3618FIC: Silk and Steel by Pollyanna (Unspoken RR #29)
- Oct 1, 2001Wonderful, glorious Pollyanna has yet again pulled out a fabulous Xavier
(and Scott!) story for your perusal. Feedback to her directly or the list
and I'll forward.
Title: Silk and Steel
Author: Pollyanna (pollyanna@...)
Series: Unspoken RR #29
Rating: R for slash and some language
Summary: Xavier and Scott discuss barriers.
Notes: Sheesh, you gals write so fast! By the time I've thought of an
idea, you're five relationships further into the story. Oh well, think
this will fit after Min's 'Trying' ... if I'm quick ...
Scott was torn between dread and relief that this was the morning of
his weekly review meeting with the Professor. Dread, that Xavier would
immediately sense what a certifiable disaster zone he was inside, even
if the glasses did hide his haggard and probably red-rimmed eyes.
Relief, at this oasis of routine amidst the chaotic rubble of his
life. As the meeting progressed, the familiar reports and analysis
began to soothe him, helping him to regain some measure of
equilibrium. First, the accounts and any unexpected expenditure or
proposals for future spending. Then, the school and pupils that needed
help, or praise, or just a stern look in passing. (A telepath and a
guilty conscience tended to generate enough self-punishment for minor
infractions.) Finally, the current status of the X-Men and their
equipment, with any prospective changes.
"We've already discussed the idea of those older students who are
considering joining the X-Men going on some of the training exercises,
and I think it will be of benefit to them if they go in pairs rather
than as individuals. It will give them a chance to interact with their
contemporaries as team members and we'll be able to monitor which
personalities and gifts work best together," he was saying as he
turned to the last sheet in his folder. "I suggest that we start off
with Kitty and John, then Jubilee and Bobby. Ororo can take both pairs
out within the next month."
"Is there any reason why Ororo shouldn't take one pair and you the
other?" asked the Professor.
"I thought it best that one team leader appraise all the potential
candidates,. Her team is in reserve this month, and the students will
probably feel more comfortable ... " he trailed off as he tried to
find the right phrasing.
"In a team that is not an emotional minefield of relationships?"
Scott shut the folder and seemed to be fascinated by the X embossed on
its cover. "Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the fact that
telepathy is a mutant gift?"
"Not out loud," Xavier said with a smile of rueful sympathy.
"I suppose you've been trying not to eavesdrop on the ongoing
Westchester soap opera," said Scott with a touch of bitterness that he
"You know I would never enter another mind uninvited, Scott. But the
feelings have been so strong recently that they've been breaking
through everyone's barriers including my own. I can adjust my gift but
like Logan's sense of smell it cannot ..."
Scott held up a hand in a 'stop' gesture. "I really don't want to hear
Logan's name right now."
"Ah," said Xavier managing to imbue the sound with a wealth of
expression. He was quiet for a moment, then continued, "Do you want to
hear Marie's name, or is that another one you can't face?"
Scott's head whipped up then dropped again to regard his hands, lying
on the folder in front of him, clenched in a knot of fingers. "Marie
and I are no longer engaged. We've talked ... we've tried ... last
night ... we weren't ... I wasn't able ..." He hesitated, unable to
find words that described his utter failure as a man and a person.
"There's too much separating Marie and I now, perhaps there always was."
Xavier spoke gently, "You still care for her deeply. Are you sure
there's no way forward together?"
Scott shook his head silently.
"What if I was to tell you that Marie could control her gift so you
could touch at last? No barriers between you."
Scott sucked in his breath as if he'd been struck. For a moment his
thoughts were full of pale skin, unguarded, warm to his touch, but
when he concentrated the face wasn't the one that had greeted him so
many mornings. The laugh he gave had little humour in it. "A year ago,
even a month ago, that might have made all the difference. Do you
really mean it? She has the ability to touch?"
"Not yet, but we have been working on it and I am confident that she
will be able to very soon. The force of her gift is exceptionally
strong, but so is Marie."
