Continuing direction from part 1a/10....
Much later, she woke to peer, groggy, at the clock by her bedside.
1:30, it read. Scott was still hard asleep on his half of the bed,
belly down, band over his eyes, mouth open and drooling a little on
his pillow. The light on the desk had never been turned off. Rising,
she found her plush robe and put it on, then padded into the
bathroom, cleaned herself up. Dry semen on her inner thighs reminded
her abruptly of what they hadn't remembered earlier, and should have.
They'd never stopped for him to put on a condom. Her hand with the
washcloth paused. "Damn." Condoms, used properly, were a highly
effective form of birth control. He had always used them properly. He
always did everything properly. Until tonight.
She went back to washing up. No use in crying over spilt milk.
Granted that once was all it took, but statistically speaking, the
chances of this 'once' resulting in a pregnancy were very slim.
The next afternoon though, she found a small bit of clear mucus in
the seat of her underpants -- the discharge which she and a handful
of other lucky women could count on each month on the day they were
fertile. She decided then that, statistically speaking, Russian
Roulette seemed like a good gamble, too. Until the one time a bullet
lay in the chamber.
Or, to put it more positively, with this kind of luck, she should
have played the lottery yesterday.
"Oh, Scott," she whispered softly. "Oh, shit."
She avoided him, and the professor, the rest of that day. She didn't
know what to do -- tell him or not? Prepare him or not? Maybe she was
worrying over nothing, but she had a bad feeling about this.
He didn't want a child. Not now. He'd made that clear. Eventually,
yes, and he knew she couldn't wait forever. But he wasn't ready to be
a father just yet and had told her so. His relationship with his own
father had been too ambiguous, even before his mutation.
Strong-willed and stubborn, he'd seemed destined to clash with the
strict and domineering Colonel Christopher Summers.
Like father, like son. At least she knew from where he got that damn
need to control.
Now, she watched him through a second-story window, playing on the
ball court with the boys. He shouldn't be afraid of fatherhood. He
didn't do to these kids what his own father had done to him -- he
didn't make them feel like failures. He pushed them, he challenged
them, but he gave them confidence in themselves to reach the goals he
set. So they did. Sometimes strict was good, secure. They knew where
his lines lay. And she'd never once heard him call any of them
'idiot,' which was more than she could say for what she'd heard in
his memory from the lips of his own father.
Maybe not like father, like son.
She put up one hand to the window glass and with the other, touched
her abdomen. For no particular reason, she hoped this child, if there
was one, would be a boy, a boy with eyes like his father's summer-sky
eyes which she had never seen except in pictures from *before*.
Even while she watched, Grace Kills-his-Horse strolled across the
yard arm in arm with Rogue, like sisters, if one could ignore the
racial differences. Distracted, Bobby paused long enough for Warren
to slip past his guard and slap the ball away. Teammates cheered or
jeered, depending; she could hear it even from the window. But her
eyes weren't on Bobby. Scott had raised up, too, hands on hips to say
something, presumably to Bobby -- but that wasn't the direction of
his gaze. He must have thought the sunglasses hid it, but the angle
of his head was just a little off. He was watching Grace.
Jean's hand on the glass clenched shut.
Ororo was lounging on the couch in the den, reading a book; she
looked around. Her face was calm as always, black eyes startling
under the white hair. Then she smiled. "Want a piece of the couch?"
Jean shook her head, tried to smile without much success. At least
Scott wasn't around. But then, after yet another argument with him
that morning, she'd made sure he wouldn't be. She came closer, set a
hand on the back of the leather, said softly. "Could we go for a
walk. I . . . need someone to talk to."
Ororo's surprise was transparent. The two of them were friends, but
only friends. Scott had always been Jean's confidant, or the
professor. Jean's life and Ororo's had been so different, they had
little in common besides their mutations and their devotion to the
But for once in her life, she needed to talk to a woman. An adult
"Sure," Ororo said now, slipping in a bookmark and standing. She was
dressed in black leather pants and a clingy lime sweater which shade
should have looked ridiculous but didn't next to her cocoa skin and
ice hair. Jean felt like a frump. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.
*Who else are you going to talk to?*, she asked herself. *Grace?*
"Let's go," Ororo said and headed for the front door.
It was a Sunday afternoon and the sun was glorious, the hardwood on
the hills decked out in full fall dress. Kids enjoyed their day off.
She saw Jake O'Dell, Warren Worthington and John Proudstar tossing a
frisbee. It had been three weeks since Jake's accident, since Jean's
fight with Scott, and since their make up afterward.
Jean didn't say anything to Ororo until they were well away from the
rest of the students, out near the pasture where the horses grazed,
including the black-bay that belonged to Scott. Seeing Jean, the bay
trotted over to nose her flannel shirt, looking for a treat. She
scratched him between the ears. "Sorry lardbutt, I didn't plan on
coming this way so I didn't bring anything for you." Almost as if he
could understand, he sighed in a gust of grass-sweet breath and
"So?" Ororo prompted finally, pushed herself up to sit on the top of
the wooden fence rail.
Jean pulled a small white plastic strip out of her pocket and handed
it up to Ororo, who took it with a frown. "What is this?"
"Pregnancy test," Jean replied.
Ororo's eyes widened and she turned it so that she could read the
results, though she must have guessed what the results would be or
there wouldn't have been a reason for Jean to be out here talking to
her. Her lips curled up. "Congratulations."
Jean leaned into the fence and put her face in her arms, shook her
head. Tension from the past several weeks burst up and out like a
volcano; she sobbed once, hard. "He doesn't want it."
The fence rocked as Ororo hopped down to put arms around Jean's
shoulders, hugging her tight. "Fuck him! Is that why I did not see
him at lunch?"
Jean raised up, wiped her eyes. "No. I haven't even told him yet. We
haven't . . . been talking easily of late. But I know he doesn't want
"How do you know?"
"He told me. Before." She looked down at her hands. "It's not like we
haven't discussed children."
"He does not want them at all?"
"Oh, he wants them. Just not now."
"Well, you are not married yet."
"It's more than that. He's not ready. So he says."
"He has, what -- eight months? -- to get ready."
"Nine, really. Thirty-seven weeks and counting. A normal pregnancy
takes forty weeks."
Ororo might not teach math, but she could add and subtract. She had
to guess when Jean had gotten pregnant. Now, she rubbed Jean's back.
"How are you feeling? Any morning sickness?"
"Not yet. Nothing yet."
"When are you going to tell him?"
"I don't know. Maybe I won't have to."
"Why?" Ororo seemed genuinely surprised. "Are you not planning on
Jean had considered that option, but now just shook her head. "I
meant that not every pregnancy goes to term; about half of all
fertilizations terminate spontaneously. Usually in the first week or
so, but still. Three weeks isn't that long."
Hand still on Jean's back, Ororo asked, "Do you want this baby?"
"I don't know, Ro. I don't know. I didn't mean for this to happen. It
was an accident."
"You must tell him."
"He's going to be angry."
"Maybe. But you must tell him anyway. It is his child, too. And he
might surprise you. He will make a good father."
Jean sighed. "I know he will. That's not what worries me." She sighed
again. "I'll tell him. Tonight. If you hear lots of shouting coming
from our room after supper, you'll know why." She smiled ruefully.
"It might be shouting in glee."
"Somehow, I doubt it."
"Pessimist. Tell him and find out."
And Jean did fully intend to tell him.
Except Logan came back that same afternoon.
End of Chapter 4, go on to Chapter 5 . . . .
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