Professor Charles Xavier watched from his office window as his students and others headed outside to the funeral service of Evelyn James. Closing his eyes, he sensed the figure behind him.
"Why are you here?" He demanded, not turning to see the person.
"I can't let them go." The voice said.
"We both know that there is more to your return than that." Charles did not have to use his telepathy to detect why the person behind him had returned to the Xavier Institute.
"Fine." The voice sighed. "I can't let him go."
"You must." The professor ordered, turning in his wheelchair. "What happened last week has turned him into a different boy."
"He's still Scott." The voice whispered.
"Not the Scott you remember." The professor replied harshly.
"Why can't I return?" The voice begged.
"Because, Miss James, my students believe you to be dead." The professor's voice was blunt, and stung the girl's heart.
"Why can't I just tell them the truth?" She stepped closer to the man in the wheelchair.
"Because you have damaged them enough." The professor snapped. "You have no place in my X-Men."
"But I love him!" She argued, tears streaming down her cheeks. Was it ironic to be crying at your own funeral?
"You've hurt him enough. To discover you did not perish in those flames would push him too far." The professor's voice was strong, and hurt Evelyn deeply.
"It wasn't my fault!" She argued. "I thought I couldn't contain that much energy. How was I supposed to know that it would just put me in a temporary coma?"
"You weren't. But now you do, you must leave." He orders.
"You've taken my family from me!" She yells. "I can never see my mother again!"
"You have no business here now, Miss James." The professor orders. "You are to leave this town and never return. Take the other pyrokinetic with you if you must."
"If I can tell John, why can't I tell the others?" Evelyn asked, trying desperately to find a loophole that mean she could be with Scott once again.
"Because he is not one of - or close to one of - my X-Men." The professor replies curtly. "He means nothing to me."
"Can't you do something with your telepathy? Make it so I can come home?" She begs through the sobs.
"This is not your home now, Miss James. And it never will be again. Now, please leave my office."
"I hate you." She sobbed. She knew she had said the words many times in her life, especially over the past year, but this was the first time she truly meant them. Sat in front of her was a man telling her she could never return to her previous life - to her mother, to her friends, to Scott Summers. This man had taken everything she loved and pulled it out from under her. She could never fix the day she died, but she wished she could. She wished she had not underestimated her abilities. She wished she had told Scott to look for a body in the broken building. Then she might be allowed home. She moved over to the window, ignoring the professor's orders to leave. Her friends and family were gathered around, dressed all in black. Her mother was understandably hysterically. Yet, she noticed that Scott speared to be keeping it together, though she could never tell what was going on behind the ruby quartz lenses. Be brave, she had told him. He was. And that made Evelyn proud. She longed to run out and announce her life, to hug her mother again. But she couldn't. She could never see her mother ever again.
Evelyn noticed something odd about the service - John was there. Had Scott actually softened to the pyrokinetic that had technically killed his girlfriend? Or maybe he was too distraught to notice or care? Either way, seeing the two boys together broke Evelyn's heart even more.
Jean looked as if she was following the order Evelyn had given her, to look after Scott. But, on top of that, she seemed to be looking after Warren and Bobby too. Evelyn forced a weak smile at the thought. She may be gone, but at least there was someone here to care for her friends.
Bobby looked his age for once. He had always looked so mature and brave, that Evelyn regularly forgot that he was years younger than the others. But now, as he stood there in a small, black suit, he looked like the young boy that he was. He looked vulnerable. Despite the distance, Evelyn could tell he was crying. She longed to comfort him. Burst out and shout "Don't cry, Bobby. You can't get rid of me that easily!". Make a joke out of it, like Bobby always loved to do. But she could never joke with the young mutant again. She could never again ruffle his hair in that patronizing way that irritated him so much.
She noticed Warren place a strong hand on Bobby's shoulder and was thankful that the winged mutant had remained so strong. She knew there needed to be people who could look after Bobby and Scott in their grief and, after today, she certainly did not trust the professor with that job. Warren's last words to her had been simple. Be brave, Evelyn. And that is what she intended to do, especially today. She had to. There was no other way she was going to get through this. She placed her hand on the window and let the tears flow heavily.
"Scott picked out most things about the funeral." The professor commented. "He wanted it to be perfect."
"Shut up." Evelyn ordered, as every word from the professor's mouth hurt her more.
"The service will be over soon. It would be best if you leave now." Evelyn closed her eyes at the sound of the words. This was the last time she would see her friends and family. Couldn't she just get one last cuddle from her mom before she left? One more gossiping session with Sara? Another girly sleepover with Jean? A discussion about the past over cheap pizza with Warren? Another night watching bad comedy shows with Bobby? One last kiss from Scott? There were so many things she had taken for granted. So many simple things. And now they were gone.
It was times like this when her mother would hug her and tell her everything would be okay. And now that was gone. How was a girl supposed to survive without her mother? The woman that taught her everything. Gone. Just like that.
"Miss James." The professor appeared beside her. "I insist you leave now."
Evelyn took a deep breath and headed towards the door.
"I hope they find out what an evil man you are, Xavier." She hissed before leaving the room.
She travelled down the corridors and hallways, but was stopped when she stepped foot in one. She placed her hand on the wall to her left and gazed upon the scorch marks that stained the wall. This is where her passionate make out session with Scott, after an argument about finding Pyro, had turned into a shower for the couple. She smirked at the memory. Arguments were so frequent in their relationship. But she'd rather argue with Scott every day than leave him like she must now.
She quickly pushed open the door to the room she had shared with Scott. It looked unlived in, other than the small alarm clock placed on the nightstand. She wandered over to the bed and opened the top draw of the nightstand. Sure enough, Scott's photograph of his fallen family lay in the bottom of the drawer. Evelyn picked it up and kissed it lightly. She took a deep breath and removed the necklace Scott had given to her on their first date. She wrapped it gently around the photograph before replacing it in the drawer. Glancing at her hand, Evelyn decided she would keep the ring for herself, a constant reminder of a love torn apart. She shut the drawer gently and left the room. This was it. This was the part where she had to say goodbye to the things she was actually allowed to.
Goodbye room where she had first said 'I love you' to anyone.
Goodbye bed where she had slept peacefully in his arms.
Goodbye home, where she had finally found a place she belonged.