I SINCERELY apologize for this last chapter's very late update. To name all of the things that happened which caused this chapter's late entry would, quite literally, fill up an entire page. It was as the old saying goes, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Thankfully, I finally have this last chapter in this story updated and for your reading pleasure. I will have a full authors note at the bottom. So, enjoy. : )

Chapter Twenty Five

Welcome To the New Age

Emily couldn't breathe. Who could? A giant metal monster was staring down at her and aiming its laser target straight between her two eyes. The ten year olds forehead beaded with sweat as the Sentinel's laser heated up to fire. It all happened so fast, the only thing Emily could do was watch as the laser rocketed towards her.

"Get down!" Remy's voice shouted out suddenly. The Cajun spoke these words just as he dove for the small ten year old, the pair sliding across the hard wood floor as glass erupted from the window. The bright laser exploded into the couch and Emily gave out an unconscious scream of fright. She huddled close as Remy used his slender but muscular body to shield the child from the raining shards. Then, the room became eerily silent.

Emily held her breath as she watched the Sentinel scan the room. She trembled when the monstrosity slammed its fists into the wall and, with one swipe, tore out the side of the house. Emily felt Remy push her up and pull her towards the living room exit; both dodging fallen brick and matter as the Sentinel bulldozed its way into the house. Emily heard the monstrous machine kneel down with a high pitched whine of its thrusters and looked back to see the Sentinel reaching in with his hands, droning "Human Fleeing. Orders: Engage and Detain."

The child's eyes filled with terrified tears but Remy was already on the case; reaching into his jean pockets. A trio of playing card quickly erupted into a fluorescent light and the Cajun turned around with an almost playful smirk.

"Engage some of dis!" Remy shouted, throwing the cards hard with a flick of the wrist. The lighted paper soared though the air and exploded in brilliant light between the Sentinel's fingertips. A fizzling and popping sound thundered in the room and the machine looked down to see its fingers now mangled into twisted pieces of metal. The Sentinel paused in its pursuit, staring at the charred appendages in an almost curious fashion.

As the machine was processing the damage that had been done, the Cajun scooped up the child in his arms and ran towards the double door exit. Emily made no protest, wrapping her arms around his neck as Remy busted open the double doors with surprising strength. He booked it to the military grade camper trailer Logan had included for 'Plan B' and climbed in, placing the child down in the passenger seat. Emily's pale face watched him silently as he started the engine. A loud boom shook the grounds and the child jerked her head in terror to see the Sentinel explode its way out from the roof. The child watched it soar into the air and glide their way and she pointed, shouting fearfully "Uncle Remy!"

The Cajun noticed it immediately and swore, in surprisingly good English, and cranked the vehicle into the gear with a hard shove. The Sentinel landed with a violent quake of the land in front of the vehicle and again raised its damaged hands to shoot. Remy gave off an almost delirious Cajun laugh, shouting "Not today, you connard!" (Bastard!)

Remy then flicked up a few buttons on the controls and watched with satisfaction as guns appeared out from the side and top of the vehicle; pelting the robot with lasers of their own. They worked just like Forge said they would; slicing through the Sentinels metal as if it were butter. Once Remy saw the legs were weakened, he slammed on the accelerator and clipped the edge of the machine's side. He couldn't help but smirk as he watched the damn thing crumble to the round and explode.

"I see why you hate those things now." Emily's teased timidly from the passenger seat beside him. The Cajun was alerted to the break in her voice and looked over to see the child fighting off tears bravely, though sadly failing. The child would not look at him, her fingers gripping to the leather seat and face pale. Remy didn't need heightened senses to see she was terrified. He reached over and petted her head, soothing "Nous allons être bien, Petite." (Everything is going to be alright, Petite.)

His tone of voice was enough to sooth the girl and she relaxed into her seat, though the tears still laid stained on her face. Both mutant and little girl jumped at the sound of brick collapsing and Remy half groaned at the sight of the mansion. We'll, at least it was just the living room this time. The Cajun took one last look at the 'remodeled' building and reached for his cell-phone.

xxx xxxx xxx

Wanda watched in horror as a Sentinel demolished a skyscraper and sent rubble to the innocent Genosha citizens below. She quickly used her Hex to stop the brick from harming anyone and reached out to help carry a seven year old to safety. Once the crying child was back in the arms of her grateful mother, Wanda stormed her way into the entrance to the palace. Hours ago the Sentinels had marched into Genosha in an 'attack' and had quickly turned the proud empire into a city burning to ash. Wanda had then watched as her father curiously turned some of the Sentinels to his own, but quickly became enraged upon seeing some fly towards New York City, only to discover the others left behind were still wrecking havoc on the innocent people of Genosha. It appeared to Wanda that her father had truly gone mad.

Wanda journeyed deeper into the confines of the palace and pushed open the Throne Room's entrance with a heavy shove. Her blood boiled hot at the sight of her father standing on the balcony, Magneto watching the chaos like a god giving punishment.

"You're doing nothing!" Wanda shrieked in anger. She motioned out the destruction in front her father, adding "What are you waiting for?!"

"The one thing Genosha needs in order to triumph…unity." Magneto replied calmly. He turned to his daughter; face blank as screams of terror reigned blow. He continued "Some mutants refuse to fight alongside our brothers and sisters. But this unprovoked attack is just the motivation they need."

"I can't believe you're actually willing to sacrifice lives!" Wanda snapped angrily. Magneto looked back to the burning city, stating coldly "If the loss of a few will ensure our rightful place in this world, then yes, we will make that sacrifice."

Wanda stared at her father coldly. Her voice turned deadly as she asked, "It's all been a lie, hasn't it? A means to an end."

Wanda directed her hand out towards the destroyed empire, adding coldly "Is that all Genosha is to you?"

"Genosha is everything to me!" Magneto snapped, jerking back around to face her. His aged grey eyes took on a wicked gleam as he stated forcefully "But like a seedling in a clay pot, it must be broken free, in order to grow."

Wanda gazed deeply into her father's eyes. She suddenly found no comfort in those once soft aged eyes. Now they were cold, cruel…truly mad. Wanda shook her head, eyes filling with tears.

"No…not like this." Wanda stated quietly. She took a few steps back from Magneto, eyeing him with a new look of suspicion and rage. Wanda shook her head again, tears falling, crying out "It is one thing to defend ourselves...it is another to attack innocent people."

Wanda turned with a brisk whoosh of her cape. She ran out from the Throne Room with tears in her eyes and a determined look on her face. Magneto called out her name, but for once in her life, the daughter no longer beckoned to her father's call.

Wanda made out to the corridor and turned to see Blink ordering some guards towards a part of the palace. She strode briskly up to mutant and pulled her aside. Before Blink could ask what was wrong, Wanda whispered intently "Rally the guards in the prison. Tell them to release Senator Kelly and wait for my signal."

"Madam…" Blink responded, a look of alarm crossing her features. Wanda shook her head, urging forcefully "No, listen."

Wanda pulled out a piece of paper from her pocket and slipped it into Blink's hands. She ordered "If any communications are up and running, contact a man named Director Fury on this line…."

Wanda paused and quickly pulled Blink away from a falling metal wall. Once steady, she urged
"Tell Fury that Magneto's plans have changed and he is now targeting innocent civilians. Alert him that there is a planned assault on the city and to gather any superheroes he has at his disposal."

"You're…you're asking me to commit treason, ma'am." Blink responded quietly. Surprisingly, Wanda gave out a quiet and bitter laugh. She replied, "I am."

"Why?" Blink asked gently. Wanda shook her head, tears falling more from her face. However, a new resignation filled up her eyes. Wanda stated firmly "Because despite my best efforts, my father wishes this war to be a choice against us or them…."

Wanda snorted bitterly, rising to her full height and she wiped away the tears. She slowly looked towards the Throne Room, finishing darkly "But I would rather die than be the monster my father wishes me to be."

xxx xxxx xxx

"I want to see the Professor." Jean demanded. Her emerald eyes were sharp with impatience and, with good reason, a glimmer of fear. She looked to each of the disapproving turned up noses of the Inner Circle as Emma came forward with a sympathetic look.

"Jean, I told you…he's in a coma…" Emma explained; her tone of what she might used to calm down Emily. She shook her head, adding, "He can't help you."

"I'll get through to him somehow." Jean persisted. She turned away, walking towards the exit and Emma reached a hand out to her.

"Please, listen…" Emma replied; a hint of urgency in her tone. She caught up to Jean and walked beside her toe for toe, their womanly figures casting shadows among the flickering candles. Emma stopped her gently, continuing, "If we don't do this now, we might not get another chance!"

Jean pushed her away a little roughly, and gave a cold purse of her lips. She stated, "I'm not doing anything without him."

Emma frowned, her gray eyes staring into the receding backside of the redhead. Her gaze then glanced over to Sebastian; he nodded his head. Though she had reservations of acting out an order by him, Emma knew deep in her heart that there were innocents in play. So a self-righteous attitude would be checked at the door.

Emma looked back and pressed a few fingers to her forehead. She easily manipulated Jean's weakened mind into giving her the allowance to freeze the redhead in place. Though Jean began fighting it, backing off from the seven blondes encircling her, Emma effortlessly tore down her defenses. She knocked out Jean and gently sent her tumbling into the arms of the Cuckoos. The seven blondes gently carried her over to the table.

"This won't be as simple as I'd hoped." Emma spoke out loud; more to herself than those in the room. Sebastian turned to her disapprovingly, questioning "What does that mean?"

"We must now trick Jean into removing the mental barriers herself." Emma explained. Her white heels clicked off in the silent room and she stood over the sleeping redhead. Sebastian narrowed his eyes, asking "How many of them are in place?"

"I won't know until I'm inside…" Emma replied. She crossed her arms and added frustratingly, "Even then, I might not be able to find them all."

Selene's voice gave a harsh scoff from the corner of the room and she walked out from the shadows, making her presence known. She smirked darkly at Emma's glare; gracefully striding up to the table. Selene scoffed, "Why is it, Emma, that Jean must remove them?"

The raven haired woman gave a smug little smile, asking "Are you incapable of doing it yourself?"

"I probably could, Selene…if they were put there by any other person but Charles Xavier." Emma snipped back evenly. She looked towards the raven haired woman, stating icily "Though I don't see you volunteering."

Selene's eyes turned a wicked color and a hellish hunger enveloped her soft lips. She replied evenly, "Sebastian is afraid I'll use my other…gifts...against the precious woman."

