"No!" I rush over to her. She's crazy! "No, you can't contain that much energy!"
"I know." She whispers.
"You'll die!" I grab her arms and shake her. "You'll die, Evelyn!"
"I know." She repeats.
"No!" I let my tears escape. I can't lose her! Not now!
"I have to do this, Scott." She sounds unnaturally calm. "This is all my fault."
"No, it's not." I cry. "You can control the flames from down there! It will be fine."
"No, it won't, Scott." She replies. "I can't save them by controlling the flames, I have to absorb them. And I can only do that here."
"I can't let you do this!" I sob. She takes a deep breath, which I hear waver slightly, indicating her hidden emotions.
"You have to." She places her hand on my cheek, and wipes away a tear that has escaped my visor. "Be brave, Scott."
"This is brave, this is stupid!" I argue.
"Ninety seconds!" Jean calls.
"No, letting these people die when I could've saved them would be stupid." She smiles up at me. "I'm finally doing something for someone else, Scott."
"Please, I can't lose you!" I beg.
"Tell my mom it was an accident. I don't want her to think that I lied to her about everything." The brave smile doesn't leave her lips.
"Don't do this!" I sob. "Come back to the institute. Come back to the X-Men. I don't care about what happened anymore. I forgive you! Don't go!"
"Thank you." She whispers. "Thank you for forgiving me. Now, I can do this without any regrets."
"No!" I yell.
"I'm here." Warren announces, entering the room. "What do you want me to do?"
"Take Jean and Scott." Evelyn orders. "Get them a safe distance away."
"What about you?" Warren questions.
"I'm going to fix this." She replies simply.
"No, you're not! You're coming with us!" I protest. I'm not leaving her! I can't.
"Scott, go!" She orders. I notice her eyes are now brimming with tears.
"No!" I yell. "I love you!"
"I love you too, Scott Summers." Her smile returns, whilst a tear escapes her eye. "That's why you have to go."
"Please, don't do this!" I kiss her, the way I have been aching to ever since I saw her this morning. I have no reason not to anymore. Everything with Pyro seems so small. I love her and that's all that matters. We're going to leave here and everything is going to go back to what it was. And then we're going to grow up as the leaders of the X-Men, and we're going to start a family together. We'll teach our children how to utilize their mutations. Everything will be perfect. As we kiss, I realize that I could never live without her.
"Scott," She whispers, pulling back. "You have to go now."
"No, we have to go!" I correct her.
"Warren, take him, please?" She begs, tears now escaping her eyes freely, yet her smile remains. "Tell Bobby to stay out of trouble for me, yeah?"
"No!" I cry.
"I love you guys." She whispers.
"I love you too!" Jean is crying too now, as she hugs Evelyn tightly. Warren quickly joins her.
"Jean?" She says calmly. Jean pulls away from her body.
"Look after Scott?" She begs.
"Of course." Jean smiles weakly through the tears.
"Warren, go now." She orders. "There's less than a minute left."
"No!" I shout, as Warren grabs my waist.
"Be brave, Evelyn." I hear him whisper over my protest.
"I love you, Scott." She smiles, pushing my hands from her body. "I always have and I always will. One day, we'll meet again, I promise."
"Please!" I sob, as I am pulled away from her.
"I'll tell your parents what a brave, strong man you've become." As she says the final words, her smile slips slightly, showing the true fear inside of her.
And then, I am pulled away. I close my eyes as I feel us fall quickly to the ground. Once we land safely, I begin to feel even angrier at myself and everyone around me.
"You!" I yell, looking at the winged mutant in front of me. "Why did you do that? I could have saved her!"
"Scott..." He shakes his head slowly.
"No! You've ruined everything! I was going to save her!" I sob.
"She was never going to give up on this." He whispers.
"She was! I know she was!" I yell, throwing my fist out towards him. He catches it casually and pulls me against him, hugging me.
"She did it for you," He whispers to me. "She did everything for you."
"No..." I cry weakly into his shoulder.
