Family Reunion: Part 2
Standard disclaimers in part one.
Continuity wise...eh, screw it. It goes somewhere, and if there are any flubs, just pat me on the head and tell me to go back to sleep, kay?
Dedicated to Alicia -- who made me see the kind of happy future our boy could have, and made me want to write one too.
Yeah, this is it. I wasn't kidding -- it's a wall built out of pictures. That's the entire life span of the X-Men you see before you. See, it's like a tree -- its got rings, the further you get from the center, the younger the pictures are. There -- that one. That's the first. The Professor, Hank, Dad, Mom, Bobby and Warren. Just spiral out and eventually you'll find all the different incarnations and off-shoots -- X-Factor, Nathan and Domino with X-Force, Gen X, Excalibur, XSE, even the charity one, X-Fund. That's last year's X-Fund Raiser. Rogue ran the $15 kiss stand, Ororo did the tornado tunnel, and Logan did arm wrestling.
Of course no one beat him. Well, there was the five year-old with pigtails. He let her use two hands. And it helped that she was Jubilee's daughter.
See, there's the first wedding -- my parents. On the mansion, years before the war, when the west wing had a swimming pool instead of a cemetery. This place has had a lot of different incarnations -- kinda like the X-Men. The mansion was rebuilt at least five times before it got destroyed by Apocalypse -- after the war ended, and things had come back together enough, they built this place.
It's circular, for defense. No one weak side. The walls are all adamantium -- probably cost a fortune, but hell, the messiah has sources. The underground levels are for Hank's lab and the hospital, top floor is the Danger Room. Ten floors in all -- 450 rooms, 75 of which are bedroom and apartment suites. After Apocalypse, a lot of high-level mutants needed a lot of long-term medical care. When it was built, a lot of X-Men and former X-Men came here to recover from their injuries. It used to be a fully operative hospital, complete with a psi-ward for telepathic damage. Dr. Reyes and Hank were really busy for a long time handling a lot of surgical cases, and we had probably at any given time about five "healing" mutants who took care of a lot of would-be fatal stuff.
Nowadays, the hospital is pretty much a clinic -- there's a big gynecology/obstetrics ward, and the psi-ward, and that's about it. Next year they're going to break ground on a real mutant hospital about ten miles from here, and we're going to turn this place back into a regular house. Well, as regular as it'll get.
It was safety in numbers back then. Even with a fortress like this, when civilization breaks down, everybody's at risk.
They say that in the year after the war there were a lot of babies born. And a lot of abortions, too.
It took me years to figure it all out, but I had an idea -- I lived through that war, too.
No, I can't tell you what it was like. I've been trying to remember, and I can't make it sound as real as it felt. Maybe that's just how war is.
I know I made it seem like the world was saved and voila! happiness reigns. Yeah, things are better now, good even. Lots of people have gotten married and had kids and moved on. Apocalypse is dead -- the Askani'son won. But it changed the world.
When I was little, I used to go play on the west lawn, by the pool. They still call it the west lawn, my parents or Logan or Rogue, but it's the cemetery now. And it's pretty big.
Well, there's Magnus, for one. He died early.
And the Professor, of course. He died first.
And Bobby Drake. And Alex Summers -- my uncle. I don't remember him.
And Bishop. And Moira MacTaggert. Elisabeth Braddock-Worthington -- you can see her over here, holding Angel's hand. Angelo Espinoza. Tabitha Smith. Emma Frost. Mystique. Kurt Wagner. Meggan Braddock. Fred Dukes. No, we don't have a picture of him.
What, you think that alliances weren't made out of this war? That enemies of enemies didn't become friends? They did. Some, anyway.
Amelia Vogt. Vertigo. Princess Lilandra, and her Gladiator. And Monet St. Croix. Jimmy Proudstar. Nate Grey. Yeah, he does.
Ororo Munroe. There, the one with white hair, on that picture to your left.
Penance. The red one.
And for a long time, there were a lot of gravestones up that were just somber guesses, like Remy's, and Pete Wisdom and Kitty's, and Jonothan Starsmore's, and Rahne Sinclair's. Some people took a long time to get home.
But we were talking about weddings, weren't we?
After my parents' wedding, there weren't that many, even before the war. And after, there were a few, but none here, on this ground, until Nate and Dom's. Here -- if I were taller, I could point it out better.
Yeah, it is beautiful, isn't it?
Yeah, that's me -- so what if I was the shortest groomsman? I think I look good. Well, okay, I look better in the one to the right -- anybody looks better with Theresa Cassidy on their arm. Yeah, I guess it does look a little lopsided, four groomsmen, one groomswoman and two bridesmaids. But Domino's like that -- she's got no blood family, I don't think (but I'm not sure), and she's careful about who she's close to. Maybe Nathan knows her real name.
Sam was the best man -- he's the one standing with my mother. Everyone was a little surprised when Dom picked her as the maid of honor -- but I think some things happened in the war, some things that made a difference. It's not bad to have your mother-in-law as your maid of honor, is it? Like some voodoo bad luck thing?
Well, so far, it's been pretty good luck. She's like that. Good luck.
Sam and Mom walked down together, and Dad and Theresa, then me and my brother by ourselves. They let me be the one with Terry in the picture through -- at the time, I had the biggest crush on her. No, I am NOT blushing.