"Thank god for that." Emma replied. Selene paused in her hungry look to blink at the woman. Emma smirked, adding chip "I'd hate anyone to go through the torture of having you in their head."

Selene glowered hotly and a few snickers from the other Inner Circle could be heard being suppressed by coughs. Before Selene could bite back, Emma turned to the Cuckoos, instructing "Girls, lets proceed."

Emma quickly walked around to the end of the table and took her gloves off. She paused as her fingers hovered over Jean's temple. Emma looked to the young girls, stating quietly "And tread softly."

The Cuckoos nodded reverently at their teacher's request, encircling their hands together. The Inner Circle made sure to keep a safe distance as Emma breathed in and out; her fingers wrapped around the young woman's temple. Selene glared at the ease of the White Queen's face; ignoring the almost proud look of Sebastian beside her. However, Selene's smirk reappeared as Emma's forehead creased down hard and sweat began to pour. The blonde woman gave out a low moan in tune with Jean, the redhead starting to mutter "No…this isn't right…Scott…no…"

Suddenly Jean's back arched and her voice took on a loud shriek, demanding "Where's Scott!?"

Jean unconsciously sent out another short blast of psychic wave upon her scream for her lover, and the invisible force sent Emma and the Cuckoos flying into opposite directions. Emma scrambled off the floor and shouted, "Help me keep her under!"

Sebastian and Selene immediately raced towards the altar, each taking an arm of Jeans. The redhead gave out another screech in anger at the restraint, bucking madly, despite the fact she was still under telepathic control. Emma came between them and roughly pressed her hands around Jean's forehead to send her back under. As the trio fought the raging woman, Sebastian shouted "What happened?!"

Emma continued to concentrate on sending Jean under and did not reply. Finally the redhead stilled, settling back slowly onto the carved stone, her head falling gently to the side. The three telepaths took a moment to catch their breath, and stepped aside to allow the Cuckoos to encircle the girl once more. Sebastian turned to Emma for an answer to his question and Emma muttered angrily "We were interrupted."

"By what?" Sebastian half growled in frustration. Emma shook her head, explaining "The psychic connection she has with Scott Summers…"

Emma's grey eyes clouded with emotion and she turned to the laying woman on the altar. She added quietly "She senses he's in trouble."

"Then have the girls block him out so you can proceed." Sebastian replied coldly. Emma sighed, snapping "It's too strong!"

She turned to Sebastian and urged "If he is in trouble, I need to go and alleviate the problem…"

Emma tried walking away towards the doors but Selene suddenly came from the shadows and grabbed her arm to stop her. Selene's cruel eyes bore into hers and the raven haired woman mocked "Or maybe you're as worried about Scott Summers as she is."

"Are you questioning my loyalty, Selene?" Emma replied in a threatening tone. Selene's eyes danced with sparkles of dark flecks and a cruel smile erupted from her face. She replied "Yes, I am."

Selene's hands erupted into a glowing shadow and she added "The X-men and that child are of no further use…."

Selene gave a cold laugh and she slithered "They should have all been taken out as soon as Cerebro was rebuilt."

"So now we're assassins!?" Emma snapped back angrily. She shook her head, turning to the others, urging "We're trying to save lives, not take them!"

"Go if you must, Emma." Sebastian replied, stepping in between her and Selene. He motioned to the three blonde girls encircling the redhead woman, adding "The Cuckoos are fully capable of getting Miss Grey to open the remaining doors."

"Oh, and have you forgotten about the little firestorm waiting on the other side?" Emma sarcastically bit back. Sebastian smirked, and replied confidently "I have faith they can contain it."

"Contain it?" Emma questioned; her tone rising in alarm. She set her hands to her hips, demanding "What are you talking about!?"

Emma pointed to the unconscious Jean, only seeing the monster that lied underneath the beautiful woman. She hissed darkly "We're bloody destroying that hideous creature!"

"Those plans have…evolved." Sebastian replied coyly; a circle of smirks forming at his words. Emma's grey eyes erupted into new volumes of rage and the woman shouted "Sebastian, you can't control the Phoenix! No one can!"

"Ah, but I believe it wants to be controlled, Emma…" Sebastian replied, in a tone that mimicked that of a patronizing father. He turned away from the enraged Emma and walked over to Jean; gently caressing the woman's cheek. He added "And through the centuries, it has been searching for a telepath capable of handling its power."

Emma scoffed at his words; they were purely of arrogance and greed. She turned to the other three, demanding in a bewildered outrage "You…you can't all agree with this?!"

"We do." Selene coldly replied; stepping in front as the other two bowed their heads. She smirked darkly at the White Queen, mocking "And before you fell in love with the X-men, you would have as well."

Emma glowered at the woman, contemplating how hard it would be to push past Selene's mental defenses and make her like an infant for life. The image of the viscous woman drooling from her mouth was a satisfying picture. Yet, Sebastian interrupted her darker thoughts of harm by saying proudly "We're confident that five telepaths can succeed where one would fail. "

"You are all fools." Emma snapped back harshly; her tone soft and cold. She shook her head, looking to the group, adding "If I'm not here to lead this, the Phoenix will consume those girls just as it would have Jean!"

The others appeared to not agree with this assumption; Selene even daring to scoff at the notion. Emma ignored her, looking to her oldest friend Sebastian, praying that his arrogance had not completely clouded his mind. She quietly asked "I implore you…please don't do anything until I return."

The group looked to Sebastian. After a moment of silence, he nodded. As Emma walked quickly to the door, however, Sebastian's voice carried out a warning, "You have one hour."

xxx xxxx xxx

Wolverine slowly came to with the bright lights of helicopters above, the sickening scent of burning oil, and the odd sound of a ringtone. Though banged up and muffled, the feral instantly recognized it as his com-link. Wolverine growled low at the realization, taking a second to pop his shoulder back into place and cracked his neck from side to side. After easing into a sitting position, the feral shuffled into his uniforms mask. Wolverine pressed the button of his com roughly, instantly growling, "Whoever the hell this is, I ain't exactly…"

"Logan." Gambit's voice cut through the com. The feral instantly sobered at the no nonsense tone in the Cajun's voice. Gambit made no bones about the situation, diving right in, "De mansion was attacked."

"Attacked?" Wolverine muttered, groaning as another bone slipped back into place. The feral's mind jarringly remembered where he was, and who was not, and he demanded protectively "Emily!? Is she…"

"I'm fine, daddy." Emily's voice quietly came from the speaker. The feral softened at the timid sound of his daughter's voice; wanting more than anything to be there to comfort her. Wolverine instead settled for a gentle reply, "Ah, darlin…"

The feral felt his heart stab at a soft hitch in Emily's voice and knew that the little girl was either holding back or recovering from crying. Wolverine's tone of voice suddenly changed ominous and he asked "Take me off speaker, Gumbo."

The Cajun did what he was told and instantly he could tell the feral's entire demeanor had changed. Wolverine's voice lowed to a snarl that was bordering on savage, the Cajun pretty sure his teeth were bared menacingly. The enraged feral father then stated a singled word.

"Who." Wolverine savagely growled; every muscles in his body tight. Gambit was silent for a moment, before replying "Sentinels."

Wolverine could be heard snarling again, trying to get up and Gambit added "But dey we're targetin humans, not mutants."

"What?!" Wolverine's voice could be heard shouting through the speaker. Emily managed a weak grin at her father's enraged bewilderment. Gambit shook his head, snapping "Remy know dat it sounds crazy! Remy didn't even believe it while it was happening!"

"What in the hell is going…." Wolverine sighed at first, but then went dead silent. He remembered Wanda's call and the pieces began adding up. It only took a moment for his tone to turn to a killer's intent. He snarled darkly, "Magneto."

Gambit could tell the feral was fighting off a bezerker rage; imagining the dilated eyes itching to go black. He overheard Wolverine curse low, growling in a frightening tone, "I'll kill him."

The feral stopped in his murderous rampage at the smell of a human. Wolverine slowly sniffed in; it was young, a male, and very nervous. The feral's white clothed eyes caught a shadow drape against the torn metal walls, and heard a nineteen something kid speak nervously "Commander, this is Johnson, over. Heading in to investigate for any remaining muties, over."

"Shit." Wolverine cursed. The sound of his voice caused the Johnson MRD soldier to wipe around and flash a light on him. The young kid appeared to cause a new brown stain in his pants at the sight of Wolverine; franticly pawing for his com. Johnson shouted terrified "He's awake! He's awake!"

Johnson back pedaled towards the exit, aiming his rifle at the glaring feral vigilante. His young voice raised an octave as he shouted into his headset "Officers need assistance, now!"

Wolverine grunted out an exasperated sigh. The feral cracked his neck and stood up, pressing the com-link, "I'll call ya back."

"Have fun, mon ami." Remy joked in a half-laugh on the other line. Wolverine smiled darkly and cut the communication. The feral's graveled laugh echoed off the metal interior as he turned towards the young MRD officer shining a light on him. Wolverine took a step towards him and Johnson cocked his gun up shakily. The young man shouted harshly "I said don't move!"

Wolverine's canines flickered off the moonlight in as his dark smile grew. The feral chuckled, taking a step closer, challenging "And if I do, bub?"

"Forget it, Wolverine! Don't even try to…" Johnson shouted back, but his commanded was cut off by a terrified shout as Wolverine lunged at him with no claws present. He easily grabbed the gun out of the young man's hands and used the bunt of it to knock the kid unconscious. No need for a violent end when your adversary looked to be about the age of proms and acne. A good knock to the head would suffice.

Wolverine half chuckled at the heap of teenager sprawled out on the ground beside him and un-sheathed his right claws to slice the gun in half; kicking it to the side next to the teenager. The feral then paused, sniffing the air around him. The feral growled low. Four more males. Older. Meaner. The lingering scent of his friends drifted out from the wreckage and Wolverine followed after, careful to hide his muscled bulk among the shadows. Sadly though, the helicopter was quick to strobe its light upon the masked vigilante and shouts could be heard as guns were cocked. Wolverine sighed tiredly, "Damn it."

