Saturday December 6th
“I will tell you the truth Cory, because that is what you want, isn’t it?”
Cory nodded at me. I could still see the shock on his face. His mouth hung open slightly and his pale green eyes had a dull, almost lifeless look to them. His brown hair was the usual mess, sticking up mostly in front and some in back thanks to the fact that he was sleeping minutes before. He was about seven inches taller then me which made him taller than most boys his age. I looked down at his handsome face trying my hardest to look him in the eyes. I tried not to act like I was ashamed, I tried to act like what I had done was right.
“We did this for you and for Josh,” I began.
“Just tell me!” Cory suddenly snapped.
“Alright,” I nodded, and expanded my mind to his “This way you can see what I tell you.” I took in a deep breath, “It started when the Professor called me into his office.”
Eight Years Ago
October 11th, 1996
“What’s wrong Professor,” I said stepping into his large office.
The Professor was sitting behind his oak desk, his hands folded together. The sun shine was beaming through the large window directly behind him, the red curtains pulled back. Though his face was tense and nervous his eyes showed the kindness and warmth they had since I was a young girl.
I was the only one at the school at this time. The other X-Men had been sent out on a mission to Hong Kong where the Brotherhood were committing violent acts against the government. I had chosen to stay behind with the Professor as I often did.
“We have a problem,” he unfolded his hands and leaned back slightly in his chair, “The Brotherhood of Mutants are planning on attack on Josh Kerr.”
“The boy from the prophecy?”
“So Magneto knows of the prophecy?”
“Destiny had to have told him,” Charles replied with disappointment in his voice.
I shook my head unable to understand why Irene Adler would such a thing, “But why?”
“I wish I knew Jean,” Charles sighed, “But that question is for another day.”
“And by attack do you mean-”
“He plans to kill the boy,” Charles cut me off.
I felt disgusted. I knew what Magneto was capable of but he never seemed to astonish me with how low he would go back in those days. “I just…I don’t get it.”
“He is doing what he is doing out of fear,” I began to give Charles a skeptical look but he continued, “He fears what this boy is capable and what the boy means to his future. In a way he is becoming what he hates most. I know him, I know he will realize the error of his ways eventually.”
“But how many people will die before he realizes that?”
Charles gave me a grave look, “I do not know Jean but all I know is we can not let this boy die.”
“I know Charles.”
“I need you to watch over the boy for the next day,” Charles began, “Make sure no harm comes to him. There is no coincidence the Magneto chose to send the Brotherhood to Hong Kong. “
“Can’t we bring him here?” I asked, “I’m sure his mother would be fine with it.”
“I don’t want to alarm his mother,” the Professor replied, “Not until we have too.”
“And how do we know this isn’t a trap of some sorts? What if he wants me to leave you alone?”
“Then I will confront my friend,” the Professor gave me a small smile, “But I trust my source.”
The Professor nodded, “Emma Frost is very close with Erik.”
“Emma Frost!?” I looked at the Professor shocked,
“Emma Frost was in the Brotherhood?” Cory interrupted me, his voice sounding a bit monotone.
“Yes but she turned after learning of Magneto’s plan to kill Josh.”
“Oh,” Cory nodded.
Clearing my throat I went back to my story.
“How could you trust that girl?”
Emma and I had a rocky relationship back then.
“I do. She no longer can follow Erik.”
“Charles,” I leaned forward a bit and gave Charles probably a bit of patronizing smile. I always felt Charles believed too much in the second chance or in Erik’s case the fifth. But he always believed that there was good in people. He never turned anyone way. “You can’t-”
“Do you trust me Jean?”
“Of course,” I nodded.
“Then you will trust Emma and what she told us.”
I nodded not even looking at the Professor, “Fine.”
“Just watch the boy and do not worry about me,” he smiled at me, “This mansion is very safe.”
A Day Later
October 12th, 1996
So I watched Josh. I stood outside his house as his mother drove him to school, I stood outside his school as he played recess and he cried when you pushed him while playing tag.
“He fell!” Cory screamed.
I knew who you were, I knew who all you were. Charles only let myself, Scott and Ororo know. To everyone else in the world it was a secret at least it would have been until Destiny told Magneto about Josh. Emma had confirmed that Destiny did not utter a word about the others. She only mentioned Josh. I do not know why. I wasn’t sure of Destiny’s plan, if she had one. I’m still not sure until this day. But I knew what you four would be and I could not bring myself to believe it. You were all so small, especially Josh. To me he looked the most innocent out of the four of you. His eyes were so blue and his face still so young and childish. So innocent.
