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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30


Written by Valerie Jones
Last updated: 03/23/2007 01:26:56 AM

Chapter 2

Jean turned at the sound of the door sliding aside behind her. The hiss of the control room door was as familiar to her as her own image in the mirror. It had been a part of her life for almost as long. She turned to look, craning her head to see past the people that were crowded into the small room that day. She was both surprised and pleased to see the Governor step through.

The Governor of New York was a handsome woman in her early forties. She had been a surprising victor in the past gubernatorial race, not particularly because she was a woman, but because she was a mutant. Only the second to be elected to Governorship in the history of the United States. In the two years she had held the position, her popularity had swelled from the bare majority that had given her the job to an overwhelming seventy-six percent, according to the latest polls Jean had seen.

The Governor stopped to greet several in the room, more often than not with an enthusiastic hug that was part of the glowing charm that had won so many to her side. Eventually, she found her way to Jean, and the empty seat that Jean had saved for her. She dropped into the padded chair with a sigh and smile for her long-time friend.

"Hi, sugah."

"Hi, Rogue. Howís politics?"

Rogue chuckled. "Same as always, hon." She straightened in her chair to peer down into the danger room. "Ah donít see Cody."

There were currently six young men and women standing in the center of the cavernous metal room. They were gathered into a small knot of impatience as they waited for the two yet to arrive.

"He went to get Remi." Jean made room beside her place at the console for Brian to weasel his way in. Brian was ten, and, like all of the younger children, fascinated by the powers he, too, would eventually inherit. He stood on tiptoe to look down into the danger room. His red hair was buzzed short for the summer, and Jean resisted the impulse to run her hand across it.

Rogue was staring absently into space, her expression wistful. Jean didnít need to guess who she was thinking about. But before she could speak, Rogue turned to her, gaze still distant.

"Heís what, fifteen, now?" She nodded to herself. "Cody and Renee are sixteen, so thatís right."

Jean reached over to take her hand. "It must be hard."

Rogue came back to herself with a start. Then she sighed and squeezed Jeanís hand. "It is, sugah. Ah was fine Ďtil he started ta grow up." She smiled sheepishly. "Ah shouldnít complain. Ah knew what ah was gettiní when ah married him. Aní ah nevah thought ahíd keep the children." Her smile softened and she looked back down into the danger room. "Ah canít believe mah babies are growiní up."

Jean chuckled. "Seems like only yesterday, doesnít it? Can you believe Rachel asked for Excalibur? Sheís already packed for England."

"Sheís that sure sheíll get the slot, huh?" Rogue glanced slyly at Jean, who managed to meet her gaze squarely. The eldest Summers was well known for her brazen confidence. She and Remi were a matched pair, in that respect. Despite the difference in their ages, they managed to find a tremendous amount of trouble to get into. Not that Cody and Renee didnít help. Jean smiled. But the twins were a little more thoughtful of the consequences of their actions. Rogue had raised them well. It was another of those things that had made her such a success at the polls. A widow raising her children alone, who nonetheless had time to volunteer for hospitals and childrenís charities. She had won a tremendous amount of respect from the community before she ever began working on Governor Caldwellís campaign. Jean studied her friend. There was nothing left of the shy, insecure young girl who had first joined them. Nor even of the lonely, tortured young woman who had been so convinced that no one could love her. Jean could think of no better example of the success of the Dream.

A glowing doorway, tinged blue, opened below them. Several of the gathered kids turned to look, but no one was particularly alarmed. They had all practiced with Cody, and were used to him gating in and out around them, often in much closer quarters.

Two figures stepped out of the door, which then closed behind them soundlessly. They were of a height, and looked enough alike to be brothers. All those gathered knew that that wasnít exactly true, but that, too, they were used to. Jean heard Rogueís sharp intake and squeezed her hand in sympathy. They hadnít seen Remi for nearly a year. He had grown. And now, with his hair down below his shoulders and those eyes distinctively red on black, he looked so much like-- well, like himself. Jean kept her sigh to herself. Like Gambit.

Cody looked up at the control room and waved when he spotted Rogue. She raised her hand in return, with a tremulous smile. Of the twins, he much more resembled his mother. He had her open face and wide, green eyes, and, of course, red hair with the distinctive white stripe down the middle. Renee had the stripe too, but other than that, she was the image of her father. Even down to the eyes. She and Remi looked more like twins than she and Cody.

As they watched, Remi greeted both Renee and Rachel with hugs, and exchanged more masculine greetings with several of the other boys. Then, at a telepathic cue from Charles Xavier, all eight turned toward the high control room. Jean listened mentally as he relayed instructions to them. This would be their final training session at the school. Members of the various X-teams that needed to fill up their rosters would rate them, and collectively decide who would be placed where. Remi was something of an exception. Like the others, he was "graduating" in that there was nothing more for him to learn from Xavierís School for Gifted Youngsters. But he would not be joining one of the X-teams. He was the Imperial Prince Shiíar, and would have to return to his responsibilities there. Still, Jean was glad that he was taking part in this rather unusual graduation ceremony.