The feral turned just in time to feel a vibrating pulse slam against his body. The force of the blow sent him toppling to the rubble and Wolverine snarled enraged as his head hit against the destroyed pavement. The feral tried getting up, but again the MRD used their newly designed weapon and Wolverine felt himself be thrown backward. He gave out a grunt in pain as his heavy body slammed against a MRD vehicle with such force it left a dent and he again felt the earth hit his face. Wolverine leaned up angrily, spitting out the blood leftover from his healing lip. He growled threatening at the MRD officers closing in. If those bastards wanted him, they would need more than some fancy toy.

Before Wolverine could counter any attack, or the MRD could raise a gun, the four left suddenly grabbed at their heads; crying out in pain as they toppled to the ground. Seeing the opportunity, the feral unsteadily got up, feeling a few more bones heal into place. Wolverine then quickly looked to the left to see that, of all things, Emma Frost standing there in her elegant pose; decimating the remaining MRD vehicles while leaving any stragglers unconscious.

"Emma?" Wolverine muttered. His feral anger began boiling hot and he thundered a growl, getting up and heading towards the blonde. Emma seemed to not hear him, having already pulled Scott out of captivity and talking to him quickly. Wolverine made his way closer as the two got into the car, the feral thundering low "Frost! What the hell are…"

A screech of tires and dust was the answer to the feral's rage as Emma speed away with Scott by her side. Wolverine blinked back, slightly stunned, and watched the vehicle go. Suddenly, he growled again, muttering "Typical."

A loud banging and commotion alerted the feral to turn around. Beast by then had managed to bust himself out of the still standing MRD vehicle, leaping out and using his freed feet to climb out from the back. Once his feet hit the ground, Beast tried messing with his cuffs in an aggravated growl but spotted Wolverine. He asked irritated "What happened?"

"Frost." Wolverine answered back, equally pissed. He un-sheathed his claws and helped Beast out of his retrains, adding darkly "She took off with Summers and I'm goin after her."

Wolverine paused for a moment as Beast wrung at his furry wrists and looked at the rest of the team still unconscious in the MRD vehicle. He nodded to them, adding more gently "Ya check on the others."

"And the Sentinels?" Beast questioned. Wolverine continued walking over to a free MRD truck and opened the driver's door. The feral replied gruffly, "They were launched from this facility, so maybe they can be called back."

The feral smirked when seeing an officer hunched over in the driver's seat, drooling on the steering wheel. Wolverine easily tossed him out with one arm throw and began to climb into the vehicle. He looked to Beast, sighing and added "See what ya can do, Hank."

xxx xxxx xxx

Wanda gazed callously from the balcony as her father pretended to be the savior of Genosha. Her eyes drifted from each destroyed building and towards her father 'turning' the last of the Sentinels to his control. Her ears listened to the sounds of weeping children as mothers tried to comfort them. Her nose smelled the thick smoke as it rose above the still crackling flames. Each sight, sound, smell, gave only more reasons for the disgust in her gut to grow.

Wanda heard her brother approaching from behind and chose not to acknowledge his presence. Pietro appeared to still be humbled and quiet; walking up next to her and watching the scenes down below. Wanda saw many of the mutant civilians cheer for her father was Magneto hovered in the sky. It took much willpower not to throw up. Wanda bowed her head and noticed her brother look over at her.

"Cheer up, sis, the humans were gonna attack us sooner or later anyway." Pietro spoke in a semi-lighthearted tone. Wanda shot her eyes angrily to him, retorting icily "You don't know that."

"Just because Kelly got cold feet, doesn't mean others would." Pietro argued; his tone changing with hers. The white haired man looked back out to his father, stating "Father and I just took out the guesswork."

Wanda let out a short bitter laugh. She looked over to the frowning Pietro, stating tiredly "Father and you?"

Wanda's rage bubbled up inside and she looked away, hissing darkly "You mean nothing to him."

Pietro smirked and leaned in towards her, teasing "Do I detect a small bit of jealousy?"

"No." Wanda stated bluntly. Pietro stopped in his playful banter as Wanda's expression grew cold and the woman added quietly "Because I cannot be jealous for a love that is not there."

Pietro gave her a questioning look. He retorted, "He cares for us, Wanda."

Wanda's eyes lit up with a fire Pietro had never seen in his twin before. She shook her head, tears threatening to form and she hissed "He only cares about himself."

Pietro surprisingly softened and tried to reach for her, but was interrupted by Magneto calling out "Wanda."

Pietro looked to see Wanda turn, hiding the emotions under a blank mask as Magneto drifted down between them. The king looked to his oldest daughter, instructing "Once the Sentinels have cleared the way, be ready to transport our armies."

"Why don't you give that job to Pietro?" Wanda replied coldly. She walked away from the stunned Magneto and headed towards the Throne Room. Pietro gave his father a reassuring nod, answering for his sister "Yeah dad, I'll take of it."

Magneto ignored his son and called out, "Wanda."

The Scarlett Witch stopped in her stride, her gaze steady and forward. She refused to look back at him. Magneto could be heard walking forward, saying "You've stood by my side for this long, don't abandon me now…"

"Abandoned?!" Wanda suddenly hissed. Her voice startled both mutants; never had Wanda sounded so angry. The rage was equal in her eyes and Wanda faced them to spit back, "You speak of abandonment as if you know the word! But the only meaning of abandonment you know of is the kind that you cause!"

Wanda's raged eyes glowered darker and her hands clenched to fists. She added coldly "That and pain!"

"Wanda! You got some nerve…" Pietro spat back hotly at his twin; taking a step forward. However, Magneto held him back by raising his hand. The old king looked towards his daughter sternly, retorting icily "I do what is best for mutant kind. You are free to disagree with my choices but…"

Magneto's gaze softened. He lowered his hand and reached it out to Wanda, "You're the only one I can count on, Wanda."

Wanda's lips formed into a sad smile. Her eyes glistened and she shook her head, crying quietly "Not this time, father."

Pietro recognized his twin's expression and frowned darkly. He asked low "What did you do, Wanda?"

Wanda looked to him and half laughed, waving her hand outward to the sky. She replied victoriously "I freed Senator Kelly and alerted Director Fury of your plans hours ago."

Magneto's face morphed into pure rage. Pietro's expression was also pretty close and Wanda wanted to laugh again. It was insane but…she felt giddy at the looks on their faces. It meant she was doing something right. Pietro stepped towards her menacingly, gritting out "Why!"

"Because this has to stop!" Wanda snapped; her voice turning back to anger. Her hands threw out to the chaos below, tears falling from her cheeks. Wanda cried out louder "All of this has to stop!"

"It cannot be stopped!" Magneto shouted enraged. He strode up to her until his face was inches from hers. Magneto shouted louder "There will always be a way against us and them!"

Wanda stared at him with blank eyes; silent. Slowly her face moved to his and she dared to say the words that had been growing within her heart all these months.

"Then consider me one of them." Wanda stated low. And with that, she turned away from her father…forever. Surprisingly, she did not feel the broken heart or anguish she assumed would come; though Wanda knew it might come later. But….now…at this moment…Wanda felt only one thing. Free.

xxx xxxx xxx

"Daddy, when are ya coming home?" Emily's gently voice asked softly from the end of Wolverine's com-link. The feral stiffened at the thought; fighting the impulse to race towards her right then. He sighed heavily; the feral's graveled voice answering tenderly "Really soon, darlin. I promise."

Wolverine listened as Emily became quite on the other line. He knew that he should be focusing on tracking Scott and Emma, but the hell with formalities. Logan had just wanted to make sure Emily was still okay. Seeming to sense the awkward air, Emily teased quietly "We're going to have to get a new living room…"

Wolverine smirked. He replied dryly "Twice in one year's gotta be a new record."

"Huh?" Emily's sweet voice answered back confused. The feral partly chuckled, stating "I'll tell ya later, Half-pint."

Wolverine's tone became somber again and he asked gently "Ya doin okay with Gumbo?"

"Yeah, he's teaching me poker." Emily replied. Her voice hinted a smirk, the child adding "Apparently he knows a few tricks to beat Bobby and Forge."

"Ya mean cheatin." Wolverine grunted out. Emily faintly giggled at his remark and again the feral's knuckles tightened around the steering wheel to keep from racing towards her. Sometimes it just didn't pay to be a superhero. Hell, if it did, Wolverine would have quite this damn job the day he found Emily.

The feral sighed heavily. Wolverine scratched the back of his neck, easing into the seat. His graveled voice muttered gently "I just want ya safe, Half-pint."

Wolverine shifted in the seat, wishing he could see his daughter's face. The feral added, "Ya understand that, right?"

"Yes, daddy." Emily replied softly. The little girl's tone shifted and she added gently "I love you."

Wolverine softened at the unusually tender tone of Emily's voice. The feral sat up, replying tenderly back "I love ya more, Lil' Half-pint."

Emily was quiet for a minute, but it was the kind of quiet Logan knew well; soft and gentle. Finally Wolverine managed to ask Emily to give back the phone to Gambit. Once the Cajun was on the phone, he asked protectively "Ya out of the city?"

"Oui." Remy replied, a hint of his devil may care attitude filtering through the phone. Wolverine grunted, asking gruffly "What about Tildie and her family?"

"Dey wit us." Remy answered; the feral overhearing the sound of girl's giggles as apparently Tildie's mother was telling them a joke to ease their woes. Wolverine listened, then stated protectively "Keep em' safe, Remy."

"Remy will, Logan." Gambit replied wholeheartedly. Another faint ring came from the com-link and Wolverine let the Cajun go, switching to the other channel.

"Logan." Beast's voice came out from the call. Wolverine mentally shifted gears, asking gruffly "Hank, any luck in recallin those Sentinels?"

"None, I'm afraid. And I seriously doubt that there will be." Beast sighed back. Wolverine overheard the sizzle and spark of machinery over the furry mutant's words. A few electrical equipment sparked in the background as Beast added frustrated "Someone took this place apart."

Wolverine curse and gave a low growl in his throat. He shook his head, ordering gruffly "All right, secure some MRD choppers and stand by until Magneto makes his move."

"Will do." Beast answered stiffly. Wolverine cut off communication with that and focused back on tracking his elusive prey. The feral sniffed in deeply; tilting his head to the side. The rushing sounds of cars buzzed in the distance from the highway and the pungent odor of burning fuels hinted the air. However, Wolverine took another breath in, pin-pointing on one particular burning of oil. A red convertible sports car, which held a telepath woman, and a one eyed mutant who blessedly had used too much cologne this morning. Wolverine honed in on that scent and pressed the pedal to the metal. He was going to get some answers. Even if he had to go back to being the best at what he did.

xxx xxxx xxx

Emma was stoic as she sped through the gates of the Inner Circles mansion. Scott had remained silent most of the drive, either from relief of finding Jean, or simply because he questioned her motives. Sadly, she really didn't care at this point. Emma had spent half of her lifetime searching for the Phoenix. She knew the demonic creature like on old friend; as a detective would an elusive serial killer. Emma had not made it this close only to have the plan unravel because of Sebastian's lust for power or Scott's undying devotion for Jean. Even her attachments had to be put on hold. Emma had to become as her namesake; the White Queen.

