Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Shadowcat, Beast, Storm, Gambit, Prestige, Nightcrawler, and pretty much the entire cast of the new Generation X
Challenge/Prompt: whatif_au Challenge 5: Time Travel
Word Count: 1,845
Date Written: 29 August 2017
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters within belong to Marvel Comics and Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
Author's Note: This includes talk of slavery which some folks may find squeamish. All information is drawn from true historical events, a lot of which I picked up from Glenn Beck's Being George Washington, which I definitely recommend.
“I don’t like this, Ororo. This is too close to interfering.”
“Nonsense, Henry. No one among us except yourself has interfered with the time stream, but now that you have made a fully functioning time travel device, I see no reason why we can not or should not use it for the lessons.”
“Katheryne -- “
“I have to agree with Ororo on this one, Hank. People remember better things they see rather than just read about in history books, and this beats putting on a play by far.”
Ororo inclines her regal head in a nod. “Indeed. This way, the children can see for themselves one of the biggest reasons why America won the war against Britain -- “
A bloke would think you guys could find a better way, or at least a different war to use, Jono speaks up irritably.
Jubilee playfully punches him in the arm. “You’re just mad because you think we’re picking on you.”
No, he argues, but my other people need no further reason for Americans to hate us. It isn’t our fault our ancestors tried to rule over your people.
“No more so,” Ororo says gently, “than it is all of humanity’s fault for the times mutants have been enslaved or all white people are to blame for black slavery, but that also adds to my testament that this is a far better idea than simply allowing them to read about the war in the history books.”
“It is the winners who write the history texts,” Hank agrees with a sigh, “and pen what they wish the future generations to know.”
“Precisely. Very few of my own people know that it was our own people in Africa who sold the first black slaves.”
“They don’t know,” Kitty agrees, “or they’re two quick to forget about them, but at least they don’t forget about the slavery. We should do the Holocaust when its anniversary comes due.”
Ororo places a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Are you sure they’re ready to see that?” she asks gently.
“Better to see it,” Rachel softly speaks up from where Kurt stands beside her, his tail twitching, “than to live it.”
“Ja,” he agrees. “Zose vho do not learn from zeir history are bound to repeat it.”
“History’s liable enough to repeat itself,” Henry mutters darkly, his blue fur bristling at the thought.
A squirrel runs up to them, chittering. “I’m going to go out on a limb here,” Kitty says, “but I’m guessing Lin Li -- “
“Ororo! Professor Kitty! Jubilee!” the young, teenage mutant calls in between gasps as she runs up to them. “The boats are beginning to set sail!”
“Dis is de moment we’ve waited for, hommes,” Gambit says with a grin. He nods to the girl. “Lead the way, chere.”
She blushes but turns and leads the way back down the dock. The others follow suit, but not without a few, cautionary glances around them. “It’s okay,” Rachel assures them. “I’ve got us masked.”
When the team of adults reaches their students, some of them are already pouting. Anole is the first to speak. “This sucks! I thought you said they were going to be stopped!”
Roxy shrugs. “They’re going to win any way, guys. Even Quentin knows that much about history.”
“Heh. Yeah, just like I know not to trust the X-Men.”
Several of the adults glare at the smart-mouthed boy. Rachel smiles. “I could lift the mask, Quentin, allow them,” she nods to the normal people walking all around them, “to see who for who you really are, and yourself to see how very little we X-Men can be trusted.”
“Go ahead,” he taunts her, causing Kurt’s tail to do a brisk snap in the rising wind. “I’ll fry ‘em all before they can lay a finger on me.”
“You would,” Lin mutters quietly. Even she has learned to neither trust or like this team mate.
Kurt reaches out and places a calming hand on her shoulder. She looks back at him and smiles. “Ve vill not fall to your tricks, Quentin, but know zat if you risk our cover, you shall be rendered unconscious very swiftly and dealt vith thoroughly and accordingly when we return home.”
Quire rolls his eyes. “I’m shaking.”
Kurt smiles, his blue lips pulling back enough from his mouth that his dangerous, gleaming fangs are revealed. He allows his yellow eyes to glow just a tad. “Alright! Alright! Geez, I was just kidding! I don’t wanna be left back here in the Revoluntionary War!”
Kurt’s smile grows, but his fangs hide once more and his eyes return to normal. “I vas just kidding too, mein freund. Ze time is too good for you.” He calmly meets Hank’s angry gaze. “And I vould not do zat to ze timeline.”
Hank snorts. “It seems to me the best thing I can do when we return is to destroy this machine.”
“Hank, just relax, okay?” Kitty asks. “The lesson’s almost over, and no harm has been done.”
“Yet,” he mutters.
She cuts a sideways glance at him.
“But how is George Washington going to win,” Trevor asks, several of his eyes blinking, “against all of these?!”
