command, sands rushed to fill in a chasm Shadow King had opened directly in front of them.
Jean. A pink aura encased Jean as she joined her telepathic efforts with Xavier’s.
Their combined attack hit Shadow King hard with a psychic pulse. He didn’t strike back; Shadow King’s focus remained on Candra.
Cyclops marshaled them into a second and third wave of attacks, but for all their efforts they did little more than harry Shadow King. Perhaps they were gradually weakening him, as Xavier hoped, but the bulk of his efforts remained relentlessly engaged against Candra... until he managed to knock her from the fight.
“You are slime, Farouk!” Storm rose into the air, calling out Shadow King. Her move was part distraction, taking Candra’s place in the fight, keeping Shadow King isolated. In order for their plan to work they needed Shadow King’s consciousness in its concentrated form – gathered here, fighting against them – rather than scattered, disembodied, throughout his crystal domain.
“You cannot win this fight,” Shadow King countered. “Surrender Candra and Xavier to me... and I may let the rest of you live.”
“You have already brought too much death, taken those dear to me. I will see that you take no more,” Storm threatened. “You will do no more harm here, Farouk!”
Candra took advantage of Shadow King’s momentary distraction with Storm to rush in for a follow up attack, but her effort was swiftly repulsed. This time Shadow King met her with enough psychic energy to drop her. Red smoke coalesced into human form as she fell from the sky.
“See to Candra!” Xavier commanded.
“Already on it, Fearless Leader!”
Angel plucked Candra out of the sky and delivered her to Beast, who began rendering first aid.
“Your help is much appreciated, but not necessary.” Her wounds quickly began to heal themselves. “I will be recovered shortly.”
Xavier moved to their side just as Storm landed on the ground nearby.
“But we must not allow Shadow King time to regain his strength.” Candra removed her headdress. “Storm. Take this. Use it to defeat him.”
Storm reached out carefully, accepting the headdress and then putting it on.
“Now you really look the part of goddess,” Angel told her with a smirk.
Storm held the Heart Stone, open-palmed, in her hand. Red lightening crackled around it.
“An angry goddess,” Storm decided, her blue eyes clouding over in white, crackling with red lightening. She rose into the air once more, this time joining the battle not only as goddess, but as a priestess wielding the Heart Stone.
“Now Shadow King, your time on Earth is done.”
Storm unleashed a barrage of red supernatural lightening, blasting Shadow King with all of her strength.
“Now! Hit ‘em with everything ya got, X-Men!” Cyclops ordered. It was now or never. They had to turn the tide of this battle. They needed to buy time for Candra to recover, and they needed to weaken Shadow King enough for Candra to overpower him and take him through the gate... a gate that Storm still had to open.
Xavier and Jean hit Shadow King with another concentrated beam of psychic energy. That got his attention focused squarely on Xavier.
“You wish to fight me, here, Charles Xavier?” His voice shook the landscape. “Stop hiding behind these children–” Shadow King yelled as he hit back with his own wave of psychic energy, “and come fight me!”
Xavier was able to withstand the psychic blast, but the raw impact was enough to knock Jean to the ground. She gritted her teeth as she got up, slowly, looking around. The same shock wave had driven Storm and Angel from the sky. Storm had been separated from her headdress.
“Are you alright?”
Cyclops and Beast were both at her side, also a bit shaken up, but uninjured. She wanted to yell at them to stay with Xavier.
“Very well, Shadow King. A duel of psychic abilities. Yours verses mine.”
“Possession of the Mind Stone will not help you in this battle.”
Jean looked up to find that a terrible – giant – image of Shadow King’s head had filled the sky above them, taunting Xavier.
Jean yelled, “No–” struggling to her feet. She wasn’t about to let Xavier face this alone.
“You’ve done more than your share, my X-Men. Now you can leave Shadow King to me.”
A giant version of Xavier’s head now faced that of Shadow King’s.
“He’s right, Jean. We’ve done all we can.” Cyclops had a hand on her elbow, shifting her view away from the psychic fight.
Jean looked at Cyclops in horrified disbelief. His expression quirked into a smile. It was a bluff. She looked past Cyclops to see Candra and Storm huddled out of view, behind Beast and Angel, speaking quietly, urgently, among themselves.
Jean nodded. She didn’t need to read minds to know what Cyclops was thinking: It was in Storm’s hands now. And all of Shadow King’s efforts were misdirected, focused on Xavier. Only.... Jean felt a flash of panic. “Scott–” She couldn’t sense any of their thoughts!
