New Beginnings... Indeed
GUARDIANS AT THE GATES OF HELL - NEW BEGINNINGS
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X-Men Evolution: Starts off right around the series finale of X-Men Evolution.
This chapter includes spoilers from the X-Men Evolution episode of Ascension Part 2 (Season 4, Episode 9)
“Speech with telepathic undertone.
CHAPTER 1: NEW BEGINNINGS… INDEED
It was finally over.
Their recent ordeal…
He glanced at all those who had gathered.
So many of them had come.
While a select few… had decided against it.
He looked upon the faces of all those who had gathered. Some of them belonged with him.
While some… some who believed that they belonged with no one. And nowhere.
How wrong they were.
Professor Charles Francis Xavier let his eyes linger on each of their faces for a moment.
He started with his first two students.
Scott Summers and Jean Grey… his pride and joy. They had come so far.
Had it really been that long since he had taken in the young boy who had the capacity to blast holes through mountains? Or the young girl who had been driven into a coma by her ever-growing psychic powers.
Seemed as though it was only yesterday the two of them had entered his life, his home… his heart. Bringing happiness into a mansion so many years devoid of it.
His pride and joy. That was what they were to him.
As he stared at Jean a second longer, he resolved - no matter what the future brought.
Moving on - his eyes fell on Kurt and his stepsister Rogue.
Kurt - such a good and kind soul.
He noticed that his image inducer had been turned on. A large part of him wished the young man did not have to hide his true self from anyone. If only everyone could see - like him - what a truly wonderful person he was at heart.
Rogue. Headstrong, sometimes brash - someone, he had to admit he had had reservations about when she had first arrived at the mansion. Trying to fit in as part of his then growing family.
However, as months went by, he discovered that - even though, he considered himself one of the most powerful psychics on the planet… every now and then - even he… was susceptible to surprises.
Kitty. One of his smartest and brightest.
She smiled at him as his eyes fell on her - a gesture he returned almost immediately.
There was so much she had to offer to the world. So much he was certain she could… and would give.
His eyes then fell upon Lance. The leader of the Brotherhood. The… misfits - if they can even be called that any longer. Given their recent actions.
The young man smiled somewhat uneasily at him. He in return shot him a supportive smile. A smile he also conveyed to the rest of the Brotherhood.
Perhaps, they would never live under the same roof as him. And perhaps, they would never be a part of his X-Men. But, he had this… feeling - no, more of a certainty - that the Brotherhood were going to do just fine on their own.
He was thankful for that.
His eyes then settled on two of his oldest friends. Two people, who just happened to be among the first members of his family.
Ororo Monroe and Logan. The Weather Goddess… and the lone Wolverine.
One, who played the role of a mother to the young members of his ever-growing family, while the other played the role of a stern father.
Two people who were so very different from one another. Yet at the same time, two, who could be considered opposite sides of the same coin. And both with hearts of pure gold.
He couldn’t see himself, or his many charges triumphing over - much less surviving the many trials and tribulations that have been forced upon them within the last couple of years without the direction and wisdom that have been parted on them by his two dear friends.
Clear blue eyes scanned through the rest of the crowd…
And found themselves moving through the youthful faces of the current roster of his junior team… The New Mutants.
Tabitha… it was good - he mused - to have her back at the mansion. She brought so much life and happiness to certain members of the institute.
Then of course there were the rest of her team-mates such as Amara Aquilla - the young princess from Nova Rama. And Samuel Guthrie, the young man from Kentucky who he admitted had the potential - given his recent performance - to be a competent leader like Scott some day.
In fact, each member of the New Mutants - from all those who were present … to those he knew would be joining them soon enough - showed so much potential that… just the thought of being given the opportunity to impart all that he had learned and had been taught over the course of his long life to these very special young men and women… filled his ageing heart with insurmountable joy and happiness.
But, the students of the institute were not the only ones to raise such emotions within him.
