Notes and disclaimers on the first few parts
"I have my heroes, but no one knows their names They never
ask for recognition, they never wanted fame..."
~ Sons of the Desert - What I did Right
They were taking a hell of a lot on faith.
Faith was a tricky thing, and Rogue knew, deep in her
heart, that she had come to terms with losing it a long
time ago. She didn�t remember the exact date, or time, or
even the exact moment when her faith had shriveled up and
dried away, but she did remember the moment she had come to
realize that there was no faith inside of her.
There was darkness and there was pain. There had been fear,
when she had broken a hand from squeezing too hard, when
she had woken up with her face plastered against the
ceiling and had no idea how to get down. When she had
looked into Logan's eyes and seen actual fear.
It hadn't been a big change, but it was there, in her
heart, eating away.
She had borne it admirably, she supposed. She had allowed
Scott to talk to her about what these new mutations did and
how they could help her and how it would help her be a
better X-Men as a result. She allowed Storm to take her up
into the sky and teach her about the need for control, and
she had worked until she discovered gravity again and no
longer fell asleep with ropes tied to her hands for fear
she would float up and smack against the wall again.
She had even managed to retain her friendship with Logan.
It had been the hardest, and oddly, the easiest thing to
do. He had promised to never be scared of her, and he held
her and whispered he was sorry but she never forgot the
look of fear.
Even now, she saw it.
With the look came doubt for her own future. If Logan
feared... then perhaps it really was over.
Hope, and faith, had died then.
Even now, as she watched Cordelia enter the room on shaky
legs, could smell her flustered and cooling body thanks to
Logan's inherited traits, she had to wonder exactly when it
had started to come back.
Because, she knew, there were taking a hell of a lot on
And if that was true... then perhaps it hadn't been so dead
Cordelia caught her eyes, and she only shrugged, walking to
a locker and opening it.
"This is for you."
Cordelia Chase looked, and blinked, and looked again,
rubbing at her eyes, and running tired hands through her
hair before shaking her head emphatically.
"You've got to be kidding."
Rogue only shook her head slightly, reaching to the side
and pulling out a duffel bag.
"Keep it in here until we need it. We won't change for the
trip but just in case it's a good idea to carry it around."
"I'm not one of you."
"You are now."
Cordelia looked tired, but Rogue felt just as exhausted,
and when Cordelia's hazel eyes met her brown ones, Rogue
knew she was through arguing.
There was simply no time. They had loitered, talked, bonded
"Fine," she finally said, crossing her arms, and shaking
her head, taking the leather suit that had been set aside
for her and folding it into the bag.
Rogue nodded and grabbed her own bag, slinging it over her
shoulder and heading to the doorway, when she suddenly
paused. "Is he okay?"
Cordelia's shoulder slumped slightly, but Rogue got a nod
out of her. "For now."
Rogue pursed her lips, and studied the woman, before
finally letting the curiosity get the better of her.
"So what the hell are you two? Friends or Lovers?"
Cordelia stiffened, and the sucking in of the breath, was
followed by a very audible sigh as she grabbed the bag and
turned, eyeing Rogue with such a tired expression.
"Friends," she clipped finally. "Nothing more."
"It didn't look like it."
"I don't give a rat's ass what it looked like," Cordelia
snapped, and then launched forward, moving away from Rogue
and past her.
Rogue's eyes narrowed and her hand lurched out, grabbing
Cordelia and making her pause.
"So why does it matter so much?"
Cordelia was trembling, and her body was hot under Rogue's
leather touch. Rogue was silent, watching, waiting, ever
the predator, ever the hunter, inherited by the mastermind,
by the beastman, by the woman with the incredibly strength,
all of whom still resided in vestiges of her brain.
They were all silent, watching, and waiting with her.
"Because to love him means death," Cordelia finally said,
eyes flashing as she tossed her short hair and glared into
Rogue's eyes. "Happy now? I sleep with him, he gets a
happy, he loses the soul and the world meets Angelus. Death
Incarnate. I'm in love with a demon. So we're friends.
Discussion closed. I had a vision, the world is ending.
