. . .
. . .
. . .
He remembered drowning, and there was nothing he could do, not when he was punctured with metal rods twisted in different angles in his body, being in unimaginable, excruciating pain before every fiber of his being felt cold, numb, his consciousness gradually fading away as suffocation crept in his system.
An earnest "Fuck you" being addressed to Magneto, that metal-controlling bastard, was the last thing he remembered thinking before submerging in water. But that, when partnered with his present environment, simply did not add up.
Everything felt like he was in a trance. The orange hues of the room were a stark contrast to the blue waters that filled his line of vision once he hurled out of the stadium, plunging to the depths of the river.
Logan rose up from the bed, looking momentarily at the holographic clock by his bedside. It took a few seconds for him to process that it wasn't an unfamiliar environment; he was inside his room in the Xavier mansion. He made his way to the door, grabbing the knob with intricate designs. After pulling it open, he was welcomed by the sight of the corridors brimming with students. Glancing to his left, he was almost blinded by the sunlight reflecting from the windows. Still he recognized the silhouette standing in front of it. It was Bobby, eventually being accompanied by Rogue who had just emerged from another room. Both smiled as they turned to him.
Dragging his legs which felt unusually light, he further explored the mansion, passing by a room filled with students listening to a lecture he couldn't quite grasp — not that he was interested, anyway. In front, he identified Colossus, in his actual flesh, alongside Kitty, who was mainly doing all the talking. Briefly, an image of her inside a Chinese temple, massively fatigued, flashed in his head, before Hank's voice brought him out of his musings. Turning back to the corridors, Beast passed by, blue and furry in his classy suit, and greeted him a good morning. The images in his head were blurry, but Logan was certain he was a lot younger the last time he saw him.
He walked down the stairway, and below, he caught sight of Storm, preoccupied with assisting a number of students. He also recalled a memory of her doing something similar, but instead of the youngsters being directed to their classrooms, she was leading them out for war.
As soon as the crowd dissipated, his eyes trailed over the office of the professor. Something inside his chest stirred upon seeing a familiar woman clad in red standing, facing away from him by the doorway.
Then he processed everything.
A warm feeling of relief and gratitude took over his body when he finally understood what had happened.
It wasn't a dream. It worked. Charles did it.
The future had been changed, and everyone he knew, everyone he cared for was safe.
And Jean . . . She was there.
"Jean," he called out before he even realized it, approaching her.
"Hey, Logan," she greeted casually, turning to him, "You okay?"
"You're here," he muttered, his eyes not leaving her face, which was as beautiful as he remembered. She was there, right in front of him, alive.
"Of course, where else would I be?"
Her smile never failed to make him at ease. The last time he saw her that close was also the most heartbreaking moment for him, as he plunged his adamantium claws to stop the force that was consuming her. He reached out his arm to touch her face, just to make sure she was real, but it never reached her as another hand stopped it in its tracks.
"Whoa, easy, pal," Cyclops said, emerging from the other side of the room.
"Some things never change," Logan said immediately, staring at him as the other mutant slowly brought his arm down. If there had been something that further cleared his doubts whether or not he was back in reality, that was it. He might have changed the future, but certain things stayed the same, it seemed. A contradictory feeling existed, bitter and sweet at the same time. "Good to see you, Scott."
Scott gave him a weird look as Logan firmly pat his shoulder. "Uh-huh. See you later, Jean," he said as he excused himself, leaving the office.
Soon enough, Jean also left, after asking him if everything was alright.
He replied that yes, everything indeed was.
He brought his attention to the professor next, who, much like Hank, had aged since the last time he literally saw him. A feeling of solace washed over Logan, as he approached the man seated on the hovering chair. Aside from Jean, Charles was the very person he was hoping to see again, being one of the few who knew what he had been through.
The professor wondered what brought him there, reminding him that he had a history class to teach. Logan responded it was himself who actually needed a lesson on history, especially regarding the events that transpired after 1973.
The expression on Charles' face changed completely, and he welcomed him back, telling him they had lots to talk about.
Trask had been imprisoned. The Sentinel program had been cancelled. The views on mutants significantly changed for the better. The academy was formally founded, brimming with students. An all-powerful mutant almost wiped out the world. The new X-men was formed and was continuing to grow. Both Mystique and Magneto were somewhere around the world, yet Charles was somehow confident they had no intentions of breaking the peace they were experiencing.
Those were the significant details Logan obtained from Charles, before he promptly excused himself for a breath of fresh air, feeling overwhelmed with all the events that transpired during the absence of his consciousness. Thankfully the professor understood, allowing him to adjust with this strange yet appreciated timeline.
Logan settled himself by the verandas, glancing at the students lounging freely around the lake. A group of teenagers were playing some sort of sport — a mix of baseball and dodge ball, apparently, partnered with some pyrotechnic elements. He recognized Nightcrawler supervising the whole thing, and beside him was a dark-haired woman wearing a yellow blazer, responsible for producing the fireworks that the teenagers had to avoid. Logan chuckled to himself; he never recalled students having that much of fun in the other timeline he had been.
