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Fic: Good intentions, 4/4 (S,R, everyone)

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  • Katarina Hjärpe
    ((for disclaimers et.c., check the first part)) ********** Scott sat on the TV room sofa with his arms wrapped around his knees. He had tried listening to a
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 6, 2000
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      ((for disclaimers et.c., check the first part))

      **********
      Scott sat on the TV room sofa with his arms wrapped around his knees. He
      had tried listening to a radio version of �The Hitchhiker�s Guide to the
      Galaxy�, but had given it up since he lacked the concentration. Now he just
      sat there, thinking. He hated to admit it, but he envied Rogue. Every moment
      of comfort he shared with her, he always had to stop himself from screaming
      it in her face. He loved the girl like a sister, and he could share things
      with her that he was entirely grateful Jean would never understand, but he
      couldn�t get past that envy. The awful memories she had, the people (not to
      mention mice) in her head, those were all things she had to deal with, but
      could work her way through. For him, every path he thought of was a door
      slammed in his face.
      �I know you�re there,� he told Xavier. The professor had his mind shielded,
      but he couldn�t shield away the sounds. �What do you want?�
      �You left your cane in your bedroom,� Xavier said mildly. �Jean wanted me
      to bring it to you.�
      Scott hesitated a little, then stretched out his hand and received the
      cane. Not sure what to do with it, he put it aside. He had agreed to Jean
      getting him one, but when it came to using it, he avoided it as much as
      possible. Canes were for blind people, and deep down he still wanted to
      think of this as a passing darkness.
      �Scott, don�t resent the cane. It�s meant to be helpful.�
      �I know that.� He knew it, but he couldn�t act on it.
      Xavier viewed this young man he loved so highly, and then parked his
      wheelchair and moved over to the sofa. For this conversation, he needed that
      closeness. Softly, he continued to speak.
      �I know how hard it is for you to admit, but you *are* blind, Scott. We
      might be able to change that, but right now, that�s the way things are.
      That�s going to have great impact on your life, but you mustn�t let it
      swallow you. Don�t deny yourself the help you can actually get.�
      �You don�t understand,� Scott argued, fighting the tears.
      �I *do* understand. I have been there, remember? Don�t you think there was
      a time when I resented my wheelchair, refused to admit that I needed it? And
      yet, where would I be without it? The cane is a physical proof of your
      handicap, and as such it is very difficult to accept. But properly used, it
      can lessen your handicap, allow you more possibilities, just like my chair
      does for me.�
      �At least you still have your powers. I don�t have anything.�
      Xavier felt a sudden urge to grab him by the shoulders and shake him. �You
      have Jean, and me, and Rogue, all your friends here, everything you�ve
      learned� Everything you�ve always known. That�s not gone, Scott. All those
      things that made you a good man, a good leader, that�s still left. If you
      think the only great things about you were your eyes, you�re sorely
      mistaken.�
      Scott put his face in his hands and removed his glasses to wipe the tears
      away. Even if that was true, there were still all the closed doors, all the
      things he used to do and couldn�t. �I�m just not ready to give it all up.�
      He could have sworn he could *hear* Xavier smile. �Who said you have to?�
      **********
      On the first day of school, there was plenty of gossip in the hallways as
      the summer residents tried to fill in the others of the latest events.
      ��and Storm has been made field leader.�
      The shocked questions. �Is he *never* going to see again?�
      Rogue leaned towards the wall, ignoring the discussion. For her it was too
      personal, and she had noticed that if she tried to participate, things just
      turned awkward. The only thing that stopped them from discussing *her* was
      that she was right in front of them. That didn�t bother her much. She would
      have done the exact same thing.
      This next class was history, usually held by Scott, and Kitty said what was
      going through all of their minds: �But who is going to teach us?�
      Even as she spoke, everybody silenced, because Scott rounded the corner and
      tapped his way towards the classroom. Nobody would have thought it possible
      for twenty teenagers to get that quiet that fast, but within a second you
      could have heard a pin drop. When they realised he was actually coming
      towards them, most of them didn�t even seem to breathe. Rogue felt a cold
      irritation building inside her that hadn�t been there during the mindless
      conversation before. These were mutants, for crying out loud, they had seen
      it all from wings to blue fur. Why were they acting like this was the most
      shocking thing in the universe? By now, she had grown so close to Scott that
      she could notice the tiny cracks in his surface, and she saw how hard it was
      for him to go through with this, how the faint replies to his morning
      greetings almost made him leave instantly. When he opened the door, there
      was a three foot wide empty circle around him. She slipped into that circle,
      laying her hand on his as a quiet sign of encouragement. His face weakened a
      little, and she prayed he would be able to keep his calm. The only thing
      that would make this situation even more awkward would be if he started to
      cry or something. She knew he could, but they didn�t, and this was not the
      proper time for them to find out.