The day progressed Josh went straight from school to your house where as you now know, your brother would take him to the ice cream shop.
I notice Cory’s face tense as I got closer and closer to the moment of his brother’s death.
I was inside the ice cream shop that day. I sat in the seat in the table next to yours.
“Don’t scoop it. Stab it,” your brother told as you struggled to figure out exactly how to get the most ice cream possible, “See like Josh is doing. Anyway see that girl right there.” You turned around and saw a pretty girl with black hair and bright blue eyes. You looked back to your brother, the pink spooning still in your mouth, “She likes me. I’m thinking of asking her out. What do you think?””
“Girls have cooties,” you took your spoon out, “I’d never touch a girl. Only boys are cool.”
Cory shook his head, “Man I was pretty gay”
“You say that now,” My brother replied laughing, “But soon you’ll learn cooties actually don’t exist.”
“My brother said he knows someone who died of cooties,” Josh replied his eyes wide and his voice filled with a mix of excitement and fear.
A smile formed on my face as I listened to your conversation. Your innocence and naivety was heartwarming in a way. I knew what was ahead for you, I knew the trouble you would face in just a few short years but right now you were just two children.
“Well that would stop soon enough,” Cory interrupted me again, “When my brother died I became a tad less innocent”
I shifted slightly as the guilt gnawed at my stomach, “Yes I guess so.”
You went outside shortly after, cup of ice creams still in hand. I followed you out.
“Be careful with that in my car,” your brother pointed to you, “You too Josh. I’ve known you your whole life so I can kick your ass if you make a mess of my car.”
“Oooooh cursing,” Josh wagged a disapproving finger at Donnie.
Donnie laughed, “Fine I won’t kick your butt but I will take away your ice cream. We have to get home and see good old drunk grandpa,” Donnie turned to you, “Mom and dad will be pissed if we aren’t. Just lucky we have each other right?”
I noticed tears start to form in Cory’s eyes as he clenched his fist
Donnie looked down at Josh who had gotten to his knees and was struggling to tie his sneakers, “You need help with that?”
“I got it!” his tiny voice screamed.
Your brother smiled and walked on to his car which was only a few feet away. You stayed back and watched Josh struggle to tie his sneakers.
“It’s really complicated,” You stuck out your own shoes, “That’s why I wear sticky shoes!”
You wiggled your Velcro sneakers in Josh’s face and he pouted and moved over slightly. You stomped your foot on the ground and began to stop impatiently as you looked back to your brother.
“Let’s go!” He screamed at you. I didn’t notice the man moving towards him.
I was busy looking at Josh. He was struggling with looping the hoops around each other and was beginning to tear up.
I moved forward and bent down besides him unable to stop myself, “Here let me.”
“Umm,” Josh said as I began to tie his sneakers for him.
I looked up at him and smiled realizing that he must have been a bit afraid a strange woman just walking up and tying his shoes. You were looking at me too for a moment too but then went back to look at your brother, clearly more interested in him than me. For a second I thought Josh would cry but instead he smiled back at me with his tiny little smile.
And that’s when I heard him.
“I don’t want too!”
I turned immediately. A pale, bald man was moving towards your brother. He seemed to be moving despite himself. And that’s when I felt him.
I looked immediately across the street and saw Exodus standing there, a smile on his face. His black hair went down to his shoulders and he wore a black suit with a matching tie. His brood shoulders and large chest made his clothes made it look tight. His eyes sent shiver down my back as they always did when they were like they were, pure white. His eyes were not like Ororo’s, which are serene and calm but filled with power, rage and hungry.
“Are you okay,” I heard your brother ask the man.
“No,” I said preparing to put a shield but Exodus’ eyes has already fallen on me and with a point of his finger I was thrown into the air, beginning dragged back by an invisible force which smacked me into a nearby brick wall. I was only able to catch a glimpse of the man who would kill your brother.
He was skinny and pale. Sweat poured down his white face, coming from his bald head and then down his forehead, passing his timid glowing black eyes. I knew what was going to happen. I could sense it, I could sense how scared he was and how he knew this was his last moment.
With a scream black energy cascaded from his body which was torn apart in an instant. The energy immediately did the same to your brother, he never saw it coming.