Let's save it."
Cordelia shrugged her off and continued on her way to the
jet, and Rogue didn't stop her. Instead she found her hands
stealing around her own body, hugging herself with the
immense strength that had taken her weeks to try and
control and get used to.
In the silence that followed, it was Rogue's own form that
was trembling, and the tears that slipped, came from her
Cordelia took a breath and walked into the jet, making sure
to keep away from the vampire who sat by himself in the
Her throat ached from emotion, and her body was still not
quite recovered from the trauma and the pain. Her mind
felt... open some how, and feelings that were flitting over
her seemed alien and too tumultuous not to disorientate her
She shook herself, and finally opted to sink down into the
nearest chair, closing her eyes and holding a hand to her
head and taking a deep breath in.
"Vision Girl. You don't look so good."
Cordelia opened her eyes and the oddest sense of fury and
anger and bitterness and ... love... slid over her and she
blinked, turning and found exactly who she had seated
herself next to.
Logan just crossed his arms, and Cordelia took a breath,
trying to control whatever the hell it was that was
slipping over her.
"I'm going to ignore you," she muttered under her breath.
"Don't take it personally. I would ignore anyone right
That earned her a smile, but she didn't see it.
The vision. She needed to concentrate on talking about the
But the damn emotions-
There was too many.
"- Officials refuse to comment on the extent of the damage
done by looters to the downtown district, but Mayor Hahn
has said that if the rioting continues, the City of Los
Angeles will be put under a state of emergency. Police is
urging residents to please, stay in your homes."
The television image grew fuzzy for a moment and Gunn
frowned, turning up the volume as the reporter lost
contact, and then she was back, amidst the site of blazing
fires and shouts of anger and shots.
The image cut to a shot of the Police Press Agent, looking
concerned and annoyed and calm at the same time. Cameras
flashed off the dome of his bald forehead as he leaned
forward. "The riots over the mutant rights convention are
unneeded. We are all citizens. Again, we ask, please stay
in your homes. Mutants or humans, it doesn't matter. Any
civil unrest WILL be prosecuted."
"Sir! What about the eclipse!"
"Is it true mutants are biting people?"
"Are humans fighting back?"
Gunn closed his eyes and groaned, finally fed up. He
switched off the television, and the monitor winked out,
leaving him and his companion in complete silence, sitting
side by side on the couch.
Fred reached over, turning on the lamp, sliding her book in
her lap and casually turning a page - a little too casual,
in Gunn's opinion.
"I don't know."
Fred rubbed at her neck, grimacing as she brought her feet
up under her thighs to settle herself more comfortably,
wincing again at the crook of her neck.
"If we're going to stop this we need to figure out what
Lorne meant by First Night. But... I'm not... I wish Wesley
Gunn, who at the moment had been watching the line of her
shoulder to her jawbone, quite graceful, that was, let a
swell of irrational irritation slide over him. "Wesley.
Angel. Cordelia. Damn girl, it's almost as if you'd rather
be with anyone here but me."
Her eyes widened slightly and her head jerked to him. "No.
It's not that, Gunn. Wesley is better at the research.
Angel - he's my friend. And Cordelia is my friend and you-"
"Disconcert me." She gave a small shrug and then looked
back down at her pages, her hair tumbling forward with the
action. Absently she pulled the bang back behind her ear.
"I'm never sure where to place you."
A morose smile slid over him and he nodded, answering
dryly, "You're not exactly placeable yourself, girl."
"My name is Fred."
He just sighed, picking up another book and looking through
it absently. There was quiet from Fred's side of the couch,
and he took it as a cue not to talk, letting the
awkwardness between them that had been in residence ever
since he had impulsively kissed her die into companionable
Gunn used the time to think, to try to understand exactly
what had happened. Whatever Lorne meant about First Night,
it was starting. Outside the confines of the hotel was
chaos. An eclipse that no one had seen coming was indeed
coming, and it would cover the sun and Gunn had the
sneaking suspicion it would stay there, making this crazy
night seem even longer.
