CONTINUED DIRECTLY FROM "Traumas II" 1/2:
"Will Warren be okay?" I ask Scott. "I'm not sure he should be alone
Scott looks dead beat. Here, away from the others and with the
crisis past, the bad news is finally hitting him �- the enormity of
it all. We're standing out in the ER hallway beyond the family room.
He has a Styrofoam cup of coffee, but it's stone cold. "God knows,"
he says. "He says he wants to be alone. I'm not going to argue with
him. He's a big boy." He glances off to where Logan is talking to
Warren, along with an oriental woman who I've never seen before. She
arrived about ten minutes ago and has been shooting me odd looks ever
since. Betsy Braddock, Logan had named her. Not a very oriental
name. When she wasn't looking at me, or oogling Warren, she was
sizing up Scott like he might be the main course for dinner.
That annoys me, and I think, *Hands off, bitch. He's mine.*
Oh, how very primal of me.
Scott belongs to himself, and the only woman who might reasonably lay
claim to him is Miss Southern Molasses.
I sigh. I can't even be nice tonight in my thoughts about her, can
I? When did I become so catty, over a man? I'd laugh if I had the
energy. Or if the situation itself weren't so grim.
"Logan and his . . . friend . . . are going to take Warren home,"
Scott says. "Warren told me to get out of here." He looks at me.
"We need to find out who did this, Jean."
"Yes, we do. But not tonight."
He opens his mouth to say something, but before he can, Candy
Southern's father explodes out of the family room and breasts up to
Warren. The man was calm for a while, and I'd thought -� probably
foolishly �- that any threat from him was past, faced as he was with
the reality of loss. But he'd simply been in shock. Now, he tries
to accost Warren in the ER hallway. "They just told me that Candy
was injured in a *bomb blast*, not a fire! It's your goddamn fault
she was in that building, you mutie freak!" He's yelling, and
everyone in the vicinity is watching with morbid curiosity.
Scott moves almost before I can register what's happened. So does
Logan. Logan has Warren from behind by both arms, to keep him from
fighting back, and Scott has placed himself square in front of Darren
Southern. They're about the same height. "Warren isn't responsible
for the bomb," Scott says.
The chaplain has come running, and hospital security is moving
closer, too. "He sent her down there!" the father yells. "He sent
her down there because he was too much of a coward to go himself! He
knew what was going to happen!"
"No, I didn't!" Warren yelled back. "She offered to go!"
"It's your fault, freak!"
"You think I wouldn't have traded places with her, you jackass?"
"That's enough!" Scott shouts with surprising authority. It might
not stop Wall Street or board rooms, but it's the voice that leads
the X-Men. It gets attention. "There will be a police
investigation," he goes on, more quietly. "The ones responsible will
be found." And I remember what he promised Warren earlier. He's not
just talking about the police, I know. Cyclops has a score to settle
on behalf of his best friend.
But it's going to take more than Scott's native authority to diffuse
the situation. There's a point past which grief will push a person,
and Candy Southern's father has hit it. His face is almost purple
with rage. Scott needs me. I *reach*. Touch. Calm. It's not a
lot. But it's enough.
Darren Southern backs down. Frustration is written all over his
features, but the violence is gone and he lets the chaplain lead him
away, back towards the family room. Back to make the awful but
necessary mundane arrangements of death. Organ donor? Funeral home?
"Thanks," I hear Warren tell Scott. Scott just nods, and moves away
� back to me.
And softly, he says, "Thanks to you, too."
He knew. He felt what I did. "You don't think it was wrong?" I'd
never before tried to use my telepathy that way. I'm unsure if it's
"It prevented a needless confrontation," he says. "You calmed him
down. I felt it. You made him able to hear what I'd said."
I smile. "We make a good team, Mr. Summers."
"We do, Dr. Grey."
And I watch the last of his energy flag abruptly. "I'm so fucking
tired," he says, and rubs at his forehead. It must be near eleven,
by this point. We've been here for hours.
"You want me to drive back?"
And oh, that's the crux, isn't it? We look at each other. "It's
over with Marie," he says. "Really over."
We stare a minute more. "I have a bag packed; it's in the car," he
says, then he winces. "My, that was tactful."
I feel my lips curve up. "You're tired. I'm tired. How about we
agree not to worry about tact. You packed a bag for what?"
He's grinning -� that damn charming grin. And he knows exactly what
it will get him. "I packed a bag for the weekend. I'd planned . . .
well, I'd thought . . . . Oh, shit!" He laughs and rubs his head
again, then glances at me. "You want to go up to the cabin with me?
Just for tonight and tomorrow, and maybe the next night? Sort this
I'm too in tune with him. I can feel his uncertainty, how he's
risked himself. He's as nervous as a school boy asking for his first
date and I respond to that nervousness, give him a smile and a touch
on the arm. All night, it's been one long series of touches between
us. "I'd like that, I think," I tell him. "But we'll need to go
back by Warren's and pick up my things." I look over to where Logan,
Betsy and Warren are sorting out details. "Think we can beat them
He straightens, and I can feel a renewed energy flow into him.
Reaching into his pocket, he palms his keys. "You know what they
call me, don't you?" And he ushers me towards the ER exit.
"The Getaway Kid."
I laugh. At all of it. I laugh at death, that it can't steal hope.
I laugh at fear, that it can't steal steadfastness. And I laugh at
grief, because love will always survive.
I survived, too. I'd walked back into an ER room tonight, and my
sanity had survived. Maybe *Doctor* Jean Grey wasn't down for the
count, after all.
Okay, so what IS Rogue up to? What are Betsy, Logan and Warren up
to? And what does Xavier think, now that his telepathic protege has
flown on her little wings? :-) And oh my, Scott and Jean . . . alone
in a cabin for the weekend -- IS that half of Jubilee's bet secured?
That enough plot bunnies released into the wild? ;>
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