Henry Hank McCoy - one of the newest and most popular (especially among the New Mutants) additions to the institute. It was ironic, he mused - that the very man who had once rejected his own mutation - had done everything within his powers to suppress it… now helped others in embracing their own mutation.
It was - he considered - remarkable in the end as to how some things turn out some times.
His eyes then fell upon his three guests - besides the members of the Brotherhood of course.
The winged mutant Warren Worthington III, former X-Men member Evan Daniels and the nearly immortal Nicholas Joseph Fury - current director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
He had a sneaking suspicion as to why the Angel of New York… as the media had dubbed the young multimillionaire - had come to the X-Mansion. He was however, willing to wait and see if the future of the X-Men indeed included the winged mutant or not.
Spyke - it was good to have young Mr Daniels back at the Xavier Institute. Even if it was for only an afternoon. He wished with all his heart that Evan would choose to stay back at the mansion. But, the young man - who was once a part of the X-Men, did have other responsibilities and obligations at the moment.
Nick Fury… on the other hand was there for a specific reason.
Unknown to the majority of the residents of the Xavier Institute - with the exception of Logan, a much younger Professor Charles Xavier along with a close… associate, had in fact met Colonel Nicholas Joseph Fury for the first time nearly thirty years earlier… during the Vietnam War.
Nick Fury had - in fact been one of the first of few people on the planet that Xavier had declared his mutant heritage to. A secret the old warhorse to this day keeps in his confidence.
After all the invaluable assistance Professor Xavier’s associate had offered at that time… assistance that saved so many soldiers and civilians alike, Fury could do no less.
They had had a lot to discuss back then. During the war and consequently - more than a few times afterwards.
The Professor guessed that - considering recent events, the time to once again sit down and discuss matters had arrived.
But that - he mused - could wait a little longer.
He had after all - as he took in the expectant faces of every one who had gathered - a few declarations to make.
Turning away slightly, he gathered his thoughts for a few seconds before finally starting.
“Thanks to you all, we have averted catastrophe. It was not without its price, however. But steel is forged through fire, and like it… we have been made stronger. We are prepared for what the future brings.”
He paused for the briefest of moments before finally turning to take in that he had each person riveted to his every word.
“I know this, because I have glimpsed it in the mind of Apocalypse.” He declared.
He gave everyone a few seconds to digest what he had just stated and then continued on.
“Many challenges still await us.” He affirmed with a nod. “But I have seen some who were our enemies become friends.”
Then, with his voice taking on a sombre tone, he added. “And with a heavy heart, I saw… the dearest of friends become the most terrible of enemies.”
Not wanting everybody to contemplate too much over his latest announcement, he swiftly added - this time in a much lighter tone. “I saw my X-Men grow and change.”
Shooting a slight smile in the direction of the Brotherhood members, he finished. “And of course, I saw that some people… never change.”
Scratching the side of his skull for a whole second while musing over what Professor Xavier had just stated, Todd Tolensky - also known as the Toad finally decided to ask a question - the answer to which had eluded him for an entirety of… a second as well - to his good friend the Blob.
“What’s he looking at us for?”
Fred Dukes - known also as The Blob didn’t answer Todd’s question. He in return simply rolled his eyes heavenwards.
He was… slightly stupid – he’ll admit that. But, even he wasn’t that stupid not to realise what the Professor had meant.
“But, one thing was clear,” Professor Xavier’s voice rang out – bringing both Toad and the Blob out of their musings. “That no matter what awaits us… terrible or wondrous… my X-Men will always be there. Ready.”
He paused one final time - drawing in the attention of everyone… before finally offering them a warm and genuine smile, and then finishing.
“And for that, I am proud.”
Letting out a breath of air, he then added. “But the future can wait… for today.” Smiling at his X-Men, he added, “Consider yourself officially on vacation for the next two weeks.” Taking in a deep breath, he asked. “So, how does Hawaii sound?”
More than a few cheers went up between members of the X-Men and The New Mutants while Pietro Maximoff of the Brotherhood scowled at the elderly man and asked. “Hey, what about us? We saved the world as well ya know?”