Riots between mutants and humans had started and gotten
violent and bloody, and demons had taken complete
advantage, roaming the streets, masquerading as mutants,
and adding to whatever evil they could.
He should have been out there. He should have been at
Anne's protecting his crew and instead he was here, hiding,
waiting, with a girl who barely tolerated him, even if he
did 'disconcert' her.
Protector his ass.
He took a breath, and looked again at the crazy Fred, who
had taken off her glasses and was again rubbing at the
crook in her neck.
"I need you."
He blinked, and replayed the words, and again they didn't
seem to make sense, the matter-of-fact way she said it,
with no breathy romantic sigh or hands clutched over her
heart making him simply stare stupidly. "Huh?"
"I need you," she repeated. "You make me feel safe. You
said before - about me preferring the others... I don't.
You make me feel safe. No one else does that but you. So...
there you go." And she gave a half smile and blushed
slightly and pulled on the glasses and turned back to her
books and Fred was herself again.
Gunn could only stare, an odd stirring in his heart making
him smile and the knowledge that the world was ending
dimming to slight drum as he cocked his head and stared at
Okay... so maybe there was some merit in this whole
protector gig. He could get used to it, if it got more
smiles and blushes like that outta her.
He paused, considering and finally he scooted over, gently
moving her, ignoring her surprised sound of protest and
kneading gently into her shoulders.
"We're gonna be up all night most likely, waiting for them
and trying to get this thing researched. We need to get
that crick out of your neck." He said it matter-of-factly,
with no room for argument. When she looked into his eyes
and he smiled, he knew she understood, because she smiled
back. Her gaze held his and her eyes closed as her head
leaned back against his shoulder.
And he held her, and he liked it.
Because he made her feel safe. Outside, the cries and panic
of a city in chaos continued to come closer, but Gunn felt
strangely able - not fearing, for the first time in a
Trouble in paradise.
Wesley watched with dimly concealed curiosity as Storm and
Remy argued heatedly in the corner. The emotion that came
off the Goddess in waves was more than he had ever seen in
her, and he found himself oddly fascinated by it, as Remy
grabbed her shoulders and she shrugged him off.
"She likes you. He hates that. He's not going and pissed."
Cordelia sank into the chair next to him, offering her
friend a tired smile before leaning her head on his
"How exactly do you know that?"
"I can... feel it. It's... weird."
His eyes narrowed and he grew concerned at the uneasiness
in her voice, was about to ask her about it when she moved
her head from his shoulder and stared at him.
"Yes,'" he said immediately.
"It's bad, Wesley," she said finally, her voice a hoarse
He was fighting within himself for the words to answer her,
she knew. Storm felt her insides tremor and she swallowed
and flickered a glance back to the Englishman who was
talking in heated whispers with Cordelia Chase.
"Save it, Remy," she spit, moving past him only to be held
in place with a hand on her elbow. Her dark eyes met the
fiery red ones with a defiant shrug of her shoulders and a
shake of her head, and the movement seemed to undo him,
because he swallowed and let her go, licking his lips.
"I handled things badly, mon ami. It was not like ... it
was different with you."
"No Remy it wasn't." Storm hitched in her breath. "You said
it meant nothing and I believed you. I told you that if you
valued our friendship we would keep it what it was... one
night. I believed you. I made myself believe you even when
His hands were back on hers and she swallowed, stepping
back, accidentally knocking her head on the low overhead in
the process. "You told me you loved me, Cherie."
Her cheeks turned into a blush and she swallowed, licking
her lips. "I know what I said, Remy."
"Because you don't love me, Remy," she snapped finally.
"You had one night of sex and now because you think Wesley
is getting a little too close you want to save your
investment." Her eyes blinked and they grew milky and he
saw it, and she cursed herself for the loss of control. "I
thought we were friends."
"Then it shouldn't matter."
He gazed at her, and finally the broad shoulders slunk down
and he took a breath, and he stepped back, away from her,
watching her the entire time. "It shouldn't, mon ami. Remy
does not want to care. But he does. There is fear."