Emma pushed her remaining thoughts aside as she got out of the vehicle and roughly slammed the door shut. She breathed in slowly, feeling the diamond slither up her chest and arms, walking slowly towards the mansion. It was not long before her elegant form was engulfed in thick shining diamond.

"Wait…what are you doing?" Cyclops questioned from behind. He hurried up next to her, adding "I thought you couldn't use your telepathy in that form."

"I can't, but they'll drop us in the doorway otherwise." Emma retorted bluntly. She quickly ran up the staircase to the backdoor and held up her hand for Scott to stop behind her. Emma pressed her ear to the door, listening as the sounds of Jean's whimpering and struggling through the doorway. The White Queen saw Cyclops' jaw ridge tight; his visor gleaming dark red. Intelligently, Emma backed away. She moved just in time as Cyclops pressed a finger to his visor and an explosion of lasers busted through the doorway. The wood crumbled apart like paper and Emma smirked at the stunned look upon the Inner Circle's face. Selene's expression was the first to grow cold and the woman seethed "I knew she would betray us…"

"As I always knew you were quite the bitch, darling." Emma smarted in a sing song voice. Selene's face lit up with new heights of rage. The raven haired women clenched her fists, forming a soft black aurora, and threw it at the X-men duo. Cyclops by then had barreled into the room and easily took out the psychic shadow with a blast of his laser. Another one of the Inner Circle came near but Cyclops merely sucker punched him in the jaw. The mutant telepath fell instantly with a pained grunt.

However, Cyclops turned at the sound of Emma's pained sound and looked to see the telepath face down on the marble floor; an Inner Circle member coming in for the kill. Cyclops reacted quickly, sending a large blast of laser straight into the man's chest, and the telepath soon collided to the wall with a sickening crunch. Cyclops pivoted around at the sound of Sebastian coming near; attempting the same action upon the leader. However, surprisingly, Sebastian appeared unharmed; even beginning to glow a peculiar red. It took only seconds before Sebastian used that saved energy and shot back Cyclops power right back at him.

Cyclops body was flung back and he cried out as his forehead roughly grazed the altar, a tickle of blood splattering from the impact. However, the mutant only had eyes on the beautiful redhead unconscious on the table. Ignoring the now roaring pain in his head, Scott weakly climbed up towards Jean.

"Leland, pin him down." Sebastian ordered coldly. The Inner Circle member did as he was told and soon Scott felt his body being dragged away from Jean. The X-man cursed, fighting, dragging himself so he could reach out for Jean…but to no avail. Soon Scott was dragged to the floor and a crushing invisible weight began pushing against his back. By then Emma had regained her footing and she quickly used her own mental powers against Leland; sending the overweight man plummeting to the floor. Her cold eyes turned towards Selene but the raven haired woman smiled wickedly, dancingly a hand over Scott's cheek.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Emma dear." Selene stated in a mocking sing song voice. Emma stopped cold. Selene's lips lifted to a dark smile.

"Even if we can't beat you, Emma, we can block you." Selene stated coldly. She dangled her hand down closer to Scott's face, ordering coldly "Now return to your diamond form."

"Or you'll do what?" Emma spat back challengingly. Selene's dark eyes sparkled with wickedness and she gently picked up Scott's face. The White Queen winced as Cyclops cried out in pain from the black oozing fog surrounding his head. Selene mocked a kiss onto the man's cheek, hissing darkly "Or I'll drain every last ounce of his precious life."

Emma glowered but slowly lowered her hands; doing as she was told. When Scott cried out again in pain from the black oozing telepathy, Emma stated firmly "Selena, let him go."

Selene's dark smile widen, and like a cat playing with a mouse, petted Scott's face lovingly as she pulled more from his mind. She again kissed him, relishing in the pain. Emma's cold expression faltered and she quietly pleaded "Please."

Selene scoffed at her; turning her wicked eyes in her direction. After eyeing the now docile White Queen, the woman dropped the X-man and released her mental hold on him. Selene scoffed again, looking Emma up and down. She hissed "Pathetic."

Selene stepped aside and Emma quickly knelt down next to Cyclops. She tried to ease his mental pain with a few fingers to his temple. Selene watched her, adding "You're affection for this X-man and the others have ruined you, Emma."

Emma looked up to her, retorting firmly "This has nothing to do with them and everything to do with the mistake your about to make…"

Emma gently helped Cyclops to his feet and looked towards Selene. Her expression turned desperate and she conveyed "You have no idea the power you're about to unleash!"

"You have to listen to her…we've seen the future." Cyclops coughed in agreement; steadying himself and letting go of Emma. Selene laughed wickedly at him.

"Listen to her?" Selene mocked. She shook her head, laughing again, adding "You have no idea who she is, do you?"

"Selene, don't." Emma threatened coldly. Cyclops gave both women a confused look. Selene slithered her way towards him, explaining "The explosion that destroyed your mansion….that put your mentor in a coma…that took your precious Jean from you…"

Selene waved a hand towards Emma, presenting her like a piece of art. She finished "It was all compliments of Emma Frost."

Cyclops skin paled and his expression flip flopped between shock and rage. Emma bowed her head down. Selene wickedly smiled, enjoying the humiliation, explaining further "Emma assured us that she could extract Jean after eliminating the threat of Xavier and his X-men…."

Selene looked to the sullen Emma, adding sing song "But she was wrong."

"Your girlfriend sensed the psychic attack and tried to save you all. Emma's miscalculation cost us the Phoenix, so she had to use the X-men to find her again." Lenard interjected. Selene snickered with her fellow Inner Circle member, adding "That's why she took Xavier's body from the mansion and placed him upon the shores of Genosha. To earn a place on your team by…discovering…him for you."

Selene then turned cruel and added patronizingly "We just never figured the White Queen could fall in love with a bastard child and her doting family."

Silence reigned for ten agonizing minutes after Selene's dramatic speech. Emma still had her head bowed and Cyclops was glaring at her. Finally he questioned, "Emma?"

"Scott, I had no choice." Emma quietly whispered. Her head tilted up to reveal sorrowful eyes and Emma urged "The Phoenix force must be stopped!"

"You lied to me…" Cyclops whispered. His gaze hardened and he added with a raised voice "You lied to all of us."

"No." Emma retorted. Her gaze softened and she whispered "Not everything I said was a lie."

"Tell that to Emily." Scott spat back hatefully. He halfway regretted his words as the look that appeared on Emma's face. Selene then appeared from the shadows again; she had enough with the X-men family drama. She waved her hand, stating "So you see, Emma can't be trusted."

Emma glowered at her and Selene smiled wickedly. The raven haired women added hungrily "And if it were up to me…"

"It isn't, Selene." Sebastian interceded; choosing now to speak. He waved a hand for Lenard to removed Cyclops from Jean's side; turning away from the X-man struggling and fighting off the telepath to no avail. Sebastian looked to Emma, pointing out "Emma's impetuous actions aside, she will seek our forgiveness once she realizes the truth. The Phoenix needs us just as much as we need it."

"You have gone mad!" Emma snapped back at him. Selene scoffed, retorting "Says the traitor who fell in love with her quarry!"

Sebastian had to physically step in to keep Emma from attacked Selene; the growing tension interrupted by one of the Cuckoos shouting above Jean's struggling form "Open the door, Jean…"

Emma pivoted around and tried to reach for Jean but Sebastian held her back. The White Queen fought against him, exclaiming "No, Jean! Listen to me!"

Jean began crying, fighting and bucking against the Cuckoos; her eyes half opening to reveal a fiery inferno. The redhead then suddenly let out a short, bird-like, scream. Emma felt a chill run up her spine at the noise. She looked to Cyclops staring at Jean with concern and got his attention. Emma took another shove at Sebastian as Jean's screams grew louder and Emma shouted "Scott! Call for her!"

Cyclops snapped out of his trance and nodded, but Lenard clamped a hand over his mouth. Cyclops bucked against the heavy weight man, punching him in the gut and fighting to bite at the man's hand clamped on his face. The fighting all came to a stop as suddenly Jean's whole body arched back and the woman gave out a long, piecing, scream that evolved into an animalistic howl. The redhead suddenly became engulfed in flames and the Cuckoos reached out in unison to touch her. The blonde girls immediately screamed out in agony with Jean as the flames slithered up through their fingertips. Then…with a burst of blinding fiery light…the Phoenix was born.

"No." Emma whispered. Sebastian then released her and walked over to the flaming entity with a maddening smile. Emma slowly buckled to her knees and tears framed her face. She watched the Phoenix give out another ear shattering screech and flames engulf the room in a hellish glow. Emma then hauntingly whispered, "What have you done?"

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Wolverine drove along the highway and felt his stomach churn at the sight of the city. He watched as ten more Sentinels rained from the sky, the metallic monster shooting at the fleeing humans below, Magneto at the center of it all. Wolverine fought the urge to get out of the car as he saw a young boy, about Emily's age, crying hysterically in the backseat of a car as his parents sped past.

Wolverine felt his com-link buzz and pressed the button. Nightcrawler's voice filled in his ear, the young mutant saying horrified "Logan…are ju seeing zis?"

"Yeah, I see it." Wolverine grunted back. The feral looked to see a trio of helicarriers overhead with a familiar logo on the sides; the aircrafts taking fire upon the rampaging robots. Wolverine added gruffly "Shields joining the Mardies, but they don't stand a chance in hell either."

"By tha way, the Thing says he gits firs' dips on clobberin' Magneto shitless." Rogue replied; wearily attempting a joke. Wolverine ghosted a smirk at the comment; same old Ben. However, as more screams came from a collapsing building, the feral turned stoic.

"Ya guys just bring those Sentinels down somehow." Wolverine ordered. He swerved to avoid a falling Sentinel and dodged friendly fire from the helicarriors up above. Wolverine growled aggravated, adding "I'll be there when I can."