Jean gasped and cringed as Xavier and Shadow King clashed, blow after terrible blow, locked in battle in the sky. It was like seeing a terrible crash, not wanting to watch and yet being unable to look away– but she could no longer feel the blows. Xavier was shielding her. That was the only possible explanation. He was shielding them all from this fight, and likewise shielding their thoughts from Shadow King’s knowledge.
She stole another glance past Angel and Beast to Storm and Candra. She could no longer read their minds but judging by their body language, it was almost time. Shadow King was still completely occupied by Xavier’s attack. Storm began to spin winds around them all in a cyclone which gradually contracted until it had tightly encased Shadow King. Tightly constrained, he was then lashed into place with gold cords of psychic energy from Xavier and red ones from Candra.
“This is it. Keep him contained, X-Men,” Cyclops yelled.
Shadow King was immobilized, held in place by Storm’s winds, which were backed by Jean’s telekinesis and the occasional optic blast to provide temporary resistance when one of the psychic cords broke.
Shadow King howled with unheard rage, his voice lost over the winds. He could hardly break through one psychic cord before a new one wrapped itself into place around him. His rage shook the landscape around them so furiously that reality itself appeared to be falling apart.
“Beast! Jean! Cover us,” Cyclops yelled.
The two of them worked together to shear loose a massive piece of plate metal from a nearby roof. Beast held it aloft against the physical ravages of Shadow King’s rage, sheltering the team and Candra with his strength. Jean added her telekinetic support, securing the shelter in place until it stood supported under its own weight. The physical shelter created the image, the illusion, of safety. Shelter from the untamed elements, shelter from the desperate vestiges of Shadow King’s wrath. But it was Jean’s thoughts which created a safe bubble around them, making the comforting imagery a reality.
Standing beneath their makeshift storm shelter, Jean remembered very vividly that their minds were still inside a crystal... and she hoped the crystal itself wasn’t collapsing. What would happen to them if it collapsed with their minds still inside? She cast a worried glance at Storm. Obviously that thought wasn’t a foreign one to Storm either, but all of Storm’s focus was on playing out her own role. Jean could see the same determination on the faces of all her teammates, her friends.
Defeat Shadow King first. Then get the hell out of here.
“Angel. Storm. Go!” Cyclops called.
Angel took flight, skimming fast and low over the shifting horizon, searching for Candra’s lost headdress.
Storm levitated herself into position just as Angel delivered the headdress to her. The winds around them increased in intensity. Angel handed off the headdress then tucked his wings in close to his body, gliding gently to the ground beside Candra and his teammates.
“Now Storm!” Candra yelled over the winds.
Storm fit the two pieces together, sacred Heart Stone and eternal headdress. When the two clicked into place, a red, diamond-shaped shadow appeared in the sky behind Shadow King.
“The gate must be opened quickly,” Candra insisted.
Red light lanced out from the shadows as the gate opened at Storm’s command.
Candra smiled, a proud and determined smile. “It’s up to me now. Farewell, X-Men.” Candra dissolved herself into red smoke and flew at Shadow King, engulfing and entangling him until they both disappeared, sinking into the red light within the gate.
“Jean. Hold on to the others!”
Jean felt the world rush in like a tidal wave around her as Xavier’s mind linked to hers again. He was about to cast the final blow.
“I’ve got them, Professor.”
Don’t be distracted now, my X-Men.
Jean felt their fear. Dear God, it looked like the sky was falling! Surely Shadow King’s crystal domain was collapsing in on them.
It is only one last attempt to stop his exile. We cannot flinch!
Jean felt Xavier’s mind reach into the red light, one more pulse of psychic energy to push the exiles through, while he simultaneously pushed Jean and the others away.
“Steady now, X-Men!” Cyclops commanded.
Jean held on to them with all her strength. Scott and Hank and Ororo and Warren. She wouldn’t let go. And Xavier knew it.
Red light flashed out, blindingly bright... and then there was cold darkness.
Jean’s heart pounded hard against her chest, afraid to open her eyes and see where they were... if they still were. Her ears answered the question first. She heard Scott’s voice.
“Is everybody alright?” Cyclops asked, looking around warily. His team was sprawled on the cavern floor, but everyone was accounted for and relatively unharmed, by the look of them.
Well done. I am so very proud of you, my X-Men.
Good to have you back, Professor, Cyclops answered.
Xavier opened his eyes, finding himself safely back in his study.
“Very good to be back.”
So Let it Be Written Publishing © 2004