“Because,” Ororo answers, her calm voice rising above the myriad other conversations being held all around them, “they will never reach their destination. President Washington was truly the father of his country. He touched many lives, and many souls smiled upon him in response -- for instance, that young woman down the shoreline dressed in a shawl and with the cap on her head.”
Quentin snorts. “They’re all wearing shawls and caps. You know, I heard they freaked out if somebody saw their ankles back then -- “
Show some respect, boy, Jono demands from directly behind him. This wasn’t easy for them to put together, and I can promise you you’ll never get another opportunity like this. But no wonder the Yanks won. They had help!
Kitty rolls her eyes. “The British had help too, including millions of German mercenaries who were slaves to their people. They had little choice but to fight, but after the war, and often after they were defeated in honest battle, they willingly converted to America. They liked the way Washington treated his people and the idea of freedom, something they had never had.”
Kurt shakes his head sadly. “Slavery,” he murmurs, “has existed since ze beginning of time in so many vays.”
“Yeah,” Quentin chimes in again, “like you all dragging us back hundreds of years to this boring lesson.”
A quick slap across the back of his head causes him to yelp. He turns around with a furious glower, but Hank towers above him. “Be quiet, child, or be hushed. That is your final warning. We are here to see history in the making.” Now that the event is actually beginning to take place, Henry, also having been a history buff, is feeling his excitement growing.
“Next time,” Jubilee growls, her Vampire fangs showing, “we are totally leaving your butt behind.”
“But then how will I make my grade?”
“The old fashioned way,” she retorts, “not that you care about your grade, lots of research and study.”
“Be quiet, all of you,” Ororo snaps as thunder rumbles, “or you’ll miss this! This is one of the proudest, most important moments in our species’ history and is a very rarely known fact! Now watch that woman!”
“She looks kind o’ like you, chere,” murmurs Remy, who’s standing next to Ororo.
Thunder rumbles again; the wind continues to rise. Ororo’s cheeks darken very subtly. “Hush, Remy,” she commands, and together, the group watches in awed silence, as a historical storm sweeps up. They can barely see the ships up ahead now, but they can see the waves are churning, the strikes of lightning, and the blasts of wind ripping at the ships. They see a couple turn over, and several masts break. One catches on fire from a strike of lightning.
Every eye Trevor possesses is wide. “Our side really did win because of our people,” he breathes.
“Hot damn!” Roxy exclaims, swinging a fist through the hot air. “Get ‘em, girl! Get ‘em!”
The children and even a couple of the adults cheer as the British ships are thoroughly enjoyed, every last one of the sailors sent back to the coast. Ororo smiles as their applause feels the air. The woman on the shore looks around almost as though she can hear them and then runs before anybody else can spot her.
Ororo smiles. “Any more questions?”
“Just one,” Lin speaks up quietly.
“When can we do this again??” Nathaniel asks eagerly.
“Yeah!” Roxy exclaims, her fist pumping the air.
“That was the coolest thing ever!” Trevor nearly squeals.
Lin simply smiles as the squirrel she brought with her chatters eagerly. She has no reason to speak aloud at this time for Nathaniel asked the question whose answer she so eagerly wanted.
Quentin sneers. “You children are too easily impressed.”
Behind him, Rachel smiles. “That’s not what you were saying a few minutes ago.” He looks at her. “You were broadcasting rather loudly. I can share your thoughts during the storm’s destruction of the ships with your classmates, if you like.”
“Don’t you dare!”
She grins. “Then behave.”
“Henry,” Ororo speaks, turning to Hank, “I believe that question is best answered by you. After all, it is your invention that made this class trip possible.”
Hank bites his bottom lip for just a moment before quietly admitting, “I have always wanted to see the Declaration of Independence actually being signed.” His last words are almost lost in the chorus of eager and agreeing exclamations.
Kitty beams at her group, her team, her family. She wishes Piotr and Wolverine could have come, but somebody had had to stay behind to protect the rest of the school just in case. Perhaps they can accompany them on their next trip. “But for now,” she calls out, “home.” She’s surprised at how easily the children go to the center of their group as Remy and Storm begin to lead the way back to the machine in its safe, hiding place.
She feels Rachel’s mind brush gently across hers and smiles at her best friend. They don’t want anything to mess this up, she tells her.
Neither do I, Kitty admits, smiling. Neither do I. They have just witnessed a moment to be remembered for all time, but more so, Kitty’s seen her team come together again. She’s seen hope in young mutants’ faces. She’s felt hope. She’ll remember this time fondly for a long, long time to come, and not just for the historical significance of it.
She looks up as Kurt places a hand on her shoulder. His tail swishes. “Vell done, Katzchen.”
“Thank you, Fuzzy,” she says, grinning, and places a friendly kiss on his furry cheek as they all head home together.