Wolverine did not wait for a reply before he cut off communication; barely avoiding a collision with a mountain of rubble. The feral managed to get back on a long stretch of road and pushed harder on the gas out of the city. Wolverine sniffed in deeply, his white clothed eyes narrowing to slits. He growled darkly "Come on, Frost….where are ya?"

The feral quickly picked up the strong cologne mixed with diesel and swerved towards the right. Wolverine had started to just see a very luxurious mansion out in the distance, when suddenly he felt a tingling at the back of his mind. He instantly blocked it out; Emma would have to try a lot harder than her mind games to put him down. Yet the pull became stronger and the feral soon saw the car's front view glass begin to fog up white.

"Logan…" An older gentlemen's voice weakly called out from the window. Wolverine slammed on his brakes as a half hologram view of Charles appeared in the seat beside him, nearly shouting an explicit.

"Charles!" Wolverine exclaimed instead. The feral turned towards the Professor and saw the older man was fading in and out of existence, his face straining as Charles tried desperately to stay in contact. Noticing this, Wolverine urged "Charles, what is it?!"

"Logan, you have to trust…E..a" Charles called out; his 'physical' body fizzling abruptly out of existence before reappearing again. Wolverine shook his head, replying "Wait, say it again? I can't understand you!"

"I said you mus…Emma…" Charles urged. Wolverine could have sworn the older man almost cursed when seeing the feral was still not getting it. Charles astroplane body shifted in the seat, saying louder, "Trust…Emm…"

Wolverine carefully watched the Professors lips form the words; thinking over the possibilities. When his brain came to the first conclusion, the feral's thick muscles instantly bulged and a dark snarl echoed in his throat. He gave Charles an enraged but understanding glare, growling "Trust Emma!"

However, it seemed Charles had not heard him, for the hologram like illusion disappeared and the white astroplane faded out of existence. Wolverine's anger dissipated slightly and he called out concerned "Charles?!"

The only answer to his call was the sound of crickets chirping lazily in the night; the fading sounds of gunfire and screams far off in the distance. Wolverine punched the steering wheel roughly, muttering several obscenities and leaned back in the driver's seat. He swept a single hand over his masked face, growling "Trust Emma…."

Wolverine could not believe it. Trust her! Trust that backstabbing, cold hearted, bitch! Instantly the feral could feel his inner animal roaring a very loud proclamation of hell no. 'It' was reasoning that he should leave Scott and Emma to their fates, race back to Emily, hold her in his arms and rip apart anyone who dared come within ten feet of his little girl. Yet, Charles had been insistent…no…begging of those two words. And the Professor had not steered him wrong so far.

Wolverine felt his inner self fighting with the animal side, but surprisingly he started the car engine. Though, as he pressed the gas pedal, he grunted irritably "Damn it, Chuck."

xxx xxxx xxx

Emma grabbed at Scott and pulled him back; both barely keeping from being burnt alive by an explosion of flames erupting from the Cuckoo's Phoenix possessed circle. The girls cried out in a unified demonic screech as they gripped at their hair in pain, tossing in the air. Emma could see they were slipping out of control. All five of the young blondes were tearing at each other to get away from their now unified floating form of hell fire; the Phoenix fading in and out of form. Emma caught a glance at Scott reaching for Jean and tried to stop him; but pulled back when seeing the hell fire reaching out towards the man. As Scott suddenly dropped to the ground unconscious, she looked towards the awe stricken Sebastian with panicked eyes.

"Sebastian! The Phoenix is trying to return to Jean! They can't control it!" Emma shouted above the screaming girls. Sebastian's gaze hardened and he turned towards her with an arrogant smirk. He replied coldly "You're wrong."

Sebastian brazenly stepped forward towards the screaming creatures and shouted commandingly "Girls!"

The five Cuckoos stopped. They slowly formed back into a unified circle and the Phoenix reappeared once more. It casted its hell fire gaze upon the puny mortal and waited for its command. Sebastian smirked, than instructed "It's time to end this war. Crush the Sentinels….burn Genosha to the ground…"

Sebastian turned towards Emma, a sinister smile creeping up his lips. He finished darkly, "And destroy the X-men. Every. Last. One."

Emma's face morphed into one of pure panic and rage. Her mind threw out any rational thought and she lunged for Sebastian, screaming "NO!"

Selene grabbed at her and pinned her in a hold; Sebastian oddly laughing at the woman's eyes fighting back enraged tears. Emma watched helplessly as the Phoenix gave out a loud screech in reply to its command; the hellish creature's wings expanding to full blaze. It then busted out from the rooftop, pulling out of the mansion as a caterpillar crawling from its cocoon, screeching out to the starlight as it took to the air. Emma had at least the mindset to wrap herself in diamond skin before the brick and tar began falling; pushing herself as a shield over Scott and Jean when Selene let go.

Emma coughed roughly as the dust settled among the fallen brick; managing to pull the rubble up and out of the way. She balked at the sight of the destruction and what was left of the hundred year old house; Emma looking to see Selene and Sebastian crawl out from the rubble. Her hands balled into fists and her teeth grinded together. Emma pointed at them, screaming enraged "You've doomed us all!"

Emma then released her diamond form and sent a painful psychic blow towards the weakened telepaths. Her rage alone was enough to fuel the blast to knock them out instantly. Emma didn't wait to see them fall; the woman crawling over the shattered plaster towards the still unconscious Scott. She gently pulled his face in her lap and made his face lean up. Emma kept her composure, urging "Scott! Scott, wake up!"

When he did not respond, Emma let out a single sob. Her voice began to break and her White Queen quietly pleaded "Please Scott…their going after the mansion…after Emily…"

Emma held his head up higher, fighting back the tears in her eyes. She begged, "Please…"

Emma leaned in, her fingers trying to brush at Scott's temple, when she felt her body freeze up. Emma gasped as her body was helplessly flung sideways and cried out as she was shoved up against a wall by an invisible force. She tried fighting but saw exposed pipes suddenly slither out from the damaged wall and wrap around her throat and wrists. Emma looked up to see Jean giving her a dangerously dark look, the redhead's ripped dress fluttering in the wind as she held up her single hand out towards Emma. The White Queen felt the pipes tighten around her throat as Jean threatened coldly "You'll pay for what you've done…."

"Jean, wait." Scott's voice called out. Jean's attention instantly averted and Emma was relieved to find the pipes loosen enough for her to breathe properly. She coughed and inhaled while Jean gave Scott a passionate hug; but Emma could feel their eyes glaring coldly at her. Scott's gaze was the most icy, he nodding towards her and stating "We'll deal with her later."

Scott turned to Jean and put both hands on her shoulders. He urged, "Right now, we have to stop the Phoenix."

"If she goes out there, nothing will keep it from returning to her!" Emma urged. The duo turned to her again and Jean questioned snappishly "And if it does, will that stop it?"

"Yes…for now." Emma replied quietly. Jean frowned at her ominous tone but Scott grabbed her attention by exclaiming firmly "No, that's not an option!"

"Scott, it chose me for a reason…" Jean replied; her tone a little gentler. She placed a soft hand on Scott's face, adding pointedly "I have to try."

Emma shifted in her restraint on the wall, and explained "Jean, you can't do this alone…"

Scott and Jean gave her both icy glares but Emma remained undeterred. She glared right back, stating firmly "She'll need my help."

Scott surprisingly pulled away from Jean and walked over to Emma. He leaned in his face close to Emma, stating low "You're not going anywhere near her."

Emma's expression then took on a new fire and she too leaned in inches from his face. Her grey eyes sparked wildly and she threatened low "And if she kills Emily….I'll be the nightmare that makes you think of hell as paradise."

The telepath's dangerous tone sent chills down even the seasoned X-men's backside. Scott pulled away and Jean laid a hand on his shoulder. She glared at Emma, demanding "What are you talking about?!"

"I saw you…Jean…the Phoenix….kill someone. A child." Emma's icy tone ominously explained. Her grey eyes appeared to glower right into Jean's soul; filled with hatred only a mother might have for their child's murderer. Emma leaned out more from the wall, hissing "You kill Emily simply to hurt us. To break us."

Jean outwardly flinched and backed behind Scott; the brunette shielding her. Emma sent her cold gaze to the X-men, stating "And after seeing what Charles showed us…you know I'm telling the truth, Scott."

Scott uneasily looked to Jean and then back to Emma. However, his gaze firmed and his shoulders steeled. He replied "I won't let that happen."

"We won't let that happen." Jean added; slipping her hand into Scotts. The two looked at each other, then at Emma, and slowly walked away.

Emma struggled and cursed to free herself from the pipes but to no avail. She half screamed out and tried calling for Scott and Jean as they disappeared but the duo gave no answer. Emma frustratingly slammed her head back onto the concrete wall and choked back a sob. Everything had come undone. All the planning, the lies, everything…was for nothing. Emma let a few tears shed down her face.

"Bloody hell…" Emma whispered in tears. She roughly shoved her restrained arms out and pushed repeatedly on the metal but again found it was no use. Emma sniffed back the tears, leaning her head back again and closed her eyes. She sighed defeated "As if my night couldn't get any worse…."

Then, from out of the darkness, a very low and dangerous feral growl oddly echoed in the night. Instead of freezing up, Emma surprisingly began to laugh bitterly. She leaned her head towards the enraged feral mutant hiding in the shadows, watching the muscled brute land down gracefully from a pile of rubble. Emma snorted back the tears, muttering sarcastically "We'll…speak of the devil, and he shall appear…."

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Magneto sat upon the shoulders of his once enemy and watched the humans crawl about in panic in their city. His ears became numb to the crying of terrified citizens and the shouts of orders from angry soldiers. Magneto could only see, hear, feel the sound of his new kingdom falling into place. Yes, some lives would be regrettably lost today. But, Wanda would soon see that her father was only burning to ash the old world so the new one could rise up in victory. Empires had to be torn down before a new one could be put in its place.

Magneto's thoughts of wisdom were interrupted by a loud demonic screech. He turned around and his eyes widen in horror to see a creature of pure fire flying towards him. The demon like being gave out another hellish scream and Magneto watched as the creature let out a river of flames towards the city. The flame leeched out like a plague, slipping in and out of buildings, streets and cars, exploding an entire block in bright flames. The fearful cries soon erupted into loud and anguished screams of pain; the smell of burning flesh rising to the sky. The Phoenix slowly let its fire fade away from the city block. A single long stretch of blackened ash was what was left in its wake. Then, for the briefest of seconds…the world went silent.