"Yes, she is." Scott considered what Xavier had revealed, and for the
first time in many days felt an uncomplicated emotion and surprised,
recognised it as happiness. He looked up and smiled at Xavier. "I'm
glad for her, she will be overjoyed. It's something she's wanted for
"You've both wanted it."
"But it's too late for us. It wasn't the real barrier. We just used it
They sat in silence for a while. Then Xavier began to speak, faltered
and began again. Scott looked up, his attention caught by the
hesitation of the man who always seemed so assured.
"You know ... You're aware that Erik and I were very ... close."
Scott was astonished. He had known for a long time that Magneto and
Xavier had been friends when younger, but when Marie had been forced
to absorb some of Magneto's power she had also taken his personality
for a short while. Her tenderness towards the Professor had been
simultaneously touching and horrific. When he had realised what it
meant, he was ashamed to admit to himself that he had had what Jubilee
might describe as an 'Eeew' moment. His self-disgust was only
mitigated slightly by the realisation that he was having a belated and
slightly misplaced 'my parents had sex' epiphany. He remembered Marie
murmuring as she fell asleep one night soon after, "He loves him so
very much." He had lain awake that night coming to terms with the
waywardness of emotions, and now he wondered if that taste of true
love had been a revelation to Marie as well. He realised that Xavier
was still waiting for a reply.
"Yes," he said firmly trying to project acceptance. "I know."
Xavier smiled and nodded, then continued. "At that period it was not
only something that could not be expressed openly, but it was illegal.
However I was very rich which buys a lot of blind eyes and we were
both very discreet. Erik and I had the same vision of humanity and
mutants co-existing peacefully together and it was only as time went
by that we realised we wanted to achieve this aim by different
methods. There came an evening when there was a party here in the
mansion. Rich and influential people were invited so we could wine and
dine them, and give them a warm feeling about their tolerance for
these freaks that were beginning to appear. Erik and I would do little
tricks like bending spoons or reading cards. One of the guests had
drunk rather too much and was beginning to verge on insults when he
was talking to me. Erik listened for a while and then said in a voice
that carried all too well, 'Does it bother you more that he's a
cripple, or a mutant, or that I'm fucking him?' Then he walked out. As
host I couldn't follow him but luckily, and perhaps not surprisingly,
the guests began to leave soon after. Then I went upstairs and Erik
and I had the mother and father of all arguments. We only refrained
from resorting to our powers because we knew we were so evenly
matched. The next day he left, and it was many weeks before I
understood why he'd apparently abandoned all prudence."
Scott understood immediately. "You needed a barrier."
"Yes, we couldn't carry on together and Erik chose not to drag it out.
When we stormed and ranted at each other, it was the world we were
Scott thought back to how he and Marie had been tearing each other
apart these last few days. It was more satisfying to hurt a person
than an uncaring world. Yet Marie was one of the people in the world
he least wanted to see hurt. When had he forgotten that? The future
they would have together was not what he had planned, but he wanted
her to have a place in his life even if she would no longer be by his
side. And if he was to be alone, well, he wasn't the only one.
"Do you think you and ... " Scott hesitated, 'Magneto' seemed too
impersonal, but he couldn't bring himself to use 'Erik'. He continued,
"Lensherr will ever be together again?"
"I think of it every day. I imagine that Erik will have a Road to
Damascus experience and be filled with love for all mankind."
Xavier's raised eyebrow invited Scott to share the mockery. His voice
became colder. "I fear that humans will do something so terrible that
the only path I can see is to join with Erik to war against them. I
hope, or perhaps dream, that there will come a day when humans and
mutants see only people when they look at each other."
Scott reached out his hand and covered Xavier's where it lay on the
desk. "That's my dream, too." Xavier laid his other hand on top of
Scott's, then as the moment lengthened and threatened to shatter
Scott's hard-won composure, he smiled with an expression of mischief
that made him seem younger than Scott. "And, of course, there are
those moments when I think we should just run away and join the
circus. Erik could bend iron bars and I could do a mind-reading act."
Scott was surprised into a hoot of laughter and anyone passing the
study would have wondered why Mr. Summers was suddenly so happy.
Hey I wonder if one of the students might have been passing by? *G*
"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will
annoy enough people to make it worth the effort."