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FIC: What They Deserve 4/4 (Scott, Mystique, others)

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  • Katarina Hjärpe
    Scott shuddered a little when he stepped out of the taxi. Snow was falling on his face, and after this time in San Francisco, it was a strange feeling. He
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2000
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      Scott shuddered a little when he stepped out of the taxi. Snow was falling
      on his face, and after this time in San Francisco, it was a strange feeling.
      He guessed it had been cold before, when the FBI tok him away, but
      everything had been so chaotic then he hadn�t really noticed. At least it
      hadn�t snowed back then, he was almost certain of that.
      He waited for Jean to get the suitcase out from the trunk. In spite of the
      cold, he was certainly not in any hurry to get inside. How would he ever be
      able to face the others? Before, he used to think he had lost the ability to
      fight with them. He knew now that it wasn�t so. It was even worse. He had
      lost the *right* to fight with them. He didn�t belong in the team anymore,
      and that hurt, because they were the only family he had.
      �Scott!� Rogue�s voice, followed by two pair of feet running in his
      direction. Jean�s warm hand slipped into his. So far she hadn�t reproached
      him once. It surprised him a little, but he was entirely grateful for it.
      How to handle Rogue was another matter. Out of all the people at the
      mansion, she was probably the most likely to understand what he had done.
      That didn�t mean he had the right to mess up her mind when she had only
      recently come to terms with herself.
      �Hey!� Her voice was warm, and she gave him a big hug, careful not to touch
      anything uncovered. �I�m so glad you�re back.�
      �She�s speaking for both of us.� Another voice from behind Rogue, and Scott
      managed to smile.
      �Hi Bobby. Thanks.� He wrapped his arms around Rogue. �Okay, don�t squeeze
      all the air out of me.�
      She finally let go, and they all began walking towards the house. �You�ve
      been gone for so *long*.�
      �I know. I meant to come home earlier.� Conversation was painful, but he
      kept it up for her sake, because he had really missed her. Her overwhelming
      welcoming surprised him. They were close, but this had a touch of
      desperation. The leader inside him told him to find out if something was
      wrong, but he was so tired, he couldn�t bear anything else. It was only
      Jean�s mind embracing his that kept him going as far as to their room.
      He didn�t know if Rogue left because she sensed all this or if it was
      actually true that she had math class. In a way, he was relieved that she
      was gone, and that made him feel guilty.
      �Bobby?� he asked, when the boy had already turned to leave him and Jean
      alone. �Is Rogue okay?�
      �I think so. She�s just troubled over Logan. Sabretooth escaped from prison
      yesterday, it�s been all over the news. Logan has been wrecking things all
      day.�
      �Oh.� Scott didn�t know what else to say. Although Logan�s memory was still
      jagged pieces, he had found out months ago that he hated Sabretooth with a
      passion. If Logan ever found out Scott was responsible for this, he�d beat
      him into a bleeding pulp.
      Yeah, well. Whatever made him feel better. Whatever made them both feel
      better.
      Jean closed the door behind them and put the suitcase down on the floor.
      �I�m taking a shower. Join me.�
      It wasn�t even a question, it was an order.
      �Jean, I�m not about to...�
      �You�re about to rest. Lord knows when you last did it. If we take a hot
      shower first, it will be easier for you.�
      Her voice was determined, and he slowly took off his jacket, not sure if he
      intended to continue with the rest of his clothes. Counting the hours, he
      realized it was about nine o�clock in the morning here. Definitely no time
      to go to bed. Besides, they had been sleeping on the plane. He should get
      things ready. Unpack, for one thing. Not that he much cared about the things
      in his suitcase the way things were. But even if he let that be, which was
      sloppy in itself, there were other things to do. He should talk to the
      professor. God, he *really* didn�t want to do that.
      So his hands didn�t stop moving when his jacket and shoes were off. His
      feet proceeded to the bathroom by their own free will. And when the hot
      shower was over, without his permission, his body curled up to Jean�s in
      their bed and had its pleasure. It refused to listen to him anymore. It was
      tired of him. And so he surrendered and gave up his broodings for a few
      hours, traded it in for the softness of Jean beside him.