The Sentinel that Magneto was perched on was the first brave soul to speak. The idiotic robot dared to scan the five young blondes controlling the Phoenix and even dared to raise its hand up and boom "Mutants Detected. Orders: Enga…"

The robot was never allowed to finish his sentence. Magneto barely made it out of the way before the Phoenix sent a fireball; the Sentinel instantly igniting into a hellish flame. The old king cried out as the Sentinel barely moved and exploded into a million pieces. Magneto thankfully felt his son's breeze as Quicksilver slipped in and caught him mid-fall. The young man raced around the shrapnel whizzing by from the destroyed robot and gently carried his father to safety. Quicksilver raced over to a safe vacant lot and gently placed his father down.

"It's okay, Father." Quicksilver soothed. He held his father's hand to his chest, adding "I got you."

"Pietro…." Magneto whispered. His aged eyes looked up at the night sky ablaze in a hellish fire. For once in a very long time…Magneto was afraid. He looked to his soon, ordering weakly "Take me back to Genosha."

"What? You want to run?" Quicksilver replied perplexed. Magneto shook his head, wanting his son to understand. In a act unknown of him, he gripped his sons hand lovingly back.

"It's over. We've lost." Magneto whispered. The older man felt his eyes prick with tears as more anguished screams filled the sky and the smell of burning ash filled his nose. Magneto shook his head, whispering woefully "Everyone has lost."

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"Logan…" Emma said warily. Wolverine gave a low thunderous growl in return. Emma eyed the feral cautiously as he stalked closer, urging "Logan, you have to cut me loose…"

"You betrayed us." Wolverine savagely growled; his muscles bulging under his uniform. The telepath could literally feel the rage oozing from the feral mutant, sensing his teetering balance between control and chaos. Emma decided not to argue the point of 'betrayal' and instead replied in a steady voice, "I was…but now I'm trying to help you."

"No." Wolverine snarled. His hugely muscled frame stood inches from her and the feral leaned in towards her face. A soft metallic tink of metal sounded and Emma soon felt the Wolverine's claws inch towards her chin. He growled darkly, "You've done enough."

Emma instinctively enveloped into her diamond form upon the cool touch of Wolverines adamantium claws. She looked pleadingly into the feral's white clothed eyes, replying "Logan, please. Too much is at stake…."

Wolverine responded with another graveled snarl; his claws clinking against her diamond incrusted flesh. Yet, Emma pushed on, pleading urgently, "You have to trust me!"

"Trust you!?" Wolverine barked loudly. The feral slammed his free fist against the wall near her pinned body and Emma recoiled at the rage behind it; seeing a small indent in the brick. The feral pushed in close, flashing his canines in a menacing manner and he shouted enraged "How the hell am I supposed to know ta trust ya after everythin ya pulled!?"

"Because you're not the only one who loves her, Logan!" Emma shouted back, looking the feral straight in the eye. Wolverine clearly faltered at her bold statement and Emma could not hide the tears threatening to pour. Emma glared challengingly into Wolverine, adding "And if you don't trust me…we both lose what we hold most dear."

Wolverine stared at her for a moment; his claws slowly pulled away from her neck. Emma grew impatient with the feral's steady glower, finally snapping "Bloody hell….just shove your brutish mannerism up your ass for once and cut me loose!"

Wolverine blinked a few times, glared and then surprisingly used his claws to free Emma from the pipes. The telepath massaged her wrists as she gracefully landed back to the ground, letting her diamond form slip. Suddenly the feral grabbed her upper arm roughly, pulling her to him, and Emma stared into his narrowed clothed eyes. Wolverine growled low, his hair still a fraction on edge and he threatened, "We ain't done here, Frost."

"I know." Emma replied; her voice quiet and appeasing. Wolverine slowly let her go and Emma turned back to the city; a dark smirk on her face. She quipped "But for right now…I have a little birdie to catch."

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Jean flew over the city with horror settling deep in her gut; a hand rising to her mouth. A fourth of the city was laid to ash, the streets covered in blackened soot. Jean felt tears sting her eyes as sobbing and fearful cries littered the mostly silent streets. This thing…this monster…had done this. And it had been a part of her. She had to contain. God, Jean had to kill it.

A demonic screech turned Jean around full circle and her emerald eyes caught the sight of her fallen teammates; mostly bruised and soot covered but still alive. She gazed up in anger to see the Phoenix swoop down low, flying over the unconscious X-men, looking down at them like a predator examining its kill. Jean raised her hand, pushing a psychic wave of energy to get the demons attention and shouted "You want me back?"

Jean stretched out her arms wide, floating above the city laid in ruin, shouting louder "We'll, here I am!"

The Cuckoos inside the Phoenix gave out a unified scream in agony as the creature began tearing them apart mentally on the inside. They girls each grabbed at their heads, crying out for mercy as they screamed, finally unable to withstand the demons power. The Phoenix took over and began swooping down, blazing a trail straight for Jean. The redhead opened her arms wider, welcoming the beast back within her soul.

The Phoenix had just made it inches from Jean's chest before a big and large blast of Cyclops laser flashed into the sky; pelting against the creature's chest. The entity gave out a loud screech in pain and anger, backing off as Jean was tossed back. The redhead collided to the concrete, hissing as the cement scraped at her arms and maintained a semi graceful fall to the earth. She looked up to see Scott running towards her, and she exclaimed "Scott! What are you doing?!"

Scott stopped in the middle of the road, looking into her eyes and then back up at the Phoenix taking back to flight. Jean crawled up to her feet, shouting "Scott, stop! It'll kill you!"

Scott spared a glance to her and the world seemed to stop. Jean could see the desperation and pain behind his hidden optic view, as Scott added passionately "I'm not losing you again!"

Jean felt her eyes fill with tears and she shook her head, trying to get up. The Phoenix circled above overhead and Jean tried getting its attention but her knees buckled, sending her crashing back to the ashen street. She looked on as the monster from inside her barreled down towards the love her life; Scott a stoic man among a sea of chaos.

Out of nowhere, Emma appeared and stood in front of Scott, throwing her hands out to the side and lifting her head up in an elegant pose. The Phoenix slammed full force into her body, the Cuckoos falling aside with pained screams. Emma instantly felt as if her breath had been sucked out of her lungs. She could sense the creatures hot presence pour into her veins and thoughts; gasping out at the intensity and rage. At that moment Emma fought the urge to destroy everything within her pathway. She crumbled, holding herself and managed to pull into her diamond form. Despite her bravado, Emma let out a small cry out in pain; trembling as the creature inside her began trying to tear her apart.

"Emma…." Scott's voice called bewildered. Emma did not have the strength to look towards him, groaning out as the Phoenix mentally screeched out in rage in her mind. She fell to her knees, muttering weakly "Get Jean out of here, Scott…"

Emma gasped out in agony again, curling into herself more as the Phoenix's fire poured throughout her body. She trembled again, whispering in agony "I'm not sure how long…how long I can contain it."

"What are you going to do?" Scott asked; his voice filled with concern. Emma feel further to her knees, kissing the ground with her forehead and held back the scream in pain. She shook again, getting to her feet, answering weakly "I'm going…I'm going to try…to release it."

Emma briefly heard Wolverine approach and take Scott by the shoulders, shoving him back to Jean. She heard his gruff voice ordering, "Summers, she knows what she's doin! Now, let's go!"

Emma felt the Phoenix swirl inside her, giving a full burst of hot intense mental fire that caused her to cry out in agony; her diamond form chipping along her skin. She fell back to her knees, curling up into a ball, feeling the tears push past her diamond cheeks. Apparently her cry was enough to get Wolverine to turn around. She vaguely heard him call out "Frost?"

Emma felt the Phoenix screech louder into her mind, the creature giving another hot pulsating fire that made her scream and tremble uncontrollably. More diamond began breaking along her breast line. Emma fought the Phoenix to look up and see Wolverine coming for her, his anger gone and he called out louder "Emma!"

Emma focused on him, pushing herself to her feet and gritted her teeth upon another hot intensity that surged in her mind. She let the tears roll off her cheeks, staring into Wolverine and for once, the White Queen let her guard down. Emma stared into him, and sobbed "Forgive me…"

Wolverine face turned into alarm and he reached out for her but Emma opened her arms and released the Phoenix. She screamed as the fires burned at her skin, breaking away her diamond form into pieces. Emma stared up as the Phoenix took to the sky; soaring above her to the stars. She took great enjoyment watching the wretched creature give out one final screech in rage as it evaporated into nothing.

"Take that you bloody bastard…" Emma whispered; smiling behind her bleeding lips. Then her eyes rolled into the back of her head and the White Queen collapsed; feeling the muscled arms of Wolverine catch her fall.

xxx xxxx xxx

Emily looked out her passenger side window for what seemed the hundredth time in the past five minutes. Remy had apparently been given the call that everything was safe to return back to the mansion; he had even dropped off Tildie and her family back at their house. Yet Emily had come to know her surrogate uncle and something was up. He was still not smiling or giving his usual banter. His unusual silence was the most that bothered her.

Emily sighed quietly and was relieved to see the gates to the mansion come into view. She immediately saw her father in view on the dash, still in uniform with his mask down. Emily broke into a smile. The child barely waited for Remy to put the car into stop before clamming out the side and running full speed towards the feral.

"Daddy!" Emily exclaimed relived. Logan bent down on one knee and snatched up the child as soon as she was in reach. He hugged her close to his chest and kissed her forehead, burying his head into her soft raven hair as Emily's arms wrapped around his thick neck. Logan refused his tight grip on her, saying firmly "I ain't ever leavin ya again, Half-pint…."

The feral roughly kissed her forehead and held Emily closer, whispering lovingly "Never again, my Lil' Half-pint…"

Emily pulled her head close to his, and grinned sweetly. Her eyes sparkled and she retorted "Good."

Logan half chuckled at the child's words, and Emily smiled. She wiggled slightly though, saying "But you're kind of squishing…me…."

Emily stopped in her banter and Logan noticed her eyes widen at something. Realizing Hank was pulling Emma out on a stretcher, Logan tried shielding his daughter but the ten year old looked over his shoulder. Emily's eyes grew alarmed and she whispered "Emma?"

"Half-pint…listen…" Logan tried explaining. However, Emily had already tried pulling out of his grasp and the feral gently kept her in his arms. The child struggled against him, calling out concerned "Emma!"

