N.B. This story takes place after the events of Marvel’s Eve of Destruction and X-Treme X-Men # 1-3.
Night had fallen and with it, cold rain. Among the trees of the graveyard, branches swayed like chanting worshippers. The graveyard was small, and belonged to a wealthy British family, the Braddocks. For generations, the deceased members of this family had been buried there, and today, one more had joined them.
There is a man. He stands at the side of a new grave; the earth beneath his feet is still fresh. He does not feel the rain, does not register anything around him except the headstone in front of him. Warren Worthington III is grieving, for this grave holds his former love, Elisabeth Braddock. They were lovers, both passionate about life and each other, they had much in common, they both came from wealthy families, and they were both mutants. They had fought side by side for years as X-Men, and now Warren realises he will never see her again.
Warren has lost many things in his life. A mutant gifted with natural wings, he soared above the cities of the world but he was grounded, his wings destroyed by Marauders, by mercenaries. Then he almost lost his soul to an ancient evil, one who used him to become a veritable Angel of Death. And now, his love, Psylocke, has been claimed by death.
Why? Why did it have to be you? Warren thought. I push you away, out of jealousy for a rookie, and then you… pass on. Tears well up in his eyes, mixing with the rainwater that streams over his face. If only I could have been there… to tell you how much I loved you.
The thoughts of the X-Man known as Angel become silent again as he stands, keeping a quiet vigil over the resting-place of a passionate warrior.
Westchester County, New York
Graymalkin Drive. The sign proclaims the building to be Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Professor Charles Francis Xavier founded the school to educate the “gifted”; those born with extraordinary powers, those called mutants. He founded the X-Men to combat threats to mutants and to humans. Beneath the leafy glades of the school grounds, there is a safehouse of advanced technology, mostly scavenged from extra-terrestrial or extra-dimensional encounters. It serves as the headquarters and base of operations of Xavier’s X-Men.
Within the hanger bay stands two modified Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird jets. A ramp extends from one, the plane still ticking and cooling after a long cross-Atlantic flight. It is a sad day for them all, as they buried another of their kin. The occupants of the plane disembark silently, Kurt Wagner, Logan, Bobby Drake, Remy LeBeau, Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Hank McCoy, and Xavier himself.
Psylocke’s funeral took place on Muir Island, a small settlement off the coast of Scotland. Kurt Wagner, or Nightcrawler, performed the ceremony, his demonic appearance an interesting counterpoint to his duty as a priest in training. Elisabeth’s family attended, as did many of her friends. They knew of her “heritage” and did not object to her former team-mates being there.
Logan went straight to his room and changed out of the suit he had worn for most of the day, and returned wearing his usual apparel of jeans and shirt. The remaining X-Men changed also, trying to find comfort in their old surroundings. When they had all gathered in the living room, Logan spoke;
“Well, don’t know about you, but I need a drink. I’m headin’ to Harry’s Hideaway. Any takers?” His voice was low and gruff and he tried to control the hurt in his voice. Psylocke had been close to Logan, a dear friend and one he would most certainly mourn.
“Logan, how can you think of that after today?” The woman who replied was Jean Grey, a redhead whose hair matched her fiery personality.
“Hey, we all grieve the way we want to, I’d rather ‘member Betsy as she was, and I don’t think she would appreciate us moping around the place.” Logan looked at Kurt. “Elf, you’ll join me?”
“I will, mein freund, but I shall have to abstain from refreshment.” He pointed at his dog collar.
“Sure, I’ll drink the brews, you can have orange juice. Anyone else?” Wolverine stood expectant, hoping to jog people from their thoughts.
“Guess I’m in, Wolvy.” Bobby Drake replied.
“Yah, me too.” Said Remy LeBeau.
“Hank?” Logan faced his friend. Hank McCoy, the ever blue Beast, had been there when Psylocke died; he was still recovering from the injuries he received at the hands of her murderer.
“I’m afraid that I must decline. My current wheelbound state would hamper your efforts rather than enhance them.”
“Well, see you later then.” Logan turned to leave and joined the others. Scott and Jean left the room, talking quietly as they made their way through the mansion. Beast was alone; he felt a twinge of pain from his broken ribs as he moved the chair across the room. At that moment, the door opened, and Professor Xavier guided his wheelchair into the room.
“Henry, I wish to speak with you. I understand some of the others are going out but I would like you to remain, we have much to discuss.” Xavier’s voice was low and even, but great sadness could be seen in his face and eyes.
Just then, Logan returned.
“I will see you in my study in five minutes.” With that, Xavier turned and left.
“What’s all that about?” asked Logan.
“I can guess.” was Hank’s reply. “Something to do with why I decided to join Storm and why Betsy had to die.” His voice broke slightly at that point.
“Hey bub, I was there, so was the cajun, we made a decision and decided to run with it. Chuck can’t touch you.” Wolverine was concerned. What if Xavier decided to turf Hank out, what then? He left that thought unspoken.
“Go, Logan, I shall deal with this regrettable incident.” Beast motioned Logan to leave. When Hank looked round, he had gone.