Title: Personal Demons
Author: Jocelyn (jdog985@...
Feedback: Please! This is my first serious fic!
Summary: Cyclops is imprisoned and tortured by an anti-mutant group.
Characters: All the main characters, Gambit, and a few originals
(Allen, Andy, Nadine, Charlotte) just to add to the student body.
Rating: PG-13 for violence.
Disclaimer: I don't own the X-men, Brian Singer and Marvel
do. I'm not making any money off this fic.
* Denotes unspoken thought by characters
Epilogue: the mansion, ten days later
Considering how bad things could have been, the damage to the mansion
was relatively minor, and the X-men and the students were able to
repair it in only a few days. Cyclops and Storm's injuries
quickly as well. Other scars would last considerably longer.
With the initial repairs over, and the normal routine back, the
students and their teachers had nothing to distract them from the
horror of what had taken place, and the trauma became more evident in
the students. Jean especially had to work on restoring the
children's security. The younger children were easiest to help;
were willing to admit their fears. For the older students,
especially the ones on the first floor who'd witnessed the
was much harder.
Nearly two weeks after repairs were over, Rogue sat in Storm's
trying to concentrate on Geometry. Next to her, Bobby heaved a quiet
sigh, and inadvertently froze his notebook. With a disgusted scowl,
he smacked it against the side of his desk to break the ice off.
All her friends were reacting to the ordeal in different ways.
Jubilee wasn't the weepy type, but Rogue and Kitty could hear her
crying every night when they went to bed. Kitty had entirely
abandoned doorknobs and just walked through everything because she
was too spaced out to care. Bobby was snapping at everybody, and
Remy was actually applying himself to his studyingwith a
John, the resident smartass, never said a word unless someone spoke
to him and then it was always a one-word answer. Nadine wasn't
bothering to control her bioluminescence and she glowed all day
long. Charlotte wasn't sleeping, and Andy and Allen kept getting
*I thought we could forget this by now, or at least start to get past
it,* Rogue thought unhappily. *If anything, things were easier when
we had to repair the mansion, at least then there was a distraction.
Or maybe then we were just in denial. Now, it feels like it's
only just beginning to sink in.*
Shortly after he began helping the other X-men teach classes, Logan
had added an array of punching bags to the room in the mansion that
served as a gymnasium. One night, he came in to find Scott beating
the crap out of one of them. "Nice hook," was all he could
startled by Cyke's ferocity.
Scott smashed his fist into it one last time and stopped, breathing
" Logan searched for something to say. "You
"What? Yeah. I'm fine." With a quick nod, Scott walked
and out the door.
Logan stared after him, muttering, "Hell."
Scott wandered through the quiet mansion, trying to wear himself
out. The truth was, he hadn't had a full night's sleep since
second attack. After being rescued from the compound, he had just
been starting to heal mentally when Elaine Hull had attacked, and he
had found himself in her power once again. This time, it wasn't
easy to get over. He rarely got more than an hour's sleep at a
before the nightmares started. Fortunately, Jean could hear them and
wake him up before he started screaming. The last thing they needed
was for him to freak the kids out again.
For reasons no one could understand, Scott was angry at himself for
what had happened. The kids had stopped looking apprehensively at
himas if expecting him to drop dead before their eyesbut he
couldn't mistake their distress at what Elaine Hull had done to
He couldn't stand knowing that they had seen and heard him
complete helplessness like that. They needed to be able to depend on
It had taken time for Jean to sense how he felt, and she'd been
frustrated by his guilt, "For God's sake, Scott, you're
can't have expectations of yourself that high, or you'll
"I should have blasted her when I had the chance," he had
"The Professor did. I don't even remember moving my
hand." Scott had
sighed, knowing she was right, but still upset, "I can't get
this, Jean. Those kids are never going to get over having witnessed
Jean sank onto the bed next to him and put her hands on his
shoulders, "Listen to me, so-called fearless leader," she had
looking hard through the glasses into his eyes. "Yes, the
are still worried about you. We have to protect them, but it would
be foolish to try and shelter them from everything. Professor Xavier
explained Elaine Hull to them; they've come to terms with what
was and what she did. But they're smart enough to know that she
scarred you, and as long as you try to pretend you're perfectly
they'll know you aren't." She'd given him a little
shake, "They don't
expect you to be untouched. You're allowed to hurt!" Through
connection to his mind, Scott had felt her desperation. And before
he could stop himself, he had felt guilty for distressing her.
*The only one around here who really wants you to be perfect is you,*
Scott told himself irritably as he wandered the grounds alone.
made it nearly to the edge of the woods, but stopped there and headed
back toward the mansion. Usually, walking outdoors relaxed him, but
he could only feel himself growing more strained. *What the hell is
the matter with me?*
Walking back, he noticed a light was still burning on the first
floor. He counted the windows over; it was Kitty, Jubilee, and
Rogue's room. *What are they still doing up at this hour?*
up the pace, he headed inside.
Inside the dorm room, a late-night meeting was going on, much quieter
than the wild slumber party that had turned into a predawn rock
concert two months before. Kitty, Jubilee, Rogue, Bobby, John,
Nadine, Charlotte, Andy, Allen, and Remy were crowded into the room
again, having a much more serious discussion. "I hate
Jubilee said softly. "Sometimes I wake up and I swear I can hear
voice outside the door."
"Me too," everyone else agreed.