"She's gonna be okay, Half-pint!" Logan tried soothing. But Emily gave him a glare, her eyes reddening with tears and she accused "She don't look okay!"

"You're just gonna have ta trust me on this, darlin." Logan replied; hiding his own mix emotions. Emily's redden eyes looked towards Emma's disappearing stretcher and then back at her muscled father. Her chin stiffened and she stated "I want to see her."

Logan appeared as if he was going to argue but Emily gazed up at him with big and tearful blue eyes. She whispered "Please, daddy."

Logan's heart stung at the tears slipping down his daughter's cheek and the smells coming from her little body. Though he still had reservations, the feral relented and gently picked his daughter up; carrying her towards the house.

xxx xxxx xxx

Wanda gently held Lorna close and gazed up at the once proud city of Genosha; a city now made up of shattered glass and broken steel. She saw some of the other citizens holding their families close; a mother comforting a daughter or a father holding their sons. No one spoke. They just listened to the silence. That is, until Magneto dared to break the sacred quiet.

"I've made mistakes, Wanda…" Magneto stated humbled. Wanda turned to him with sharp eyes, and let go of her sister. Lorna surprisingly gave just an equally hostile glare as many of the citizens. Magneto's aged eyes steeled and he added "But every action I've taken was for the good of mutant kind."

"I used to believe that, Father…but not anymore." Wanda replied coldly. She looked over at her twin, who still stood loyally by their father's side. Wanda softened slightly, saying "Pietro, you are welcome here…"

Wanda's cold gaze returned and she looked towards Magneto. She stated low, "But this is no longer our Father's Kingdom."

Pietro said nothing. He just turned his head and took a few steps closer to their father. Though Wanda still expected as much, the sting remained the same. She turned away, walking towards the broken city, hearing Magneto plead "Wanda…don't do this."

Wanda did not listen, continuing on her trek over the rubble. Magneto looked over to his youngest, saying softly "Lorna…"

"It's always been a war against us and them, Father…" Lorna replied; her gaze growing cold. She went to her sisters side, adding "We just have chosen opposite sides."

Magneto appeared visibly shaken by the fact his favorite was betraying him; the humbling look growing on his face. Wanda felt no pity for him, turning towards a glowering Blink. She nodded her head, hissing an order "Blink…."

Pietro and Magneto's eyes grew large and both threw out their hands. Pietro called out first, "Wanda, wait!"

However, Blink had already thrown out a double dose of her glowing teleporters and tossed them at the duo. Pietro never got to finish his plea before he was already transported half across the country with his father.

Wanda let out a steady breath, giving her sister an encouraging grin. They would rebuild the city; Genosha had more than enough money laid aside. It was the emotional bruises that would need a little more time to heal. Yet one thing was for certain. Wanda had never felt more free.

xxx xxxx xxx

Emily refused to leave Emma side even after Logan tried giving tough love and threatening punishment. Yet, despite everything Logan said, the obedient child could not be persuaded, begged or bargained with. Eventually, the feral simply placed her on his lap and waited for Emma to waken. It took seven days.

It happened during the time Logan had stepped out to get something for them to eat. Emily was sitting, finishing up a sketch she planned to present to Emma upon wakening, when the child saw movement out of the corner of her eye. The little girls head shot up as Emma gave out a soft moan; Emma's eyes fluttering open.

"Emma?" Emily whispered out quietly; setting her sketch aside. Emma half turned to her voice and her eyes opened completely. However, the telepath felt a sharp pain and held a few fingers to her temple; hissing under her breath. Emma stretched up, muttering sluggishly "Oh, bloody hell…"

Emily's lips spread out to a wide smile at the British woman's cursing and she shot up from the chair. She ran over, exclaiming "Aunt Emma!"

Emma braced herself for impact but Emily slowed down upon getting near; gently giving of her rare tender hugs. Emma softened, embracing the child back but cringed as another sharp pain stabbed at her head. Emily let her go, looking up eagerly and Emma asked "Where am I?"

"You're in the infirmary…" Emily explained in a soft tone; pulling herself onto the bed. Emma's eyebrow cocked up but then her demeanor changed to alarm. She sat up a little in the bed, exclaiming in a gasp, "The Phoenix!?"

"It's gone, Frost." Logan's graveled voice came out monotone. Emma shot her head towards his direction and felt her heart flutter nervously as he entered into the room. Both stared silently for a moment; Emma swearing her face felt flushed. She gently cleared her throat, asking quietly "And Jean?"

"Banged up, but okay." Logan answered back. Emily curiously looked at each adult; not sure if they were mad or sad with each other. Whatever it was, it was leaving quite an awkward pause in the room. Emily was about to ask what was bothering them, when suddenly Hank gently tapped on the doorway, asking politely "Logan?"

The feral turned, walking out to see what the blue furry doctor needed and Emma slowly let the breath she had been holding outward. Emily gave her a confused glance and Emma quickly hid the action by gently placing Emily's hair behind her ear. The little girl gave her a soft smile, asking quietly "You feel okay?"

Emma smirked and quipped dryly "Besides a horrible headache and feeling like a robot with all these wires…"

Emily giggled as Emma made a showing of grabbing the connected wires and dancing them comically, half throwing them down in exasperation. Emma felt a rare smile fall on her face and she petted Emily's cheek gently with her hand. She answered softly "I'm as well as to be expected, poppet."

Emily smile beamed at the return of the rare pet name; reaching out hug Emma again. The White Queen gladly accepted the embrace, holding the child near and dared to sneak a split second peck on top of her soft raven hair. It was then that Emma dared not regret a single decision she had made.

A cough from Logan was what forced Emma to let go of Emily. She slightly bowed her head when he entered back into the room. Of all the X-men, it seemed he was the one she couldn't get herself to look at. However, Emma did retain some of her dignity back when realizing Emily had not left her side and gently convinced the child to do as her father said when Logan prompted her to go upstairs to eat. Though, Emma slightly regretted that decision after Emily obeyed. Because now, it meant just her and Logan were in the room.

Their eyes met after Emily left. Emma stared deep into those haunting blue eyes and cast her head down when seeing the expression. They were angry. They were confused. They...were hurt. Emma could not bear to look at the last emotion. She had a good feeling Emily had not been told of her deeds; for her look had held only happiness. Emma was grateful of that. Now she just wished she could do the same for everyone else.

"You're an idiot, Emma." Logan stated gruffly; breaking the silence. Emma felt her heart sink at the emotion that filtered through his words. She bravely let her eyes look up into his, and Emma replied quietly "I know."

This time it was Logan who, after scowling her at, felt the urge to look away. Emma nearly cried when seeing him do so. She wanted to reach out, show Logan that horrendous things the Phoenix had done. Emma wanted to show him the fires, floods and death. She had only wanted to save lives, not ruin them. Emma wanted hold his hand and give him a glimpse into how this had started out as a mission but became so much more. She wanted to cry in his arms and confess the things she had kept hidden. Show him, beg him and plead to him for forgiveness. But in the end, Emma said nothing. What words could console the lies that had been told? If he killed her right then, Emma would not blame him.

Logan finally looked up and Emma cringed at the cold glare he gave her. The feral's broad shoulders stiffened and he crossed his arms. Logan stated gruffly "Here's the deal, Frost. Chucks convinced that having ya here has something ta do with the timeline already being changed for the better..."

Logan's frown creased to a glower and he snarled "So even if I wanted ta kick your ass to the curb, I got orders that ya ass is stayin here."

Emma nodded and casted her head down. Logan gave a gruff snort, sitting up and the telepath could see his muscles tensing. He glared down at her, his blue eyes piercing, and Logan added "But I can't risk ya pullin something again, so I got a few conditions…"

Logan motioned with his fingers, explaining gruffly "One, ya getting a bracelet on ya wrist that keeps ya from using ya powers on us."

Emma didn't ask if or when the time would come if she was allowed take the bracelet off. Frankly, she knew a life sentence of no powers was even generous to what she had risked. She waited for Logan to continue, seeing him continue to glare angrily, adding "Two, ya ain't going anywhere without at least two X-men present at all times."

Logan became quiet for a moment and looked away. He scratched the back of his neck, then muttered "And three….ya gonna continue teachin Emily…"

Emma looked up alarmed. She felt a grin slip up her face and she began to say relieved, "Thank you, Logan, I…"

Logan turned back to her roughly, and stated firm "I ain't the one whose lettin ya."

Emma shirked at his tone and relented on her grin. She looked away as Logan grunted, hearing him mutter "Chuck's orders."

Actually, it was officially 'older' Emily's orders but Logan kept that to himself. Apparently the older version of his daughter could be one hell raiser and had nearly went to a bezerker rage when finding out Logan was thinking of tearing them apart; demanding 'nicely' that Charles order him to keep Emma as her mentor. The feral for the life of him did not understand the bond between Emma and Emily. But, Emily had convinced Charles it was for the best so…orders were orders.

The room became silent again after Logan said his demands. Emma surprisingly believed she had gotten off easy; secretly wondering if anyone besides Hank, Scott, Jean and Logan knew the whole truth about what she had done. Emma doubted it. Many things could be smoothed over to explain her punishments and still keep a unified front for missions. We'll, mostly unified.

Emma sighed, no longer baring the silence. She asked quietly "Anything else?"

"Yeah." Logan replied in a short tone. Emma looked up to hear Logan growl and show his canines; stretching a finger to her. The feral glared darkly at her, snapping loud "One more slip up, Frost, and ya out!"

Emma held in her wounds at his gruff and cruel voice; nodding her head. She watched him stare at her, seeing his expression change and then Logan quickly walked out of the room. Emma waited till he was at the doorway, before she felt the urge to call for him. There was a small break in her voice as she called out pleadingly "Logan?"

The feral paused, his shoulders tensing. Then surprisingly, they slumped. Logan gave a sigh, not looking back at her and he said a little gently "If ya gonna ask what ya did with the Phoenix then….ya…I forgive ya."

Logan turned to look at a stunned Emma Frost and the hurt in his eyes grew. He shook his head, a rare break in his voice happening as well, "But I can't trust ya, Emma."

Emma didn't know if what he said was what stung the most or how he had said it. Either way, she casted her head down to hide the tears wanting to fall and listened as Logan exited to room without another word. An overwhelming sense of heartbreak filled her and Emma frustratingly could not explain why. A part of her knew that time would heal these wounds; they had for Rogue's doing as many of the others. It just was this part that hurt and what Emma hated the most.