As Charles was finishing his instructions, the air in the danger room began to shimmer and coalesce. Jean didnít think anything of it until she felt stirrings of alarm from Charles. He hadnít started any of the programs yet. But within a second, the shimmer had solidified into a familiar face. Jeanís gut twisted. The Gamemaster often brought bad news, though it always served to warn them of approaching danger. She was surprised that he had appeared in the danger room with the kids rather than up here with them. Usually, he came to Charles directly.

"Jean, heís talkiní to the kids. Can ya turn up the volume?" Rogueís gaze was glued to the scene below. The Gamemaster was indeed, talking to the kids. More specifically, to Remi. Though she couldnít say why, Jean suddenly began to get a sickening feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach. She reached for the volume control, and as she did, she saw Remi exchange startled looks with the twins and Rachel. There was a very short discussion, much of which was telepathic, though she couldnít make out what they were talking about. They had long ago learned how to mask their conversations from their various telepathic parents. Still, whatever the topic was, it was an intense discussion. Then, just as Jeanís fingers lit on the volume lever, Remi raised his hands. A black nimbus grew out of them, swelling to surround all four.

Remi! What are you doing? Charlesí mental voice was livid with anger. He wasnít supposed to be traveling through time.

Remi didnít answer, and Charlesí voice stilled when Cody opened a gate within the nimbus. The edges of the two phenomena crackled against each other, spitting sparks. Cody and Remi exchanged nods, and all four hurried into the portal.

"Wait! Where are they going?" Rogue was on her feet, the first flush of fear in her face.

But there was no answer except for a violent hissing crash as the phenomena collapsed. Then stillness, as everyone stared at the place where they had so recently been.

Remi stared at the Gamemaster and tried to suppress a shiver. The strange, inscrutable entity always seemed to stare at him as if he were a particularly interesting bug beneath a magnifying glass. And maybe thatís just what he thought, Remi mused. Considering his part in Remiís own circumstances, maybe that wasnít so surprising. It still bothered him, though.

"This looks like trouble," Rachel murmured.

Donít it, though, Remi thought. The Gamemaster looked as perturbed as Remi had ever seen him. His projection solidified completely and turned to regard them.

"You must go back in time," he said without preamble.

"Scuse me?"

"Why?" Renee added over Remiís shoulder.

The Gamemaster ignored her, focused on Remi. "Can you feel the timewave?"

As if he were being compelled, Remi reached out with his mind into a dimension that most could only touch in a single plane. He didnít have to go far to find the black wave that rushed toward them. He had never felt a timewave before, but it was unmistakable-- cold, black and violent. Fear gripped him. Something, somewhere, had gone badly wrong.

"What happened?" he asked the Gamemaster.

"Nothing," the face replied. "But if you value the fate of your world, you will go."

Remi looked toward Rachel. She was three years older than he, a significant difference when you were fifteen and eighteen respectively. Without conscious thought, they both switched to telepathy, drawing Cody and Renee into the link with them.

Itís true, Remi told them. Thereís a timewave coming.

So whyís he telling us?

How should I know?

Because, silly, Remiís the only one who can travel through time.

Yeah, but wouldnít he go to the X-Men first? To Grandpa or Cyclops?

Well, maybe...

There isnít enough time for that. That wave is almost here.

So why didnít he warn us earlier?

Why does the Gamemaster do anything?

No-- itís because Remi only just got here. To Earth. He canít project off-planet. At least, I donít think he can. Can he?

Why are you looking at me?

So, do we trust him?

The rapid-fire conversation halted as the four stared at each other. The Gamemaster had made a pact with a man who would never exist, and he had always held to that. For what reasons, Remi could only guess. But the facts remained. Remi made his decision in an instant. He raised his hands and set loose the wild power inside him. A black nimbus formed around him. He stretched it outward, until it was large enough for all of them.

"Will this work?" he asked the Gamemaster. Normally, he could only move himself through time. But they had always wondered if Codyís gate could operate inside of that. It felt like it could, but they had never had the nerve to try it.

The Gamemaster seemed to understand the question and nodded. "Push as far back as you can," he added.


"There is no time to explain. Go now!"

Remi felt the wave looming over them. It churned with unguessable forces that would rip his time apart.

Cody! A gate! Now!

To where?


A blue doorway formed around them. Remi could feel the sharp jolt as their powers touched, interacted. It was a bit like sitting on the aft deck of a Shiíar battlecruiser, just above the engines. The vibrations felt like they would shake his teeth loose. He held grimly to his concentration.

Together, the four stepped into the doorway and Remi hurled them as far as he could into the timestream. And just as they lost all touch with the world they knew, Renee said in a quiet, forlorn voice, "We didnít say goodbye."


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