      Still silent, the class slowly went inside the classroom and sat down,
      watching Scott take his chair. He leaned his hands on the desk and took a
      deep breath. *Come on*, Rogue thought, *you can do it!*
      �To begin with Kitty�s question: I�m still going to teach this class. It�s
      going to require some changes� a lot of changes� but I think we can go
      through with this.� He licked his lips. Fearless leader, indeed. Maybe he
      could stand fearless in front of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but to
      stand in front of this class, now, was terrifying. �If you have any
      objections, I won�t hold it against you.� He silenced, waiting for response.
      There was none. �Do you?�
      There were glances thrown between the students, but nobody spoke. Scott
      forced a strained smile. �I do hope you�re not putting your hands up,
      because that would be rather pointless.�
      �We�re not,� Bobby said. His voice seemed very loud in the silent
      classroom, but it was as if the entire class had simultaneously exhaled, and
      Scott finally gav them the drop dead smile.
      �I�m glad to hear that. Now, as for attention, I think it would be best if
      you all said your name, starting in the front row, left to right.�
      Rogue heard the leader come forward in Scott�s voice, and she blessed
      Bobby. Who cared if he put itching powder in people�s drawers or
      accidentally turned the floor into a skating rink. He still knew the right
      thing to say and the right time to say it.
      The boy sitting to the front left didn�t speak immediately, but after a
      nudge from the girl next to him, he cleared his throat:
      �Uhm� Kurt Wagner.�
      �Stacey Beckstead.�
      �Sarah Loewe.�
      �Piotr Rasputin.�
      When everyone had said their names, Sam Guthrie, in the back row, started
      raising his hand, but then let it fall back and instead asked: �Uhm� sir?�
      �Yes?� Scott turned towards the voice. �Who�s asking?�
      The boy looked a little embarrassed. �Sam.�
      �Okay, Sam, what do you want?�
      �Does this mean we won�t have any written tests?�
      The question caught Scott off guard, and he laughed. �You will probably get
      more oral tasks than before, but if you want something written I�m sure I
      can arrange for someone else to correct it.�
      Jubilee elbowed Sam and whispered: �dumbass!� between her teeth.
      �No,� Scott said, and his voice was serious. �Please, no. It�s a justified
      question.� He ran his fingers through his hair, distressed. �If someone
      wants to ask anything else, that�s okay.�
      There was another one of those big silences. Hundreds of questions were
      unspoken, but nobody had the nerve to say one out loud. Rogue look around
      the twenty faces that were full of uncomfort and pity, and maybe it was
      Logan coming forward, because she raised her voice.
      �It�s Rogue, I have a question.�
      Scott frowned. This he hadn�t expected. �Yes, Rogue?�
      �Was Pharaoh Hatshupset�s claim to the throne rightful?�
      A flicker of a smile. *I love you, girl.* �Okay. Let�s just have a history
      lesson. Concerning the lady pharaoh��
      **********
      Jean called for Scott as the kids streamed out of the classroom. �How was
      it?�
      �Well�� he said. �Hell, hell and a little touch of purgatory.�
      �Oh, come on,� she said, laughing a little. �It can�t have been that bad.�
      �Worse.�
      �Well, I want a second opinion. Rogue!� Jean called for the girl to come
      join them, and she did. �How did he do?�
      �Not too bad for a guy who is still learning the alphabet,� Rogue said
      cheekily.
      �Hey!� Scott objected, but his face got lighter, and Jean giggled.
      �Not a complete disaster then?�
      �Not a complete one,� Rogue agreed and disappeared into the hallways. Jean
      looked after her, a little surprised.
      �Logan must have gone deeper into her than I thought.�
      �It�s not that,� Scott said in a low voice. The kids had scattered for the
      break, and the two of them could speak freely. �I�ve had to try and teach
      twenty teenagers who were all full of sympathy. If it hadn�t been for Rogue,
      I would have gotten nuts in there. Do you know how many half-spoken �see�
      you can get from a school class in an hour? I do. It would make a great math
      example for you.� His tone was bitter, and she slipped an arm around his, a
      little worried.
      �You�re not giving up, are you?�
      He shook his head. �No. I can�t go back to the X-men, I need to feel that
      there�s something I can do. Of course, Logan seems to want me to rejoin the
      team and just change my code name into Zatoichi.�
      �Maybe he�s right,� Jean said.