He scanned the surroundings further, and caught sight of Jean standing underneath one of the trees. Her scarlet hair and wardrobe stuck out against the green landscape. She seemed to be in deep thought. Logan wondered what she was thinking about.
Too absorbed with looking at the woman he adored, he did not notice the door behind him creaking open, along with a rapidly-approaching baseball which he only sensed when it was milliseconds away from where he stood. By the time he released his claws he was certain it should've hit his face, yet the ball diverted its direction, seemingly moving an inch when it was tinted with a blurred, red flare, before slamming on the wall that was behind him instead.
"Sorry Mr. Logan!" someone yelled from the group playing outside. He waved a hand dismissively before turning around to see his savior.
"Uh, thanks?" he said lamely, looking at the woman who prevented a bruise forming on his face. She wasn't someone he recognized actually, and he did not recall ever encountering her in the other future. Was she among the new X-men that the professor was telling him, meaning they must have some prior memories together? How should he even regard her? Shit, this was going to be awkward.
She simply nodded, her dark hair bouncing briefly. He was thankful she did not seem to notice his internal deliberations. "I'm the guest lecturer that Scott Summers called for. Have you seen him?"
Logan breathed out in relief. That saved him from looking like a fool. "Should be around here somewhere."
This time he noticed the door opening further, and as if on cue, Scott emerged behind it. "There you are. Thank you for coming. The professor would like to see you."
She nodded again, following after Scott who began to lead her out of the room, but at the last second, she stopped, turning her body to him. She whirled her wrist slightly and the same cherry-colored bolts appeared. Logan knitted his brows in alarm before he felt his hands being enveloped with the same force, the claws he completely forgot about retreating back inside his skin.
"You should keep those sheathed." The tone of her voice was mysterious. He only looked back, face bewildered. He had never seen powers like hers before.
As soon as they left the room, Logan shrugged off his questions in his mind, looking back at the scenery before him. He glanced again at Jean, their eyes meeting. When she waved a hand, seemingly smiling, the warm, snuggly feeling returned in his chest.
A few minutes passed, Scott returned to the room, joining him by the porch. Logan's eyebrow rose.
"Why're you here again?" Logan's tone was curious, lacking the usual hostile air whenever he shared breathing space with Scott. Not that he could help it, Logan really was glad to see him again in one piece.
Scott was quiet for a moment as if pondering how to reply. He then shrugged, leaning his arms on the railings. "Nothing. Felt like you had some questions in your head."
"Actually, I do. Who was that woman?"
"That was Wanda. You know, Magneto's daughter? Though I'm not surprised you didn't recognize her. She doesn't really visit this place very often."
Logan looked at his knuckles, recalling the strange aura that engulfed it earlier. "What the hell's up with her powers?"
"She has those hexes which make unlikely things to happen and vice versa. So yeah, it revolved around probability." Scott chuckled, seemingly finding something amusing. "Fitting that she's teaching statistics, right?"
Logan bobbed his head, trying to digest the bit of information. So even Magneto's family was well-affiliated with Charles. He didn't know if it was a good thing or not.
"Speaking of classes, aren't you supposed to teach one at this time?" Scott asked, breaking his thoughts.
"Cancelled it. I feel like my head's not in the right place at the moment."
The creases between Scott's eyebrows became more prominent. "Actually, you really are acting weird today, Logan. Well, weirder than usual."
In another universe, he probably would've cursed the laser prick already, but Logan chuckled. If 'weird' was how Scott would describe his happiness in this more peaceful timeline, he'd take it. "Guess I can accept that, bub. So how are you and Jean?"
Scott did not respond, simply giving him an odd look.
Logan exhaled deeply, keeping his patience in check. "Just humor me, even at least for this day."
Scott sighed and leaned his body against the railing, crossing his arms. "We're good, I guess? After several tries, she finally accepted my proposal. After all the things that happened I was this close to giving up. I'm really happy about it."
A familiar pang formed in Logan's heart. He wondered if a different timeline existed where he was actually meant for her.
Something in Scott's words confused him, though. Why did Scott feel like giving up? He had always been Jean's first choice in the timeline he lived in. Did he actually cause a major rift in the waves of time that it affected their relationship?
Despite the puzzling thoughts, Logan found it in himself to say his next words. "I see. Make sure to take care of her, you got that?"
Instead of nodding in approval, Scott looked at him questioningly before his expression changed to something completely bewildered. "Logan, what the hell are you talking about?"
Perplexed with his tone, Logan frowned, making a gesture with his hands by putting them together. "You and Jean, right?"
"No!" he denied with absolute conviction, causing Logan to be even more confused, "What are you smoking, man?"
"The proposal? You're talking wedding proposal, right?" Because what else could Scott mean?