"Marvel Girl, are you ready?" I hear in his voice that he is also crying now.
"Y-yes." She stutters through the tears.
"Come on." He says to me gently, not releasing his grip on me. "We should go."
"No, I have to stop this, I have to-" the loud boom of the explosion cuts me off. I pull my away from Warren's shoulder to look up to the building. Jean's excessive telekinesis creates a visible dome around the floor, where the flames attempt to weave out of the windows. No! The fire seeps back into the building and I know that it's over.
"No!" I scream, trying to run towards the building. That can't be it!
"Scott, she's gone!" Warren holds me back. Why won't he let me go? "She's gone."
"Shut up!" I punch him in the chest, hard, but he does not let go. I watch helplessly as the stream of shocked business men pour out of the bottom of the building. She's got to be with them. She's got to come soon. I keep watching and waiting, occasionally trying to break free of Warren's grasp.
After a while, the line begins to thin out. Jean guides large pieces of the broken building down around us, which I know will reveal the inside of the room where Evelyn stood. I don't look, I can't. I have to keep watching the people leave the building; she'll be there in a minute.
My breath catches as I notice Bobby and Voltage leave the building last. Why isn't she with them? Didn't they help her? Why aren't they helping her?
"Where is she?" I yell as Bobby approaches us. He looks up at Warren and I turn to see him shake his head in reply to Bobby.
"Just help Marvel Girl." Warren orders softly. Bobby nods and moves away.
"Warren, where is she?" I beg. "Please!"
"She's gone now." He whispers.
"No! That can't be it!" I sob.
"You guys are finally out!" I hear the Australian voice beside me. "Where's Ardor?"
"You caused this!" I scream reaching out towards him. Again, Warren holds me back. "This is all your fault!"
"What?" He steps backwards, a confused expression on his face. What I would give to be ignorant in this situation.
"She sacrificed herself for what you did!" Warren yells. "She's dead! And it's all your fault!"
"No!" I protest. She's not dead. She can't be.
"What?" Pyro goes white. "No, she wouldn't just..." He trails off.
"I'm going to kill you!" I cry. This bastard... He's the reason she's not here!
"She can't be gone." He looks distressed, but I want to make him feel worse than that. He deserves to feel worse than that. "I loved her."
"No! Shut up! You've destroyed everything!" I want to blast a hole right through his chest as soon as he says the words, but my emotions have me too week to do anything. He doesn't love her, I love her! He could never deserve her.
"Come on, Pyro." Voltage stands in front of him now. "We should go!"
They disappear off into the shocked crowd. No! He needs to pay!
"Look!" Someone calls. "It's Cyclops from the X-Men!"
"What's wrong with him?" Someone else asks. This isn't right. They're looking at me like I'm some kind of show. This isn't for their entertainment. I've just lost the girl I loved!
"We need to get out of here." Warren orders. "Marvel Girl, Iceman, is it stable?" Jean nods sadly in response. "Then we should go."
"No! We can't leave her!" I protest.
"She's not coming back, Cyclops!" He hisses.
"You don't know that!" I sob.
"She's dead!" His words are like a knife through my heart. No, she's not! She can't be! "She's gone."
"No..." I whisper, as Warren leads me through the gasping crowd. I catch snippets of news reports being recorded around me.
"... State leaders..."
"... Some sort of explosion from an unknown source..."
"... The mutant known as Ardor..."
"... Strange, masked companions..."
This is it. This is real. She is really gone. After everything we've been through, this is how it ends.
I think back to when I first saw her around school, how I thought she was 'just another cheerleader'.
And then at prom, at the sight of her mutation, how I started to fall for her.
That night at the institute when a heated argument turned into passion when I told her that I loved her.
And when she risked her life to rescue me after Jean kissed me.
Every moment I spent with her, no matter how painful, meant something. Every issue we had did not. The last two days have been spent without her, when I could've forgiven her.
If only I'd known how quickly she'd be taken from me.
If only I'd known.
-- The End --