      �No he�s not, and you know it. Blind warriors might work in samurai stories
      and cartoon musicals, but try to be realistic here. Maybe I could still whip
      Mystique�s ass, but I couldn�t hold my ground with Magneto for half a
      second.�
      �I think whipping Mystique�s ass would count as a valid reason for me to
      break off the engagement,� Jean said.
      �Cute. Don�t change the subject.�
      �Well, I want to change the subject, because you are entering self-pitying
      area again, and you really shouldn�t. You�ve been very brave today, and I�m
      proud of you, if that counts for anything.�
      �Of course it does,� he said, cuddling her face gently. �So, if I�ve been
      such a good boy, what�s my reward?�
      Her face split in a wide grin. �Whatever you want, handsome.�
      **********
      Bobby and Rogue were sitting on her bed, playing cards. There was some
      nasty weather today that Storm had nothing to do with, and it was very cosy
      to listen to the autumn winds and know you didn�t have to go outside.
      �I don�t believe it,� Rogue said and put her cards down. �You�re winning
      again. You must be cheating!�
      �Me? Never,� Bobby assured her.
      �Then you�re just better than me and I should stop playing and go out in
      the garden to eat worms.�
      �Aww,� he said, taking her gloved hand. �I didn�t mean to make you sad.�
      Rogue looked down at her hand, that he held so naturally, and her heart
      skipped a beat. He was making a pass at her. In many ways that felt as
      incredibly right as anything could ever be, but at the same time she could
      suddenly hear Doctor Chandler�s sweet voice all over again. *I don�t
      understand why you are crying. Sure this is uncomfortable, but think of how
      wonderful it will be if it works! Think of boys! You can�t have been dating
      much lately.*
      She pulled her hand back and got up. �I�ll just� take a shower,� she said,
      backing towards the bathroom. �I�ll be back in a minute.�
      Once inside the bathroom, she got her clothes off so quickly she could feel
      a seam break in her blouse, but she didn�t care. Not until she stepped into
      the shower did she breathe properly again, and she relaxed one piece at the
      time when the burning hot water started pouring over her body. She rubbed
      herself frantically, and the burning pain in her skin told her she was
      getting cleaner.
      A sudden drop in temperature made her jump out of the shower, screaming.
      �Bobby!!!� Although the boy wasn�t in the bathroom, it was obvious that he
      had been: the pipes were packed in a block of ice. She put on a robe and
      went into the bedroom, where Bobby was waiting for her.
      �Bobby, of all the stupid pranks you have pulled��
      �It wasn�t a prank,� he said, getting up from where he was seated. His
      voice was more serious than she had ever heard it. �Rogue, Jubes says you�re
      taking up to three showers every day. Nobody is that dirty. It seems a
      little bit� you know� compulsive.�
      �You�ve been discussing me with Jubilee?� Well, of course he had, they were
      her friends, friends talk about each other. Bobby didn�t even bother to
      answer, he just said her name very quietly and put his hands on her
      shoulders.
      It was just a pair of hands on her shoulders, a pair of worried eyes
      looking into hers, but the immediate urge to wash faded off, and she relaxed
      like a kitten in a warm lap. When he leaned closer to her, she knew she
      ought to stop him, but her mind wouldn�t listen to reason, she just wanted
      to kiss him.
      Then her lips touched something very cold, and she realised she was kissing
      him through a thin layer of ice. A highly unusual way of kissing, but then,
      they were both highly unusual. Strangely enough, it didn�t lessen the
      sensation. She was still kissing Bobby, the ice was a part of Bobby, and
      maybe it was the peculiarity of it all that made it so wonderful.
      In the fairy tales, a kiss can bring you back to life. That�s in the fairy
      tales. That�s not reality. It wasn�t the kiss that did it, it was the
      knowledge that she *could* kiss. In a dark corner of her mind, even though
      it had been months since she escaped from the hospital, she hadn�t been able
      to get rid of the feeling that maybe the doctors were right and she really
      was defect. Now she felt no such thing.
      He pulled away and looked at her, his eyes glittering, and his voice full
      of mirth. �I assure you, milady, that my intentions are��
      She had the time to think *if he says �good� I�ll kill him,* before he
      continued:
      ��honorable.�
      A young man with honorable intentions, courting a young lady in a flowery
      robe. What a picturesque scene, like something by Jane Austen.
      Stories by Jane Austen always have a happy ending. Rogue wasn�t sure, but
      she felt like hers could have one as well.
      **********
      Jean woke up, and lay smiling for a while, watching the snowflakes fall by
      the window. Then she slowly left the bed and went to look outside. The world
      had turned a soft white, and the students had already discovered it, fully
      dressed and playing outside at nine o�clock on a Saturday morning. Jean
      carefully opened the window and took some snow from the windowpane,
      squeezing it into a ball with her bare hands before she returned to bed.