“No!” I screamed as I felt the invisible force hit me against the wall yet again. This time I couldn’t move as Exodus kept his grip on me.
The black energy dug into the group as it took the shape of a large dome which expanded at accelerating speed, blowing into stores and worst getting closer and closer to you and to Josh.
You were in shock. You had witnessed your brother’s death first hand.
“I remember now,” Cory said in a whisper, “I remember the feeling I had. I wasn’t numb, I was just crushed. I thought I was having a nightmare, nothing felt real at that moment and I just wanted to wake up. I knew if they black stuff would hit me I would wake up.”
I looked at Cory, tears starting to fill my eyes. I continued, I had to continue. He had to hear all of it.
You stood there, your eyes wide, your body shaking. You weren’t moving. But Josh, he was starting to scream. He too had witnessed the attack but his reaction was much different then yours.
It was that day that Josh’s powers emerged for the first time that day, only a concentrated amount but. His eyes were glowing blue as he yelled and yelled. He was so scared, I could feel it. The energy was inches from you as he screamed louder and louder, as his eyes glowed a brighter blue than ever before.
You had looked back at Josh just then, just for a moment. I don’t even think you realized what was happening to him because a moment later you were starting back at the energy, your face still lifeless.
It had stopped just before it hit you. He did it, Josh stopped it not me. I watched as the energy seemed to evaporate as Josh continued to yell and the ground beneath him began to rumble slightly.
I stumbled forward slightly as Exodus released his grip on me and quickly began to move forward. I knew he was going to kill the boy. He was going to do what the mutant couldn’t Magneto had wanted it to look like an accident not a murder. But Exodus didn’t care for such things. Life means very little to him.
I gathered myself and glared at Exodus. I could the sheer force of my mind as it wrapped around him and I lifted him with all my might and then threw him right into a nearby car.
“Stupid girl!” Exodus screamed as he stood back hardly affected by my attack, “This fight has nothing to do with you. It will be better for everyone if the child is day.”
Josh continued to scream and his eyes grew brighter. I looked to you. You just stared at the space which you were brother use to be. I could feel the ground shake beneath me and saw blue sparks start to shot from Josh’s hand. I acted quickly without even much thought. All I cared about was protecting the two of you. I made my way into Josh’s mind. It was easy. Despite the emergence of his powers he was still just a boy and a panicked one at that. His was an open book and all I had to do was close it. He fell gently to the floor as I put him to sleep. You on the other hand were different. You were in a different kind of shock a much more fragile one. If I entered it, I could shatter it like glass. I had no choice. I had to let you be until I fought off Exodus.
He moved forward, crossing the street. The dozen or so people on the streets were screaming and running around. None were really paying attention to the boys in need of help.
Exodus lifted up his hands and two cars, one red and one blue rose into the air before flying down, heading straight for Josh. I stepped in front of him quickly throwing my hands in the air and opening my palm wide. The cars stopped in mid-air crushing slightly.
Exodus smiled as he threw out a hand. A blast of telepathic energy flew out of it and headed straight towards me. I moved my left hand down and the cars fell slightly. I put a shield up and blocked the blast. Exodus fired twice more and each time I blocked them the cars began fell even more.
As he fired yet again I put down my hands. The cars went into a freefall I waved my hands at them and then pointed towards Exodus. The cars flew straight towards him as his blast hit me in the stomach. I fell to the ground next to the sleeping Josh as I saw Exodus as he stopped both cars not with his telekinetic powers but with his hands. He grabbed both by the front bumper and then smashed them into the ground.
I got up, breathing heavily.
“Do you think you beat me?” He boasted.
“No,” I smirked and looked over his shoulder, “But the Professor can.” I gave a nod and Exodus immediately turned.
“What?” He said as he realized that no one was behind him. He turned just in time to a see a white mini-van flying right at him. I saw his eyes widen in surprise at my attack. The van hit right into him and I lifted it slightly so that his body rolled onto the hood. With another strong push, I threw the van at least a two yards away, Exodus still on the front hood.
I looked to Josh and then to you. You didn’t even notice the fight going on around you. You were so stunned. I knew I had to get you out of there fast but I didn’t know how.
And that’s when the fog set in. I sighed in relief as I looked up to see the X-Jet flying overhead. Storm flew next to the jet and swooped down next to me.
“I’ll hold of Exodus,” she said, “Bring Josh up to the X-Jet.”
