————— The Infirmary —————

She looked down at his face and brushed a ginger lock of hair back off his forehead. Her hand brushed over the bandage that encircled his forehead and she quickly snatched it away. She didn’t like touching it in case she did something to make the wound worse.

The doctors had assured her that the bullet wound the bandages were covering had not been a direct hit, only a ricochet wound. They expected him to make a full recovery, that his body would heal completely. She grabbed his hand and stroked it thinking if that were true then why hadn’t he woken up, why wouldn’t her father open his eyes.

Theresa Cassidy felt the tears fall down her face as she began to pray, “Lord watch over the soul of my Da wherever he is and bring his back safely to me. I know I haven’t been the world’s greatest Christian, or person for that matter, but if I lose him now I’m afraid I’ll fall away even further. I’m not ready to lose him yet Lord, so please don’t take him”.

“Theresa”, said a voice behind her. She turned in her chair to see James Proudstar standing in the door of the Infirmary. She turned back around to where her father Sean was lying in his bed and put his hand back on his chest.

“How is he?” asked James.

“The same”, she sighed, “I just wish he would wake up”.

“The doctors say he should do, it might take some time though”, he replied.

“Bloody doctors, what the feck do they know? If they were any good they would be able to help my Da”, she said, anger tainting her voice. She got up and went to stand by the window.

James shifted uncomfortably unsure how to react to that outburst, “How’s your arm?” he eventually asked referring to her broken limb. She had snapped it in two places when Storm had used her winds to blast her through the windows of the building, saving her from her plummet to the streets of New York.

“It’s grand, it’ll probably heal in a couple of weeks or so”, she replied.

After another awkward moment he spoke again, “I’m going to go with Storm to the Institute and pay my respects to Dani. I thought you might like to come with us”.

“No James, but thanks for the offer, I want to be here with him”, she said as she sat back down.

James sighed, “You can’t stay here all the time Theresa, it’s not good for you, come to the Institute you need to get out of here for a bit”.

“Jesus James, will ya get off my back”, she yelled, annoyed that he was digging at her like this. “I don’t want to leave here, what part of that can’t you get through your thick skull?”

She glared at him seeing the surprised look on his face at her harsh words. She didn’t care if she sounded like a bitch, her father was in a coma and he wanted her to go on a check up trip to the Xavier Mansion.

“I was just…” he started.

“Leave me alone James”, she said turning her back on him and sitting back down by her father’s beside. She listened as she he walked out of the room and waited till she heard the door closing behind him. Reaching into her pocket she pulled out a small, silver hip flask. Unscrewing the lid she took a large swig from it and put it back in her pocket. She laid her head on her father’s chest and let herself cry.

————— Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Manhattan —————

Rahne stepped through the oaken double doors of the church, glancing up at the belfry as she walked through. She often found a lot of peace here at St. Paul’s, it was one of the quieter Catholic churches and she liked to visit at least twice a week. It was also the church that Nightcrawler had been ordained in, and in which he had given mass in.

She was here for two reasons; one was related to her deceased friend and mentor Kurt, the other was for the tranquillity she found there. She had been on her way back from the Xavier Institute, where she had spent the morning attending the funerals of those who had died in the sentinel attack there.

She needed some time to herself before returning to her duties at the X.S.E. building. Dealing with having a close friend die in her arms had been hard enough, but her grief had only been compounded when she had heard that Danielle Moonstar had perished at the mansion. Rahne and Dani had both been founding members of the New Mutants and during their time together had developed a close bond, partly due to Dani’s ability to talk to animals. She has possibly been Rahne’s closest friend, like a sister in nearly every way.

Kurt and Rahne had become close when she had decided to move permanently to New York to work for Storm at the X.S.E. She had looked up to the man, morally and spiritually and had come to him every time something in her life brought her into conflict with her beliefs. Every little crisis of faith she had had over the last couple of years, Kurt had guided her through it with his wisdom and unique look on life.

And now they were both gone; two people that had become so much a part of her life that she felt a little adrift with their absence. She walked up the aisle between the pews; there was nobody here at this time of day and the place had a very serene and calming effect on her. She approached the Alter and genuflected before the tabernacle, crossing herself as she did so.

“Mass doesn’t start for another hour miss”, said a voice nearby.

Raising her head Rahne saw a young looking man coming through a door from nearby the Alter. He was dressed in black shoes, black trousers a black shirt and had a white collar around his neck.

“Aye, I know that Father?” she said, waiting for him to introduce himself.

“Father Bryce, I’m the new priest”, he supplied.

“Rahne Sinclair, a member of yuir clergy”, she said, “I wasn’t here for mass, not today anyway. I actually came to talk to someone about Father Wagner”.

“Really?” asked the young priest, folding his arms and looking at Rahne curiously.

“Yes, I was a close friend of his and he loved this church and helped a lot of people here. I wanted to ask if the Sunday service this week could be said in remembrance of him”, she said, noting the slightly defensive stance the priest had taken.

“I don’t think so”, said Father Bryce. He turned and began walking back toward the door he had come through earlier.

Rahne was confused and called out as he reached the door, “I dinnae understand Father, what do you mean no?”

The priest turned around and Rahne took a step back as she registered the hate etched on his face. “I mean we will not be committing further sacrilege in this House of God by honouring that demon. To think that a vile mutant, a Devil spawn, soiled this sacred ground with his blasphemies”.

He clenched and opened his fists, as he began to speak in fervour, “The local clergy have spent enough time tolerating that abomination, so there certainly will not be a mass for him. Let him burn in hell with the rest of his kind”.

Looking at Rahne he continued, “If you wish to save your soul from further damnation I would advise you not to have any further association with those creatures, those mutants”.

Rahne was shocked; she had never witnessed such hatred for mutants from a clergy member since Reverend Craig, her father. She recovered her wits just as the young priest was turning away.

“How dare ye”, she said. The young man turned around and looked at her questioningly. She began shaking with rage, this priest, this so called disciple of God, had denounced one of the most loving and pious men she had ever known. She would not stand for it. Her body shifted, muscle, sinew and bone changing and morphing into her lycanthrope form.

She watched with a hint of pleasure as fear spread across Father Bryce’s face. “Father Wagner was a great man, a holy man who had time fer all God’s children, mutant and human alike. Yuir hatred makes a mockery of his memory and of our religion. Father Wagner was twice the man you are, and more of a Christian than you will ever be”.

She shifted back into her human form and turning away from the cowering man stalked out of the church.

Father Bryce watched as she left, and lifting a hand to his brow wiped the sweat from it. That had certainly given him a shock, those disgusting creatures were everywhere, it was hard to know who to trust. He walked through the door he had come through earlier. It led to the vestry where he had been entertaining a fellow clergy man.

The man was still sitting where Father Bryce had left him, still drinking the coffee he had made him. “I apologise for that Reverend Stryker, but there was a woman looking to have a mass said for my predecessor”, he said.

“The mutant Priest? The Abomination?” replied the white haired man.

“Yes, it turned out she herself was a child of the Devil, completely normal looking at first, but when she got angry, her demonic nature was revealed. They are everywhere, it makes me sick”, spat Father Bryce as he sat down across from the Reverend. He looked at the older clergy man’s face and saw he was smiling.

“I understand you very well my son, now the question is; would you like to do something about it?” said Reverend Stryker.