      �Scott,� she said, �guess what?�
      Her lover was still only half awake. �What?� he muttered.
      She pushed the snowball into his face. �It�s snowing.�
      All the cold snow woke him up completely, and he sat up, shaking it off
      like a wet dog. �Ouh! You!� He grabbed Jean and shook her playfully.
      Although he was so reserved in public the students actually had secret
      discussions on whether or not he and Jean had any lovelife at all, he never
      held back when they were alone. �You�re going to pay for this.�
      She put her arms around him, watching him closely. It was kind of funny,
      all those times she had wished she could see his eyes, and now she could and
      he couldn�t see hers. Even though they were dead and expressionless, his
      eyes were absolutely beautiful. �Oh, am I?�
      He slipped out of her embrace and left the bed, walking to the window. With
      it open, it was getting cold in there. He leaned out to get the remainders
      of the snow from the windowpane, and a girl�s voice called for him. �Scott!�
      He leaned down. �What is it?�
      When the voice continued, he recognized it as Rogue�s. �We�re having a
      snowball fight. You and Jean want to join us?�
      �In a minute, just let us get dressed first!�
      He pulled back inside, squeezing the snow between his fingers. �You know,
      Jean, I have been thinking.�
      �About what?�
      That was enough for him to take aim, and he threw the snowball right into
      her face.
      �Ha!� he said trumphantly when he heard her sputter. �About setting a
      date.�
      At first she didn�t connect, but then she realised what she was talking
      about and smiled happily. �A wedding date?�
      �Uh-huh,� he said, getting his clothes from the drawers. He held up a
      shirt. �Blue checkered one?�
      �Yes.� He had always kept his clothes in good order and was rarely
      mistaken. �I think it�s a lovely idea. Did you have a special date in mind?�
      �Not really, you tell me.�
      She started putting on clothes as well. �How about Easter? We could have
      egg hunting on the reception.�
      �Now, Jean, I�m serious,� he said reproachfully.
      �Me too,� she said, kissing him. �Easter wedding, doesn�t that sound nice?�
      �Okay then, Easter it is,� he agreed, smiling.
      When he had finished dressing, he turned to her, and she realised what an
      absolutely handsome groom he would be. Tall, straight and slim, there was
      nothing that would fit him better than black tails. �Are you done?�
      �Yup.�
      They may be grown up, but the first snow still managed to get their spirits
      up, and they joked and played all the way down to the yard. Coming out,
      Scott immediately got a snowball in his face. Remy, who had thrown it and
      aimed for Kitty, blushed a little.
      �Oh� I�m sorry��
      �They�re participants, Remy!� Rogue yelled. �Free targets!�
      Remy glanced nervously at Scott, whose face could have been carved in
      stone. �Rogue, I am not, nor will I ever be, a free target.� He leaned down
      and squeezed a snowball. �Remy LeBeau� you�re a dead man.�
      Jean laughed at her fianc��s aggressive energy in attacking the boy. �Take
      it easy on him, Scott, at least he didn�t charge the thing.�
      �It�s a no powers game,� Kitty explained and got a very nice hit at Jean�s
      neck. Cold snow slipped in under the collar.
      �Hey!� Jean yelled and hurried to hit back, and the game restarted in full
      frenzy.
      �Shouldn�t we give Scott a handicap?� someone suggested.
      �What, another one?�
      Jean ignored the snowballs flying in her direction to glance at Scott, and
      she noticed a satisfied smile on his face. In the passing months, the kids
      had grown more or less accustomed to his blindness, but this was the first
      time they actually dared to joke about it.
      �No favours needed,� he yelled, �I can take you all down if I have to.�
      And he proceeded to prove it.
      **********
      The phone in Xavier�s office rung, and he took it absentmindedly, but the
      words �Haskell clinic, San Francisco� got his attention. �Yes, please put
      him on, I�ll hold.�
      He listened to his old friend�s explanation about the opening in his
      schedule, and a grateful smile spread over his face. �I�m sure he�ll want
      it. Thank you so much. Not many people would be willing to do this.�
      The laughing response: �I�m not many people, Chuck, I�m just me.�
      When Xavier had hung up the phone, he sat thinking for a while before he
      wheeled over to the window and looked down at the people playing, at Scott.
      He had always known the young man was tough, and it really didn�t surprise
      him much that he had learned to adapt to his disability. Whatever the
      future, Scott would be able to deal with it, but Xavier knew the operation
      was still necessary.
      Scott had lived five months in uncertainty, and he deserved this chance.
      Not so much the chance to see as the chance to know the truth.
      Any truth.


      THE END

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