Emma gingerly leaned back on her bed and sighed. We'll, for now it seemed the game was no longer afoot. Emma laughed bitterly to herself upon thinking that. Who would have imagined she would have missed the game of wits so much.

xxx xxxx xxx

Logan nodded to the other X-men as he walked towards Charles beside; his shoulders relaxing. What happened with Emma had to be done. Regardless of how he felt about the situation, good or bad, it was now up to Emma to prove she could be trusted once more. For how long it would take to be trusted again, we'll, that would be left to be unsaid.

Logan looked up at the quiet bamf noise of a familiar teleporter; seeing Emily glaring up at her furry brother. She let go of the smirking Kurt, continuing to give him an annoyed pout as her stomach settled back into place. She huffed, complaining "I said after three, Kurt! Not on three!"

"Ja?" Kurt teased. His tale flickered playfully and he motioned towards the door, adding "Vhy don't ve go again to make sure?"

Emily's eyes quickly widened and she high tailed it to Logan; wrapping her arms around his leg. She stuck out her tongue at Kurt, muttering "Brothers are annoying."

Logan chuckled quietly as Kurt grinned; gently picking up the child. He set her in her usual spot on his hip, teasing gruffly "And I bet he can say the same thing about ya, Half-pint."

"Hey!" Emily retorted indignant, pouting at her father. Both mutants chuckled again at the child's annoyance, Logan slipping a pinch to her arm. Emily half-squeaked, slapping him and Logan broke into a smile. The feral carried her over to the other X-men, the room falling into reverent silence at the sight of Charles' unconscious body. Logan glanced around the room, before turning to Charles and saying quietly "Okay, Chuck, we're all here."

Emily leaned her head against her father's large shoulders and watched with wide, fascinated, eyes as the room enveloped into a fog. In her wonder, Emily reached out at the pure whiteness, gently having her hand grabbed and pulled back by Logan. She watched as the friendly bald man from before came appearing in front of his sleeping body. Charles spared a glance around the room, his soft eyes stopping upon Emily in Logan's arms. Charles slowly gave a warm smile. Emily innocently smiled shyly back, not seeing the proud look on her father's face.

"Greetings, my X-men." Charles said warmly to the group. His gaze fell to Jean and another genuine smile fell on his face. Charles' tone softened as he added "Hello, Jean. I've missed you."

"I missed you too, Professor." Jean replied quietly; leaning into Scott's arm on her shoulder. Charles gaze slowly looked around the room again, and he said sincerely "It's truly wonderful to see all of you together once again…."

Logan smirked and scratched the back of his neck, asking "So ah, we're kind of wantin ta know…"

"Are we still all dead?" Emily bluntly asked. The X-men turned to the child with alarmed expressions, all calling out "Emily!"

"It's an honest question!" Emily defended back, the little girl poking up from her father's broad shoulders to glare at the group. Logan surprisingly chuckled at his child's banter; like father like daughter. The feral looked over to Charles to see the Professor smiling as well, and asked "I think Half-pint's askin..how'd we do?"

Charles nodded, explaining proudly "I congratulate everyone. We not only stopped the war, you saved the world from the Phoenix and prevented the rise of the Sentinels…"

Charles' expression relaxed and he stated confidently "Indeed, you've changed the course of the future."

The X-men slowly let out a collective breath and beamed at each other. It had been hell but, they had done it. They had truly done it. Charles warm smile returned and he instructed to the group kindly "So tonight…rest my X-men. Enjoy the peace while it lasts."

"We'll try out best, Chuck." Logan replied; watching as the fog disappeared. He gently turned his head towards Emily, a rare smile falling on his lips. The feral gently kissed her forehead, and pulled the child close. Logan sighed contently as a huge load seemed to lift off his shoulders. They had done it. Never had those words felt so good.

xxx xxxx xxx

Emily rubbed the sleep from her eyes and yawned quietly as she walked down the rest of the stairwell towards the kitchen. She faintly listened to the birds chirping their morning greetings and the far off sounds of construction finishing up the demolish living room from the weeks prior events. Yet the child heard none of it. Emily was only concentrated on getting breakfast; for despite a late night, her hunger alarm was still going off at seven am on the dot.

The little girl continued on her search for food and opened the kitchen swing door to find herself the only one up. She blinked back the morning sunlight, looking around for a certain muscled mutant and frowned when seeing he was also absent from the kitchen. Emily wasn't all that surprised. Logan had still been up after tucking her to bed. So, the child ventured on towards the fridge, grabbing the usual milk and bowl within reach. However, Emily frowned when remembering her cereal was on the top shelf.

Not wanting to wake anyone, the child decided against moving a chair, and climbed up onto the countertop instead. Emily was halfway up to stand and reach for the cereal when Logan suddenly appeared into the kitchen from the living room. The feral frowned at the child, his graveled voice asked "What do ya think ya doin?"

"Getting my breakfast." Emily replied back; continuing to climb towards the fridge. Logan gave a short grunt, walking over towards her. The feral gently grabbed her by the waist with one arm, slinging the child up and off the counter top. Logan snorted, stating dryly "It looks ta me like ya tryin ta break ya neck."

Emily's eyes narrowed as her feat turned up nothing and looked up at the feral who had caused her defeat then back up at the fridge. She huffed, crossing her arms and muttered "I hate bein short."

Logan smirked at his daughter and half-chuckled at her face. He teasingly ruffled her head and motioned to the table, replying "Just go sit, Lil' Half-pint."

Emily did as she was told, pulling up into her usual spot at the table. She watched as Logan's muscular form began attending to her breakfast, making coffee on the side. As he reached for the milk on the table, Logan again ruffled her hair, asking warmly "Did ya sleep okay, darlin?"

"Yep." Emily replied with a smile. Her eyes sparkled with mischief though and she teased off handedly "But it was kind of hard to sleep when someone kept checking on me last night."

Logan turned back to the counter, his face blank and he grunted at her banter. The feral rolled his shoulders, stating "That was Gumbo."

Emily's smile widened and her soft blue eyes danced wickedly. She teased, "Oh, it was?"

Logan gave out a nonthreatening growl at getting caught red handed and Emily's giggled filled up the small space. The feral smirked while having his back turned, silently thinking he would have to invent sneaker ways to check up on his daughter; Emily was apparently to good for the simple tricks he had used on students from the past. Yet, no one would expect anything less than form the daughter of the Wolverine.

Logan finished making breakfast for his daughter and himself, enjoying the quiet of just morning with just him and her. They had not been able to do this routine since over two weeks ago when everything had seemed to hit the fan all at once. Logan was a fool if he didn't admit he had missed this severely. The feral turned to place the food on the table, brushing a hand over Emily's head as he sat down beside her.

After a few minutes of eating, the little girl swallowed down her mouthful of cereal and looked up at the feral reading his newspaper. Her soft blue eyes stared at him intently, Emily suddenly proclaiming "I think I've almost decided where I want to go, daddy."

Logan paused, pushing the side of his paper down to raise an eyebrow towards the ten year old. Confused, he asked gently "Go where, darlin?"

Emily gave him a curious look, explaining "You promised that we'd go somewhere, just you and me."

Logan's eyebrows shot up as he remembered the previous conversation he had prior to his daughter some weeks ago. The feral cleared his throat, muttering "Oh…yeah…"

Logan set down his paper and gently petted the child's head. "So where ya want ta go, Half-pint?"

"Anywhere with you." Emily replied sweetly, her soft eyes gazing up at him. Logan softened at her sincere words and gently leaned down to kiss her on the head. Emily smiled, however her eyes danced wickedly again. She turned back to her cereal teasing dryly "But probably the Zoo, so I can compare you to the gorillas."

Logan frowned at her tease and Emily erupted into a giggle, coughing on her cereal. The feral gently patted her back, pulling her coffee cup nearer so she could drink. Logan gave a short grunt, stating teasingly "I ain't that hairy, darlin…."

"Sure you're not…" Emily replied, smiling. She looked up at him, giggling "All Canuckleheads just so happen to shed on the carpet."

Logan gave a low growl in play and the child giggled harder. The feral smirked, reaching out and pinching her elbow, to the squealing delight of the ten year old. Logan gently shushed her from squealing, he himself chuckling as he grabbed her up into a bear hug. Emily wiggled and giggled quietly under the restraint, filled with a joy she never believed she would ever feel again. Somehow the little girl managed to wiggle herself to face Logan. With a big smile, she kissed his cheek and wrapped her arms around him, saying sweetly "I love you, daddy."

Logan felt his heart soar and his muscled arms engulfed the child closer to him. If he had been told seven months ago that he would feel this happy, Logan would have laughed in your face. Seven months ago, if he had been told he would feel this much love for a single living soul, Logan would have called you a liar. He had been a loner for so long; doomed to walk this earth without any memories or anyone to hold. Yet now, here he was. A father; a man holding a precious little girl and blessed to call her his own. His daughter. His Emily. His Lil'Half-pint.

Logan continued to hold his daughter in the embrace and tenderly whispered a single phrase that embodied everything and anything he wanted to say to his little girl. Gently putting his lips to her ear, he whispered tenderly "I love ya more, Lil' Half-pint."

In that second, everything felt as it should in the world. For one brief slot in time, all wrongs had been made right. Because it seemed fate had decided to give Logan and Emily something taken from both of them. It seemed they both finally had…a place to call home.



*ahem* Now, since that spontaneous shout of joy is over….

First, I would like to thank all readers who have reviewed/followed/favorited this story. Your compliments, and criticism, have really helped shape this series into what I hope is turning into something awesome. So, thanks. : )

Second, I am planning on taking most of the summer off from this series. Before anyone PANICS, I would like to explain why. My summer schedule this year is very jam packed and, even if I could write, I would most likely update every two months. That is unfair to you, so I decided to simply take a break and come back to publish the second book in August. (My finals this week alone set me back two weeks without writing and caused this late update.) I WILL HOWEVER be publishing one or two short story/one-shots in the 'Moments In Time' piece I have for this series during the break. I can't leave you completely stranded. Lol.

Finally, I hope you enjoyed this last chapter and the first book of my series. For any future updates just look on my webpage Huntress21 and look under UPDATES (Go figure. Haha) and COMING SOON. If you have any questions, leave them in the review or PM me. Again, thank you so much and have an awesome day!