"I never said anything about a wedding, geez! It was a proposal for new Danger Room simulations for the new recruits!" Scott appeared vastly exasperated. "Jean and I rarely get along in terms of that, so I was happy she finally approved. I have a huge hunch that he influenced her way of thinking too much that she always has something to say against my plans. Good thing the professor also approved of it because I'm honestly out of ideas."
Logan's jaw dropped. "But what's with you in the professor's office?"
He knew Scott was judging him even more underneath his shades as one of his eyebrows elevated. "That? I wouldn't want you and him to cause a huge ruckus again of course, just because you can't keep your hands in your pockets. Besides, just because the two of you have healing factors doesn't mean you should abuse it. As teachers we have to keep the mansion in order and be good examples to the students."
Logan looked at him like he wasn't making any sense at all.
Who the fucking hell was he talking about?
"Alright kids!" a deep voice bellowed from the corner of the mansion, "Fasten up your pace, go, go, go!"
Scott glanced at the source of the voice before taking some steps inside the mansion again. "Seriously man, your apparent memory loss is kinda freaking me out. Why don't you see for yourself?"
And so Logan did, as Scott exited the room. From his spot, he distinguished a figure with distinct silver hair, commanding a group of students to run another lap around the mansion. Squinting his eyes, he recognized him as that speedy, troublesome brat who helped them break out his equally troublesome father from the Pentagon.
"My greatest apologies, Logan," he heard the professor say in his mind, as he watched how Peter approached Jean, who hooked her arms around his. She began to lean her head in his shoulder in a rather intimate manner. "Looks like I forgot to tell you another . . . rather important detail."
Logan felt he was drowning again, but instead of the water filling in his lungs, it was the overload of information that was too much for his brain to handle.
The future had been changed, alright, and Logan was unsure what to make of it. Perhaps it was a perfect time to visit Japan for a well-deserved break.
Who says Jean and Scott ended up together in the ending of DoFP? That was just Scott being a total, overprotective bro to his bro, Peter. Haha! The funniest thing about writing this whole thing is how Logan played a large part in pretty much changing the future. While he didn't have much of a choice in the matter, thinking about it, he was especially responsible for the change in Peter's timeline. Because if we remember from DoFP, it was Logan's idea to ask help from him. If it weren't for that, Peter would not have met Charles and co., therefore he would've not been able to get Charles' business card and save everyone from the mansion, and he would've not been able to personally meet his father that time too. In this story's timeline, he was also indirectly responsible for Peter being involved in the Weapon X program, after escaping in XM:A timeline, though Jean and pals made him flee so she was mostly at fault too. Special thanks to LilyAnneBlack, who gave me the idea to make this bonus epilogue, hehe!
To be honest, I didn't really want to end the previous chapter in a cliffhanger, but I wanted to make it as vague as possible to make this ending work. Just in case it wasn't clear, Wanda's probability hexes saved Peter's life. I really think she's at par with Jean when it comes to their crazy-powerful, limitless gifts, LOL. Also, in Chapter 16, those other Weapon X prospects are Blob, Avalanche and Toad, who would eventually join Magneto in the Brotherhood, which would eventually turn to the Freedom Force headed by Mystique, who had decided to go separate ways from Charles and the X-men.
To clarify further, in this story's timeline, Jean learned to accept and co-exist with the Phoenix Force residing in her, as seen in Chapter 14. I'd like to believe this is also the reason why she's still alive in the ending of DoFP; I kinda see it like Queen Elsa from Frozen coming in terms with her powers not through fear, but through something like love and acceptance, LOL. This is unlike the original timeline of X3, where, in my interpretation, Phoenix Force became furious after being suppressed for so long (we have Charles to blame for that!). Since the events in XMA didn't happen in the original movie timeline, Phoenix Force never had the opportunity to surface, which is why it became so hungry with power and destruction when it fully possessed Jean. I hope it made sense!
To clarify the other things (especially for Hi Guest), I personally headcanon Lorna to be around 5 or 6 during DoFP, so when she made an appearance to this fic, she was around 16-17, a few years younger than Jean, who was turning 20 at the beginning of this story. Scott, Ororo, Jubilee and Kurt should be around her age too. Wanda is the same age as Peter, who's around 27 when XM:A started, while Magda is probably in her late 40s, with Erik and Charles being in their early 50s. Hank and Raven should be in their 40s. Thanks to Amelia for the age maths! As for this last chapter, supposedly this happens in the future, year 2023, which is forty years after the events in XM:A. I think everyone looks too young for their age, but it must've been an effect of the mutant gene. LOL.
And my warmest thank you to everyone who had read and reached this ending! The feedback, views, follows and favorites mean a lot to me. This story certainly has come a long way than I initially intended for something that was originally supposed to end in the ninth chapter. I feel like this is also a milestone for me because I was able to complete my first multi-chapter story, haha. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing it! QuickPhoenix for the win, LOL.