Xavier nodded. “I’m sure that… something could be arranged.” Shooting them a smile, he added, “after all, as you said… you did save the world.”
“Woohoo!” Toad yelled in delight. “We are going to Hawaii yo!”
But then he, along with Pietro, Fred and Wanda all turned to the elderly Professor expectantly. After all, they didn’t quite know if They were in fact going to Hawaii with the rest of the X-Men.
The Professor sighed in mock resignation, shrugged and said. “Sure. Why not?” Grinning as the overjoyed cheers went up, he added. “You deserve it. You All deserve it.” He finished that last part with a look directed at his own two teams.
“All right! Ve are going to Hawaii!” Kurt cheered. He turned to his step-sister Rogue and asked. “Isn’t that vonderful Rogue?”
In return, Rogue - not one to partake in things falling under the category of fun, well… what most other people considered fun anyways - scowled at the blue mutant.
Not disheartened in the slightest, Kurt asked her again - this time with just as much enthusiasm… and a nudge. “Vell, isn’t it?”
Seeing the corners of Rogue’s mouth twitching, he grinned and nudged her again. “Vell?”
The Goth’s face broke out into a small smile - a smile that disappeared as soon as it had appeared.
“Ah, ah, ah. I saw that.” Kurt mock chided her. “Now come on, out with it.”
Finding her brother’s enthusiasm almost infectious, Rogue finally let out a chuckle. “Yeah, it’s… wonderful.” She said nodding a few times.
Professor Xavier smiled at the two half-siblings. Their relationship had been especially strained by the events of the previous few months. He was glad to see that they were at least on the path to reconciling them.
“Alright, listen up.”
Everyone turned to the gruff yet commanding voice of the Wolverine. Once he was confident that he had the attention of all the “kids”, he continued on. “In celebration for saving the world, the Professor's prepared a large feast for you.”
Since none of the students who live at the Xavier institute had actually noticed anything of the sort, they shared glances with each other to see if anyone else had seen this feast Logan was talking about.
The Canadian smirked at the shrugs their questioning glances elicited and then finally elaborated. “The Professor hired some caterers who…” he glanced down at his wristwatch before finishing “… should be coming down in the next half hour.”
The Blob licked his lips.
“I want you all to go to the front of the mansion and let them in when they arrive. They’ll take care of setting up everything for you so you don’t have to worry about that.” Taking on a sterner tone, he added. “Now I want you all to behave out there in front.” Turning to the members of the Brotherhood, he added, “Especially you…” he trailed off for a second when he noticed one of the members missing. Frowning, he asked. “Wait… where the Blob go?”
A few chuckles - and a few fingers pointing towards the front of the mansion were the only response he received in return. He sighed and shook his head. “Should’ve guessed.” He muttered before looking up at the gathered assemblage, and finishing. “Alright now, SCRAM. All of you. Some of us adults have things to discuss.”
Most of those gathered were more than happy to oblige.
“Do not despair my friend,” Henry Hank the Beast McCoy stated as he followed the students to the front of the mansion. “I shall go along with them and make certain that they do not get into any mischief.” Then with an impish grin and a wink at a few of the more mischievous students, he added. “Well, not much… anyways.”
“Perhaps I should go with them… if only to keep an eye on Hank.” Storm stated offhandedly as she watched the blue-furred mutant exchange some witty banter with a few of the younger students - even as she, herself started following them in their stead.
What she did not take into consideration however was that even though Hank was a little further off - he would still be able to pick up on what she had just said with his enhanced hearing.
Thus, it came as a surprise to her when the blue-furred mutant turned around, bowed deeply in her direction and declared:
“Why Miss Monroe - you, my dear can keep your eye on me… for as long as you want!”
Straightening himself up, he shot a large toothy grin followed by a wink at the slightly flabbergasted weather goddess before turning and bounding away to join the younger mutants leaving Ororo with a clearly amused feral mutant.
