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677FIC: Personal Demons (Epilogue)

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  • jdog985@hotmail.com
    Sep 4, 2000
    • 0 Attachment
      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
      Comics
      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
      healed
      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;
      they
      were willing to admit their fears. For the older students,
      especially the ones on the first floor who'd witnessed the
      attack, it
      was much harder.

      Nearly two weeks after repairs were over, Rogue sat in Storm's
      class
      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 studying—with a
      vengeance.
      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
      into fights.

      *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
      all
      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
      say,
      startled by Cyke's ferocity.

      Scott smashed his fist into it one last time and stopped, breathing
      hard, "Thanks."

      "Listen, uh…" Logan searched for something to say. "You
      all right?"

      "What? Yeah. I'm fine." With a quick nod, Scott walked
      past Logan
      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
      the
      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
      so
      easy to get over. He rarely got more than an hour's sleep at a
      time
      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
      him—as if expecting him to drop dead before their eyes—but he
      couldn't mistake their distress at what Elaine Hull had done to
      him.
      He couldn't stand knowing that they had seen and heard him
      reduced to
      complete helplessness like that. They needed to be able to depend on
      him.

      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
      human! You
      can't have expectations of yourself that high, or you'll
      always be
      disappointed."

      "I should have blasted her when I had the chance," he had
      said
      bitterly.

      "You did!"

      "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
      rid of
      this, Jean. Those kids are never going to get over having witnessed
      that."

      Jean sank onto the bed next to him and put her hands on his
      shoulders, "Listen to me, so-called fearless leader," she had
      said,
      looking hard through the glasses into his eyes. "Yes, the
      students
      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
      she
      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
      fine,
      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
      Jean's
      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.
      He'd
      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?*
      Picking
      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
      sleeping,"
      Jubilee said softly. "Sometimes I wake up and I swear I can hear
      her
      voice outside the door."

      "Me too," everyone else agreed.

      Kitty was rubbing her chin; it was a nervous habit she'd had
      since
      Elaine Hull had stuck that gun against her throat. Rogue added,
      "I
      thought once I was trained with the others, I wouldn't be scared
      of
      anything anymore." She laughed ironically, "Now I get more
      scared
      than ever."

      "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!"

      "Do you…" Nadine hesitated, "feel guilty?"

      She was answered by multiple nods, "When we opened the door and
      saw
      that she had Kitty," Allen sighed, "I kept thinking that I
      should be
      able to do something," he shook his head, "but I was just
      frozen.
      Staring."

      "And then when we had our doors shut and we could hear Mr.
      Summers,"
      Kitty's lip trembled. "I was so sure she'd killed
      him."

      "That still wakes me up too," Andy agreed.

      "That wakes me up more than anything else," Remy murmured.
      "That and
      the way she looked at me." He made a face, "It was like being
      smiled
      at by the devil."

      "I can't stop myself from listening to the woods,"
      Charlotte added.
      "I hear a raccoon or an owl and I'm ready to sound the
      alarm."

      "Hell, you don't need supernatural ears to hear things,"
      John told
      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."
      "He's
      awake every night."

      "He is?" the other kids stared at Charlotte.

      She blushed, "I know I'm not supposed to listen, but when
      he's the
      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
      than we
      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.
      "I
      dunno about that," Rogue was saying. "Even Mr. Summers has
      never been
      kidnapped and tortured twice."

      "I just wish I knew how he handles it," Kitty sighed. "I
      didn't even
      get hurt aside from getting yanked through a door by my hair, and
      I,"
      Scott heard a thump as she punched the bed in frustration, "I
      can't
      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
      we are,"
      Bobby laughed, but there was a strange catch in his voice.
      "It's like…
      it's been two weeks, only it's just now starting to really
      hit us.
      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?!"

      "What was that?" he heard her say.

      "What'd you hear?"

      "There's someone outside the door!" she squeaked, her
      ears now
      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."

      "I…we…" the kids looked at each other and Rogue finally
      blurted, "How
      long have you been out there?"

      He leaned against the now-repaired doorframe, "Long enough to
      hear
      that you all still have some issues."

      "Well, we…" Kitty stammered, frantically trying to wipe her
      eyes, but
      then she gave up and shrugged. "I guess we do."

      Scott nodded, groping for the right words, "You're not the
      only
      ones." The kids all blinked at him simultaneously when they
      realized
      he was referring to himself, "Can I come in?"

      "Huh?" Jubilee looked baffled, then blurted, "Uh, yeah,
      of course!"
      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
      with…
      what happened…worse than anyone else in the building. I think
      you
      have the right idea." Awkwardly, he elaborated, "The right
      idea by
      talking about it instead of bottling it all up…like I've been
      doing."

      At last, he saw comprehension in their faces as they understood what
      he meant. Kitty slowly smiled, "You know, it feels better
      knowing
      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
      own beds.

      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
      be a
      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
      okay?"

      Jean moved closer to Logan and lowered her voice, "He's fine.
      For
      the first time in a long time. Now he's just catching up on some
      sleep."

      Logan looked surprised, then gave her a crooked smile, "This
      doesn't
      have anything with that little pow-wow in Rogue's room last
      night,
      does it?" He nodded past Jean, and she turned to see that out of
      the
      slumber party crowd, only Rogue had arrived for class, "Rogue
      said
      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
      doing?"

      Jean smiled, feeling weeks of anxiety finally lifting off her
      shoulders, "Probably talking it out."

      ~Fin~

      Well? Well? There's the finished product, what did you think? I'm
      eager for everyone's opinion!