"I see Angelus... and I see Rogue with a wound... I see
Logan dying... and I see me... but it doesn't... it doesn't
feel like me... and I'm... spurring him on... like... "
Cordelia's hands shook , and Wesley moved his eyes to
Angel, who was watching. He shook his head slightly and
Angel got the message.
He stayed put.
"It's us, Wesley. Us four. Something WE do triggers it. We
bring back Angelus... GOD Wesley. After all this time - all
the damn precautions and all the damn sacrifices if we let
"Hey," he immediately slid an arm around her, drawing her
close. "Cordelia, look at me. We have quite the impressive
track record, don't we? We'll figure this out and we'll
stop it. Just like we always do. I promise."
Cordelia let her breath out and she swallowed, processing
the pep talk. "Then why is there fear in you?"
He froze, his heart hammered as Cordelia looked deep into
How the bloody-
"Wesley you're the only one I've told because I don't want
Angel to panic. When the time comes I will tell him. Until
then keep your mouth shut and all that panic and paranoia
bottled up. Research something for me, when we get there...
Something... I keep... it's in my head - First Night. I
don't know what that means. But it should mean something."
Scott slid into the chair and he shouted some orders and
suddenly the plane jerked and Storm settled in beside him.
She was quiet, but he noticed Remy was not on the plane,
and neither was Charles Xavier when the jet took off.
Charles Xavier had no idea why he was attempting what for
seven years had never worked. He had no idea why he even
felt the inclination to try, but he could not simply stand
by and wait while the younger members of the team he
founded stepped into the virtual unknown.
He knew that someone had to stay with the school, and he
knew that as powerful as he was, controlling minds and
telepathy could only take him so far in battle. Oh yes, he
was strong, powerful, and thankful that it had not
corrupted him as it had corrupted others, but what had kept
him sane was the reality check.
It gave him the ability to trust his students. It did not
give him the ability to stop worrying.
He waited, studying the chamber that had always been little
to no help, and was once almost fatal, in his dealings with
his old friend, and he clenched his jaw, giving the Cajun
next to him a side long glance.
Remy LeBeau looked angry, and Charles did not blame him.
Remy was a man of action, who did not like to be left
behind, and that was exactly what had happened, at least in
Remy's eyes. Charles did not bother to explain that in a
situation where quick thinking and a one man army was
needed, Remy was the best candidate, being lean and strong
and a leader that the younger team members looked up to and
saw as their own, unorthodox and smart.
All Remy saw was Storm very likely involved with someone
else, disrupting his own revelations concerning the wind
Charles Xavier dismissed it. There were far more important
matters at hand.
"Wait out here," he said finally.
The Cajun nodded.
Charles wheeled forward, letting the security system that
housed Cerebro go through its procedure, granting him
access once it ascertained that he indeed, was Charles
The door opened and he took a breath, about to go forward
when steps running toward them distracted him, making his
head turn to regard Kitty, who seemed a trifle out of
breath, holding out the phone.
"It's for you, Professor."
Charles gave a small frown. "I'm busy Kitty, perhaps you
could take a message?"
"I don't think I should, Professor."
"Kitty, Leave 'em be!" Remy said, crossing his arms and
leaning against the wall. "Take a message."
Charles paused, and then looked up to finally see the face
of the very agitated Kitty. Taking a long breath, he waited
until the heartbeat that had swung out of control had
calmed somewhat, before leaning forward and plucking the
phone from her waiting fingers.
"This is Charles."
The delicate rasp was familiar enough, and Professor X
closed his eyes, meditating on it before opening and
answering calmly, "Hello, Erik. Perfect timing. I was just
going to try and pay you a visit."
"I was waiting, Old Friend. I never felt the pull, so I
thought I might speed things up."
Remy was standing upright and Kitty was right next to him,
both watching the conversation intently.
"Why do you persist in trying, Charles? Slowing what is
inevitable? You are hindering your fate, all of your
children's fate. Getting them stuck on a side that will be
"What makes you say that, Erik?" he asked, his voice almost
conversational. "Because you believe it to be so?"
"It is written in the stars, Charles. In the future. It is
"You never struck me as a superstitious man, Erik."