Kitty was rubbing her chin; it was a nervous habit she'd had
Elaine Hull had stuck that gun against her throat. Rogue added,
thought once I was trained with the others, I wouldn't be scared
anything anymore." She laughed ironically, "Now I get more
"It's `cause you've got to help protect all of
us," Bobby said wryly.
"Since none of us seem to have a clue what to do in a crisis!"
" Nadine hesitated, "feel guilty?"
She was answered by multiple nods, "When we opened the door and
that she had Kitty," Allen sighed, "I kept thinking that I
able to do something," he shook his head, "but I was just
"And then when we had our doors shut and we could hear Mr.
Kitty's lip trembled. "I was so sure she'd killed
"That still wakes me up too," Andy agreed.
"That wakes me up more than anything else," Remy murmured.
the way she looked at me." He made a face, "It was like being
at by the devil."
"I can't stop myself from listening to the woods,"
"I hear a raccoon or an owl and I'm ready to sound the
"Hell, you don't need supernatural ears to hear things,"
her. "I nearly screamed when the stairs creaked last night."
"D'you suppose Mr. Summers has nightmares?" Jubilee asked.
"I know I would." "Are you kidding?"
"I'd've jumped off one of the
balconies by now if she'd done to me what she did to him."
awake every night."
"He is?" the other kids stared at Charlotte.
She blushed, "I know I'm not supposed to listen, but when
only person moving in the middle of the night, I can hear him."
Nobody knew what to make of that, "Oh."
"Still, I bet he's dealing with this a hell of a lot better
are," Allen muttered.
"Well, that's a given, isn't it?" Nadine replied.
"He deals with
scary stuff all the time. Give yourself a few missions, Rogue, then
maybe nothing'll ever bother you again either."
Outside the door, Scott stood paralyzed. His hand had stopped in
front of the doorknob, and he couldn't make himself turn it.
dunno about that," Rogue was saying. "Even Mr. Summers has
kidnapped and tortured twice."
"I just wish I knew how he handles it," Kitty sighed. "I
get hurt aside from getting yanked through a door by my hair, and
Scott heard a thump as she punched the bed in frustration, "I
eat, I can't sleep, I can't concentrate on ANYTHING!"
"C'mere, Kitty," John said, and Scott heard a muffled sob.
"I'll bet the little kids are getting over this better than
Bobby laughed, but there was a strange catch in his voice.
it's been two weeks, only it's just now starting to really
Like a delayed reaction."
Scott suppressed a groan and leaned his head against the wall. But
he forgot one thing; even that infinitesimal noise was more than
enough for Charlotte to hear. She gasped and everyone exclaimed,
"What was that?" he heard her say.
"What'd you hear?"
"There's someone outside the door!" she squeaked, her
focusing on the sound of Scott's breathing.
Scott sighed, reached out, and opened the door to reveal ten
teenagers staring at him in shock, "It's just me."
" the kids looked at each other and Rogue finally
long have you been out there?"
He leaned against the now-repaired doorframe, "Long enough to
that you all still have some issues."
" Kitty stammered, frantically trying to wipe her
then she gave up and shrugged. "I guess we do."
Scott nodded, groping for the right words, "You're not the
ones." The kids all blinked at him simultaneously when they
he was referring to himself, "Can I come in?"
"Huh?" Jubilee looked baffled, then blurted, "Uh, yeah,
The kids scrambled to make room for him to sit on one of the beds.
The kids stared at him intently as if they expected words of wisdom;
instead, Scott told them, "I just realized I've been dealing
worse than anyone else in the building. I think
have the right idea." Awkwardly, he elaborated, "The right
talking about it instead of bottling it all up
like I've been
At last, he saw comprehension in their faces as they understood what
he meant. Kitty slowly smiled, "You know, it feels better
other people feel the same way."
Scott smiled back, and everyone relaxed. As much to himself as to
Kitty, he said, "I'll try to remember that."
They talked until two-thirty in the morning, then went back to their
Jean stirred and looked at Scott as he slipped into bed beside her,
wondering what the hell he'd been doing up until all hours. She
planned on reading him the riot act the next morning, but when she
did get up at her usual time, something was different. Scott was
still sound asleep, even though he was usually out of bed before Jean
was. Leaning towards him, she lightly cupped her hand next to his
cheek, listening to his unconscious mind. Then it dawned on her, *No
nightmares.* She reached over and turned off the alarm clock so it
wouldn't wake him up, then dressed quietly and left.
Jean left a note for her first Anatomy class to tell them she'd
few minutes late, then went to Mechanics to find Logan and the
students still waiting for Scott. "Logan, can you go solo today?
Scott can't make it."
"Sure, no problem." Logan looked concerned, "Is he
Jean moved closer to Logan and lowered her voice, "He's fine.
the first time in a long time. Now he's just catching up on some
Logan looked surprised, then gave her a crooked smile, "This
have anything with that little pow-wow in Rogue's room last
does it?" He nodded past Jean, and she turned to see that out of
slumber party crowd, only Rogue had arrived for class, "Rogue
Kitty and Jube needed to miss class, and Cyke left a note excusing
seven other kids from the morning classes. What the hell were they
Jean smiled, feeling weeks of anxiety finally lifting off her
shoulders, "Probably talking it out."
Well? Well? There's the finished product, what did you think? I'm
eager for everyone's opinion!