Well, maybe a little.
Oh, they didn't have one. Not even a master of ceremonies or anything. They did the vows themselves, once in Askani, once in English, and then they did something that I think was like a telepathic version of vows -- all quiet and still, but not like silence. Telepaths aren't ever _silent_ like that. It's weird -- I dunno. But my mom, she busted into tears, and of course, that made my dad just about do the same -- with much more macho stiff-upper-lipness, though. Oh, if you asked him, he'd say it's the psi-link with Jean, that really, he was feeling her emotions so he couldn't help it, but I don't think so. He got misty all on his own.
No. I didn't.
Well, maybe a little.
Oh, yeah, all of 'em did. Not a dry-eyed telepath in the house. Well, under the sky at least. Yeah, right on this lawn. Who was here? Everyone.
Well, it's the truth. She _is_ huge. HUGE. Like twins or something. So big, her stretch marks BLEED. Yeah, seriously. Ready to go any day now. I'm not sure I don't know if Dad's ready to be called "Grandpa" yet. Sarah's only 10, for chrissakes.
Yeah, I think so. Its been long enough -- god knows the man deserves a little peace and happiness. Dom, too.
Oh, you noticed that too? See, told you. The overprotective gene. Security around here is ferocious under normal circumstances -- but the day Dom told Nate she was knocked up was the day this place got pinned down tighter than a virgin's skirt. Of course, no one but Nathan knew she was pregnant, so when he suddenly tripled security shifts and had random psi-signature scans at every floor, we all just kinda stared a lot and thought something bad was up. It was a whole conundrum, really, because he's acting like the Rapture was on its way and yet he's grinning like a big dork all the time.
Mom, of course, figured it out right away. "Huh," she said, and when Dad asked her "what?" she grinned at him, winked at me and said, "Look at Nathan. Ever seen that smile before?"
"Uh, no, I guess not..."
"I have," she had her I-know-a-secret-before-anyone-else-knows-it smile on. "In fact, I've seen it on your face. Three times."
Dad just stared at her, and she kept on smiling, and he kept on staring, until she started to laugh. Then, BAM! he smacks his forehead and starts to chuckle.
Why the surprise? Oh, why that. Well, he's the messiah. Even with Apocalypse dead and having saved the world, Nathan has a lot of enemies. I mean, the planet got tossed around like a salad. Sure, he saved the world -- at the very moment he did it, I think he had the thanks of the entire human race. But let five minutes go by and suddenly some people have already forgotten it, already don't care, already are out to get him for whatever reason -- the number one thing Nathan did besides saving the human race from oblivion was to make himself famous. Really, really famous. Even now, he's the most recognized face and name in the universe. No, I am not kidding.
And the child of the messiah holds a lot of clout. When Nathan explained it that way, nobody disagreed that the security measures were unwarranted. Hell, Domino fought the hardest -- she was outright pissed and just about broke Nathan's arm when he had a guard placed on her. Not just any guard, either: Wolverine.
No, I suppose he wouldn't be a natural choice. I mean, all things aside, maybe he is. But there's a lot of stuff between Nate and Logan that makes it strange. I mean, they've fought side by side hundreds of times, and Logan did save Nate's life -- and Nate did save Logan's, not to mention his wife's -- but they're never really comfortable around each other. They're too much alike.
But Logan's the best at what he does, and when you've got the child of the messiah to protect, you'd better have the best. Besides, Logan's got his own reasons to stick around home, and he and Dom get along. And anyhow, Logan's the only one who Dom can't kill for being protective. He just shrugs it off -- and she actually forgives him for it, these days.
Yeah, huge. Nathan plays Pilsbury Dough Girl with her, and believe you me, there's nothing funnier than seeing him hunch over, poke her enormous stomach, and then giggle, "hee hee." Of course, it's even funnier when she punches him in the stomach and giggles, "hee hee" as he doubles over. She calls it "keeping him on his toes;" I call it keeping him on his knees.
Any day now, I guess. Everybody's real interested to see what arrives -- and I mean everybody. They've gotten gifts from everywhere, from the other side of the world, just about every day. A courier arrives, usually dressed pretty nice, sometimes not so nice (I guess traveling thousands of miles will do that), and very humbly requests an audience with the Askani'son. It's like he's a king or something, the way they talk about him.
Well, security holds him for a psi-scan and all that, then, usually they're clean -- although, hoo-boy, when they're not its a big BIG thing and believe you me, it's ugly then Nathan and Dom go and chit chat with em for a while. All personable, friendly, puts 'em up for the night and gives 'em a good meal. The courier gives them gifts, presents for the unborn, with all sorts of banners and disclaimers as to who its from and all that, with lots of statements about respect and honor and glory and all that.
Nathan usually disarms their speech by laughing.
Oh, he doesn't mean any disrespect, but he really has a hard time being worshipped. Dom's even worse -- snorts and chuckles with each poetic phrase declaring the grandeur and magnificence of the Askani'son. "Pretty soon they'll be saying the sun shines out of your ass, Nate," she tells him.
It fits, I guess. They live in a steel castle, they're surrounded by guards and family. They're the new royalty.
And besides, after losing the first time, Nathan really deserved to win this one.
to be continued....
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