"And you were never the type to put your children in
needless harm. Pull them back, Charles. You cannot stop the
inevitable, and you are killing them. Give me one to
It took two deep, long breaths, both in and out, before
Charles was able to give his long lost friend a coherent
answer, "Erik if you hurt any of my students I will
dispense with the civilities."
"And do what? Kill me? Then you would be no better."
Charles swallowed, his hands clenching his chair.
There was silence, and Erik decided to fill it, his voice
now matter-of-fact. "The time for pleasantries is over,
Charles. We are dealing with the end, and with forces you
had no idea ever existed. I thank you kindly for your help,
Charles, in bringing three crucial elements to this plan.
The inevitable has started Charles, but I'm afraid your
part is ended. I have no need for you, nor your students.
As an old friend, for the memories, I leave you with one
warning, keep them out of my way. The First Night has
begun, Charles, as your students shall soon find out, as
they meet their hosts here in wonderful Los Angeles.
Regards, Charles. Have a pleasant evening."
The speech ended with a click, and Charles held the phone
to his ear, hoping he had misheard. "Erik! ERIK!"
He cursed silently, and slammed the phone down, immediately
looking up to Kitty. "Call the jet. Call them back, now.
Tell them now to touch down until we know what we're
"But they're almost there-"
"DO IT," he snapped and turned, wheeling into Cerebro,
letting the doors close behind him, shutting his students
out of his mind, and out of the room.
"Are we there yet?"
"Shut up, Logan," Scott snapped from the front.
Logan smirked and leaned his chin on his palm, once again
turning eyes on the young seer that sat beside him. She was
very, very still, and his smirk faded, as his eyes narrowed
Chick was in bad shape, and no one really seemed to notice
"Hey, Vision Girl. You okay?"
"Why the hell does everyone keep asking me that? Do I look
okay?" she snapped immediately, keeping her eyes closed.
"Fine. You look like shit. Feel better?"
"Tons," she said dryly. One eye opened precariously, and
she regarded him. "You're not as hairy up close. What's
with the 'do anyway? Stuck in the seventies much?"
The smirk faded away completely. One hand almost drifted
insecurely to his hair, but he stilled the urge with a
growl, as he gave her one long once over that had managed
to squelch a few bitches before.
She didn't even blink, so he added, "Right. And those
streaks are as natural as the breasts."
"The boobs are real, bub."
She thumped him once in a chest with a finger and then went
back to closing her eyes. "Now shut up. I'm trying to be as
still as possible."
Something told him it wasn't something she was very good
at. Immediately she shifted and groaned.
He ignored it, instead looking across the plane where Rogue
was seated next to tall dark and broody, who had his eyes
fixed on the chick seated next to him.
Logan licked his lips slightly, his eyes continuing to
watch as his former best friend, leaned back against her
seat, fingers pulling at the gloves, a sure sign of
insecurity, nervous agitation. He continued to stare,
watching as her mouth trembled, and her fingers absently
twirled a white strand of hair.
"What's the ETA?" Jean asked from the front, and Logan
harumphed slightly when Scott answered her patiently, when
all she had really asked was a different version of his
"About ten minutes."
The console in front of Storm beeped slightly, and Storm
leaned forward, answering it immediately.
"'Ro, tell Scott to turn back."
There was panic in the voice that he immediately recognized
as Kitty's and again there was scrambling, as he moved over
the barely moving Cordelia, letting his hand slip on her
knee in the process, before moving behind Ororo to watch
"Professor Charles said-"
Logan looked up, immediately focusing on Scott, because
Scott rarely, if ever, cursed, at least not in front of the
"What the hell?"
"Back in the seats! NOW!" Scott cried hoarsely, and
somewhere behind him, he heard Cordelia whimper and the jet
shook and he very nearly lost his footing when the damn
thing jerked completely.
"SCOTT!" he growled.
"LOGAN SIDDOWN!" Scott yelled. "We got company."
Panic and fear and desperation slid over her and the
feelings were so alien and consuming that Cordelia groaned
in protest, covering her ears with her hands in an effort
to keep it away from her.