“Hah! You gotta admit Ro!” Logan said amid fits of barely contained snickers as Professor Xavier himself failed from stopping a chuckle to escape his lips. “You walked right into that one.”
Embarrassed just a little - Ororo turned her head away slightly as a small smile and a blush lit up her beautiful face.
For the next few seconds - it seemed as though the weather goddess was actually indecisive as to whether she should still tag along with the younger mutants and their much-loved blue-furred tutor. But, then deciding with a shake of her head that she was being - well, silly… and that Hank had indeed been joking (hopefully) - she started in their direction.
“Are you… coming?” She asked when she noticed Xavier and Logan staying behind.
“We’ll join you shortly.” Xavier promised as Storm turned to notice Fury walking up to them.
With a shrug of his shoulder, Logan added - a mischievous twinkle clear in his eyes. “Plus, I think you’re more than enough to watch Hank for the both of us.” And with that, the feral mutant burst out into hilarity again.
Ororo frowned at her old friend. “Logan?” She called out.
And this time, the feral mutant paused as he clearly heard the warning tones in her voice.
Cocking her head to a side, she then asked him even as her eyes started turning completely white - and consequently, rumblings of thunder started up in the distance. “Do you know what happens to a wolverine that has been struck by lightning?”
Logan immediately raised his hands in defence. Clearing his throat, he added quickly. “Uh, yes ma’am.”
Ororo took in a deep breath, and then let it out in a sigh as she shook her head. “I’m not sure you do.”
Logan noticed the rumbling of thunder was in fact getting closer. A little too close (if someone were to ask him) for his own liking.
“Oh, I do… trust me.” He added once again. He really didn’t want to get struck by one of Ororo’s lightning. He remembered very well what that felt like the first time around - and subsequent times afterwards.
But in fact, it wasn’t the getting fried part he was worried about. His healing factor always took care of that.
He didn’t quite know why but electrocution, in fact, just the right amount of static charge… for some reason had this… weird habit - he had to admit - of making the hair on both sides of his head - stick out… as in, really stick out - and in opposite directions no less. Making them seem like… well… wolf ears.
For an entire day.
It was - well, rather annoying to say the least.
Ororo studied her friend closely as, in the skies above - two clouds brushed against each other - creating just enough friction to light up the sky with a single bolt of lightning and making her feral friend flinch as a result.
“Alright, both of you.” Professor Xavier stepped in - or rather, wheeled in as Storm’s eyes finally turned back to normal and Logan sighed in relief. “I really don’t want to have to send you both to detention.” Then, under his breath, he added. “You’re both too old for starters.”
“I dunno.” Stated Fury as he looked on from the sides. “Might be worth it.” With a shrug, he added. “If only to see Logan get his ass fried.”
“Enough.” Sighed Professor Xavier. Turning to Fury, he added. “Nick, please… don’t encourage them.” Turning back to Ororo, the Professor said. “Ororo, why don’t you go on ahead and watch over Han…” correcting himself swiftly, the Professor simply changed what he was about to say to: “th-the students.”
Unfortunately, the damage had been done as the elderly man found out what it was like to be Logan for a few seconds as Ororo glared down at him.
The coughs - which suspiciously sounded similar to snickers coming from Colonel Nick Fury - did not help matters as well.
“We, uh, we’ll be there in a few.” Professor Xavier affirmed with a smile (a forced one at that) at his old friend.
For an entirety of ten seconds - not one single person said anything.
Even the striking North American Jay that had somehow found itself on the Xavier grounds and had been poking the said grounds around the trio - looking for food - stopped, cocked its head and stared at the humans.
And then finally, Ororo took in a deep breath, nodded her head and said: “Fine.”
With that, she turned (amid internal “phews!” from both Logan and the Professor) and gracefully walked off towards the front of the mansion.
And the Blue Jay went back to looking for food.
Once she had disappeared after turning a corner - Fury turned to Logan and asked. “Didn’t she fry you once when she caught you spying on her - taking a dip in the lake?”
“I wasn’t spying on her?” Logan protested somewhat vehemently.
