Disclaimer: The X-Men characters, and all other recognizable characters are copyright to Marvel Entertainment Group. This work of FanFiction is not meant to infringe on that copyright or defame Marvel Comics or the X-Men and related characters in any way.
Copyright: No copying, distributing or editing of this material is permitted without the express permission of the creator, K-Nice, under United States copyright law. Toucha my stuff and I breaka you face!
Note: This is a prelude to the whole High Evolutionary attacks/Xavier leaves issues, which number I have completely forgotten.
The stifling heat of this office has never bothered me. I like it warm. As an educator, I find it potentiates the discomfort that accompanies most visits to the headmaster's office. As a reclusive genius, I feel as if I am suffering for my work. As a mobility-challenged individual, the stuffiness frees me from the weight of a blanket, keeping my unresponsive limbs warm without extra effort on my part.
I like that phrase, mobility challenged. Far better than the ones that coursed through my mind when the doctors told me I would never walk again. Gimp, half-man, freak, and invalid tended to dominate my thoughts then. But I've grown older, and enlarged my vocabulary a hundredfold. For instance, I'm a teacher, not a taskmaster, a leader, not a pusher. I'm a mourner, not a murderer.
Scott thought himself an orphan for most of his life. He was a grown man when he learned his father was still alive. All that time, I was the only father he knew, the only positive adult influence in his life. For all that power and influence, the most I could accomplish was the creation, not of a statesman or an educator, but dedicated warrior, willing to die for my Dream.
I can't help but sneer at myself when I say that. During those heady days in Israel--watching a people rebuild themselves in a new homeland, watching the fear and hatred slough off their minds, becoming hope and compassion--the Dream became my ideal. And over the years, like most ideals of this 20th century, like Israel itself, it has been tarnished, not the least of all by my own actions.
Onslaught was the regrettable consequence of my own hubris in trying to contain and control a man as strong as Magnus. The Nazi's couldn't do it with all the terrible weapons at their disposable. They only made him stronger, in fact, too strong even for my considerable skills. The same self-inflation that makes me think I can single-handedly change the course of human endeavor made it impossible to subdue his mind for long. That the byproduct of our Astral struggle tried to best us both and destroy the world is actually most fitting from a karmic point of view. The fact that he almost shreaded my students (not to mention every other hero on the planet) is a spectre that shall haunt me forever.
Of all of them, losing Scott was my worst fear. The Dream could suffer the loss of any or all of its soldiers, but I fear the we shall never recover from the loss of its avatar. After all my molding and proding, Scott embodied the Dream, heart and soul. His death is my last great failure. In the wake of his loss, I begin to question everything.
Humans and mutants living in harmony. It is a beautiful thought, conjuring up images of June Cleaver with green fur. Perhaps, though, it is too banal, too simple to expect harmony in this world. I sit in this office, with a scrapbook on my knees, running anguished fingers over faded photographs. I loved Gabrielle but she had her dreams and I had mine. I close my eyes and try to sense her half a world away. Is she experiencing the same doubts I feel now, as her soldiers wage war in the street with their not-so-distant relatives? Does she watch her young fall and her elderly cower without wondering if it is worth it after all? No. A casual touch of her familiar psyche and I can feel her resolve, a she-bear protecting her den with a ferocity I now envy.
Magnus and his mutant homeland seem to spit in the face of convention. As many stream to Genosha, looking for freedom from their oppression in the lands they were born in, I doubt they will find the mutant Marcus Garvey to be any more successful than the original. There is just as much hatred and fear there as anywhere else, even more with the islands history walking around in disgrace or jubilation. As always, Magnus' methods are flawed. Forcing them to accept us by threatening to obliterate them--that is no lasting solution. But he did it, he accomplished what none other could, not even myself--he became the first mutant ruler in the so-called free world. What grates at me is that he has succeeded yet again in producing something more tangile than ideals and dreams.
I can admit it now, in the comfort of my office. I am waking from my Dream. The reality of it all is, all peace comes from war. I haven't Magnus' cold fury or Gabrielle's firey faith. I have an illusion of peace as an ideal not a pratical reality of battle-scarred truces. I thought myself so heroic, championing my people as Martin Luther King Jr. did his. Like him, I preached a powerful sermon, augmented it with charisma and a little telepathy, and gained the respect of both my peers, my followers and my enemies. Unlike Dr. King, I got to come back from the dead to watch my greatest asset fall to a force of nature, devoured by a living philosophy.
Thirty years later, affirmative action is on its last legs and young black men still get shot down in the streets. The truce is fragile, a veneer of coexistance covering resentment and misunderstanding. I can scarcely imagine what sort of peace will visit the Middle East. They have been battling over that same ancestral home since Jacob and Esau. I look at Genosha, at the peace forged by Magnus' iron fist, and perhaps Exodus' waxing infleunce, and wonder if coexistance will win out after all.
How long would it take, just to accomplish that much here? How long will my students have to fight, to die, before the first mutant is allowed to join the Boy Scouts or the PTA? Or will we spend millenium defending some homeland, or even our own homes? Can anything of lasting value be acomplished from an exclusive institute in the suburbs by superpowered children in spandex?
Too many have died already. One too many. I can not sit by and watch them fall one by one to anonymous supervillian after supervillian. I have made them who and what they are, but I have no illusions of them needing me for anything other than moral support. Of course, without Scott, I can not be too sure of that. He was my golden boy, my shining example, part extension of my will, part rogue liutenant, my Jesse Jackson if you will. He believed in himself, in his team, in the Dream, and in me. He risked everything for a fraud, a fantasy and nothing, not even peaceful coexistance between human and mutantkind, was worth his precious life. I wasted a future politician or professor on a futile war that cannot be won no matter how many young soldiers I throw before the cannons.
I should have let them go. Jean and Scott should have been in Alaska, not Egypt. They should have been registering to vote and sitting at lunch counters and riding the Greyhound bus across state-lines. Bobby should be an accoutant, Warren, a businessman and Hank, a scientist. Peter should be a painter, Kurt should be a priest, Kitty should be a student at a real-life college. Rogue and Logan and Remy should go back to doing whatever it was they were doing before I sucked them in. I never bothered to find out what their dreams are. Ororo, my terrestial goddess, should be in Kenya accepting tribute from the faithful. They would do more for mutantkind dispersed among humanity, rather than secluded in my mansion.
When I taught them my Dream, I interwove a theme of self-defense and protection of others which has grown to encompass the whole of what we accomplish. I haven't had personal contact with a Beta-level mutant in over three years. I recruit the powerful and leave the terrified to be rescued later. I fight Bastion but not the playground bully. I will be more egalitarian with my activism among the Skrulls. They are my fresh slate, my clean start. I can not wipe away the years my X-Men have fought and send them out to live normal lives. It is too late for that. But I can take what I have learned to a new arena and begin new Dream, one I will not be rudely awakened from.
I have a Dream. That my students, my true sons and daughters will one day live in a world where they are judged, not by the content of their DNA, but the content of their character. If that day was now then my first-born son ( Scott, not David) would still be here to make me feel strong and wise as I abandon my family one more time in favor of a new one. Perhaps the Dream will live on in the others, but for me it has already perished in a blaze of crimson fire.
A sunset of golden rays filters into my office and across my desk, the last I shall probably see for a long time. It's light is cold and unforgiving as I reach for a blanket.