“What about Cory?” I asked but Ororo had already flown away.
“You leave him,” The Professor entered my mind.
“What!?” I said out loud.
“We do not have a choice,” I could tell he was sickened by his own decision, “But his parents knew he was with his brother but did not know Josh was with them. His mother wants nothing to do with us, she made that clear during her pregnancy. If she knows they were after Josh and if she knew what Josh was…”
“What would she do?” I thought back to him.
“She will not go along with the lie that needs to be told, she will complicate matters.”
“You aren’t making sense Professor,” I looked up at the sky and saw thunder descended from a dark cloud.
The Professor’s voice kept ringing in my mind, “I need you to take away both their memories of this day.”
My eyes widened as I looked down at the sleeping Josh.
“But why?” I asked.
“Josh is too young for his powers,” The Professor began, “He could not handle them at this age. He would be a danger to himself and others.”
“And Cory,” I turned towards you and then spoke out loud, “What about him?”
“You will need to be careful with him,” The Professor replied, “Suppress this day so far that he will now it happened, that he will know he saw his brother die but he will not remember any of it. Taking away the memories of the day might do too much damage, not when people will bring this day up for the rest of his life. If it’s suppressed he will be able to deal with it better.”
I nodded, “I see but he’ll remember certain parts. He’ll remember who was there.”
“Which is why you have to make sure you and Josh are remove from his memories,” he continued to tell me things which I did not really want to do, “If no one remembers Josh was there then it would never be brought to him. If Josh remembers this day we are at risk of triggering his powers again. He is too young for that..”
“And Magneto?” I asked.
“Leave him to me.” The Professor’s voice sounded colder then I had ever heard it.
“Would removing Josh from Cory’s memories do any damage,” I said as I bent down over Josh.
“No,” The Professor replied, “No one should ever remind him of the boy’s presence and with the memory being suppressed when he sees his friend, he won’t see this day.”
“But if it’s suppressed-” I began.
“If it does ever emerge within Cory we will deal with it then,” The Professor interrupted me, “And in truth he’ll believe the gap in his memories are nothing more then a result of his own repression of this day..”
I put a hand on Josh’s foreheads, “It’s wrong.”
“I know,” The Professor replied, “But to protect Josh it has to be done.”
I nodded as a tear streamed down my cheek.
“I will do it Jean,” The Professor’s voice entered my head
“No,” I said as I entered Josh’s mind, “I failed them. I’ll do it.”
And with that I completely erased Josh’s memory that whole afternoon. The last thing he would remember is leaving school and then arriving at home where his mother put on his favorite episode of Ninja Turtles.
I went towards you next and picked you up in my arms. You didn’t put your arms around or even move at all as I sat you down next against a wall. I stared into your eyes for a while. I saw the pain and confusion in them, I saw the fear and the hurt. The innocence in them that I had seen before was gone. It was then I realized that the Professor was right, this was the right thing to do it. Yes so much about it was wrong but this had to be done not just for Josh but for you.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered into your ear as I put one hand to the right side of your head and then one head to the left side of your head.
So I reached into your mind, took out all images of Josh and myself from that day and then suppressed the thoughts of this day so far back that should have never been able to remember this day, not in a million years.
I wiped a tear from my eye as the Professor’s eye entered my mind again, “You need to leave him here. They need too-”
“I know,” I replied back walking over to Josh and taking him in my arms. He put his tiny arms around my neck and rested his head against my shoulder without even opening his eyes. He probably thought I was his mother.
The X-Jet landed in the middle of the street and I quickly made my way over too it, putting my hand on the top of Josh’s head.
“I’ll deal with the people in your vicinity and with the police on the way,” The Professor entered my mind again, “Exodus has retreated. Soon no one will remember there ever being a fight here and no one will remember the other boy.”
“Right,” I said as the latch to the X-Jet opened. I walked up the steps, staring up at Scott who was looking down at from aboard the jet.
“Are you okay?” he asked me reaching for Josh.
“I’m fine,” I held tightly onto Josh and moved passed Scott, “I just need a moment to myself.”
He looked at me for a second. I could tell he was concerned and part of me just wanted to go into his arms and cry but instead I just sat in my chair and gently brushed the top of Josh’s head.
.I was ashamed of myself. I was ashamed that I failed my mission, ashamed at what I had to with my powers because of my own mistake. Your brother died because of me, you and Josh almost died because of me.