Fury gave him a look.
“I. Was. Not. Spying. On. Her.” Logan growled out.
“Hmm,” Professor Xavier mused loudly. “I’m not sure Logan. She had definitely sounded as though…”
“…uh, never mind.”
A short pause followed Logan sheathing his claws back into his arms.
A pause - that was finally broken with the old warhorse and Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. starting in a much more serious tone of voice. “Alright people.” Turning to Logan and the Professor, he added. “Time we got serious and talked about some pressing business.”
Xavier composed himself, took in a deep breath - and nodded. He then looked up to meet the eyes of his old friend.
Fury - not turning away, lowered his voice a little, and asked. “She here?”
“I have always been here.
It took every ounce of self-control and training both Logan and Fury had to not flinch - or give any indication that they had just heard a disembodied voice utter that very last statement - literally out of thin air.
“Really hate it when you do that!” Logan muttered looking around - trying to see if he could determine where the voice had come from - only to hear an amused and ethereal giggle in response.
Professor Xavier however, was the only one among them who did not look all that surprised.
“I thought I felt you. Somewhere… in the back of my mind.” He responded telepathically as he turned in the direction of the blue ocean - a smile lighting up his face.
In response, came, “I’m always around… watching over you.
The Professor’s smile became wider.
Logan followed the Professor’s gaze and turned in the direction of the ocean as well. Fury following suit.
The feral mutant sniffed the air. Trying to see if he could catch her scent.
But of course - it was fruitless… as always.
He could never tell when she was around. Especially… if she didn’t wish for him to know that particular fact.
One of the only beings on the planet who could do that to him.
They all looked on as… several yards away - grass crunched and gave way under unseen feet. And step-by-step… she neared them.
Even as the steps finally stopped - a foot in front of the Professor’s wheelchair - for a few seconds… there was nothing.
And then, slowly but surely, like a ghost… the figure of a girl - looking no older than Jean - started to materialise out of thin air.
“Beautiful.” The word escaped Fury’s lips even before he knew it.
Beside him, Logan - took in a deep breath and released it - affirming his agreement.
The near flawless facial features, the warm Bambi-brown eyes, small and oriental stature, full lips, raven black hair, and a skin tone… a skin tone that told of a mix of both African and Caucasian heritage and everything in between...
Coupled with the long flowing white robe she always wore - giving her an almost ethereal glow…
Yes. The feral Canadian had to admit. She truly was a sight to behold. Each and every time he saw her.
They watched as the newcomer leaned forward slightly, reached out with her hands and took both of Professor Xavier’s hands in her own.
Smiling at him once, she raised his hands to her lips, and gently kissed them on the back… each one at a time before raising them higher and placing them both against the centre of her temple.
Closing her eyes, she seemed to utter what could only have been prayers in an unknown language impossible for any human tongue to articulate - a language long dead as Logan and Fury looked on in silence and respect.
Lowering the Professor’s hands finally from her temple - without letting go of them immediately, she took in a few deep breaths… before finally opening her eyes - and smiling a most beautiful smile at the Professor who, himself - could do no less than return it with an affectionate smile of his own.
“It has been so long… little brother.
Fury and Logan, the two old war heroes heard her greet the wheelchair bound man. From the right, from the left - from in front of them, from behind them - from above them and from the grounds themselves - they heard her voice greet him.
They even heard it in their mind. And felt this inexplicably warm feeling swell within them.
“It is… very good… to see you as well… Kim!” Returned Charles Xavier with a delighted smile.To Be Continued…
Welcome to Guardians at the Gates of Hell: New Beginnings
. It’s actually a “RETCON PUNCHED” version of a story I previously wrote and posted over at FF.net. I have been a member of this site for a long time but never really posted anything. Thought it was about time I started on it. I hope you all enjoy this new start to a brand new story. Just as much as I’m going to enjoy writing it.
Oh, and on a closing note: Kim... not an Original Character. More on her in the next chapter.
Like it, hate it... do let me know.
Till next time - take care and Happy Reading.