But it continued to seep through her as the shaking
continued and the aching started and when the vision came
she was strapped tightly to her seat.
The myriad of images floated over her, and it was so
confusing as she felt the blood, the haze, watching as
Angelus bit into Rogue's neck, watching as Logan dangled
helplessly in the air, watching as Fred writhed and Wesley
cried out in pain and Gunn grew horns-
And in the present, about her, there was shouting and
shaking and the visions stopped and her eyes snapped open
and she found herself in yet another nightmare.
The jet was smoking and the feelings rushed over her as
there was a crash and her body lurched and strong arms
encased in denim slipped about her and hands touched and
DAMMIT THERE WAS THE FEELINGS AGAIN-
They consumed her, and she struggled against it, whimpering
against the onslaught.
"WHAT THE HELL IS SHOOTING AT US?"
She was pushed back and her eyes opened dimly to find the
cargo bay door open. The wind was frigid, but through the
murkiness of the panic and fury and fear that paralyzed her
body she was able to watch as Rogue held her own against
the winds, as Storm immediately moved to her side. Rogue
grabbed the top of the open doors and swung through, strong
legs connecting with something outside before the wind
sucked her out, taking Storm with her.
"LEAVE THEM THEY'RE FINE."
Logan growled, a deep rumbling that slid through her and
the feelings intensified and she closed her eyes, unable to
do anything but feel.
She heard Scott yell in concentration and the plane landed
with a jerk and a bump before she was almost jerked out of
her seat yet again by a jarring crash that splintered in
Angel grappled for his seatbelt, shaking out of it, as the
plane slid to a stop in the concrete parking lot.
He lurched forward, immediately moving toward Cordelia,
pushing Logan away from her, who was already scrambling to
the open cargo bay where Rogue and Storm had disappeared
He had never heard of being attacked in mid air before, and
the emergency landing had taken it's toll on the smoking
plane, he could see that clearly, as Scott cursed, moving
away from the sparking console, bringing Jean with him.
"Out! Now!" he ordered.
Angel crushed Cordelia to him and obeyed, moving toward the
opening with the others, jumping out and landing on the
hard cement, only to have his still heart heave within him
at the sight that was waiting for him.
Logan unsheathed his claws, and Scott immediately raised
his hand to the visor, as the rest of the team stumbled
out, all pausing when they saw what Angel had deemed as a
not good site.
At least two dozen mutants and... vampires were waiting for
them, surrounding the plane, the darkened parking lot
suddenly the perfect place for an ambush.
Angel pulled Cordelia closer to him, and she was still numb
with shock, because she did nothing, merely held her hands
to her ears and burrowed deeper into his clothing.
Above them, Rogue and Storm fought, the mid air collisions
loud enough to make Angel look up.
"Shit. Demons and mutants."
"Demons?" Jean immediately breathed, her hands clenched.
"I'm not dressed for this."
"Okay, one question, can we KILL the demons?" Logan rasped.
Angel nodded mutely.
"Oh-kay, Great. Only one quibble. Which ones are mutants
and which ones are demons?"
Wesley didn't have a chance to answer, before a blast that
came from one of the men advancing cut off any words he
could have spoken.
"Cordelia," he breathed, moving back, putting her against
the plane, shaking her roughly. "Open your eyes, come on!"
She swallowed, and shuddered, but her eyes obediently
opened, looking slightly glazed over. "I need you to
concentrate," he continued, and the shouting started, and
there was fighting around him. "Come on."
"I'm... fine..." she began. "Angel... there's feelings..."
her eyes widened. "ANGEL!"
He sniffed, and turned, barely catching the clawed hand the
came down on him. He growled, the vampire face in full
swing as he kicked up, smashing into the face of the mutant
the attacked him.
In the wake of the battle that ensued, he barely had time
to even look at the seer behind him, but the words she
spoke next were so incredibly clear.
"The First Night... There is chaos on the first night. It's
Melissa Flores aka Misty
You all know that I am a pacifist. So I am not interested in war in any way. But you know what? When the revolution comes, I will have to destroy you all. Not you Joey.
~Phoebe, The One with the Ride Along
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