      **********

      He knew the professor was waiting for him.
      The touch in his mind was in no way obtrusive, but the moment he felt it he
      stiffened in Jean�s arms. It didn�t take long to confirm the discreet
      presence, and soon Scott rolled over to his back. Eyes that had previously
      been closed stared into the darkness that formed his world. It wasn�t
      Xavier�s mental presence at a tender moment that disturbed him. It was only
      the mental equivalence of a person waiting outside a bedroom for the noises
      inside to stop. They were, after all, grown up people. The problem was that
      Xavier was waiting for him, waiting for an explanation of some sort, and he
      had none.
      Even if the professor did not know the entire truth, Cerebro must have told
      him enough to stamp Scott as a disappointment, cooperating with the bad lot.
      Which would be the complete and absolute truth. No matter what Xavier would
      say, there was nothing that could make Scott back off from the stand he had
      taken in offering Raven his help. He was certain he would be forgiven if he
      truly regretted what he did, but as things were, he knew he would be
      rejected. He was surprised Jean hadn�t rejected him too.
      A smooth hand circled across his chest. *Why would I reject you?* There was
      laughter in her mental voice, but he could still sense the shields in her
      mind. This was a private conversation, and Xavier was not to disturb.
      He sat up, turning away from her but holding onto her hand. He didn�t want
      that touch to go away. *I don�t belong here anymore. The things Raven said
      makes more sense than anything we teach here. And I hate that.*
      *So the dream isn�t perfect. You have always set such high standards for
      yourself. Don�t you think there are plenty of people around here who agree
      with you? Logan, for one. The professor accepted him here, why wouldn�t he
      accept you?*
      Scott didn�t answer, and Jean insisted: *Nobody is going to reject you.
      Certainly not Xavier.*
      *But he�s going to think less of me. He�s going to think I was wrong. And
      I�m not.* Scott sighed deeply, burying his face in his hands. *God, I wish I
      was. He�s the only father I have, how can he not be right?*
      Jean didn�t answer immediately, and he ripped the connection, shutting his
      thoughts away from her. �I guess I�ll go see him,� he said, rising from bed.
      �Okay.� Her voice was low, and she didn�t push the issue. Not until he had
      dressed and left the room did another thought try to enter his mind. He
      allowed it, reluctantly.
      *Nobody�s perfect, Scott. You don�t have to be, and neither does he.*
      Perfect? People had died because of his actions in San Francisco. That was
      a long way from perfect.
      He moved through the familiar corridors and stopped outside the professor�s
      office, knocking on the door. At Xavier�s call to do so, he opened it and
      entered.
      �Scott. Welcome back.� Xavier�s voice was as warm as always, but Scott
      could trace the reservation in it.
      �Thank you, sir. I think we ought to talk.�
      �Indeed. Why don�t you sit down, you look like you�re being court
      marshalled.�
      Well, wasn�t he? FBI and their aura of prison had scared him, but he could
      stand up to them. Fear not those who can kill the body but not the soul,
      right? This... he didn�t know why this scared him more, but it did. He sat
      down, reluctantly.
      There was a short silence before Xavier spoke.
      �Jean was worried... that Mystique was in some way forcing you to work with
      her. I got the impression that it wasn�t so.�
      �It wasn�t.� Scott spoke with a calm he didn�t feel. �I�m still stronger
      than her. She needed my help, I gave it.�
      �You assisted her in releasing Sabretooth from prison?�
      So he *had* gotten that much from Cerebro. Or maybe he just put two and two
      together. �Yes.�
      The professor sighed deeply. �Why?�
      �I had to. No man deserves that sort of treatment.�
      �Is this because of what happened to you last summer?�
      Scott�s jaw tightened. He was restricted by his promise to the FBI, and as
      much as he loathed that promise, he was a man of his word. But even if he
      hadn�t been, he still would have been bothered by that question. Xavier
      sounded like some therapist asking a criminal if he had a sad childhood.
      Sure, his beliefs were formed by his experiences -- hell, he began to sound
      like Xavier himself. He had scars that would never heal, even though he
      could learn to live with them the way he was learning to live with his
      blindness. That didn�t mean he had no ability to make moral decisions. This
      was a moral decision. It could not be reasoned away.
      *You�re being rather unfair to me.*
      Scott�s head jerked up at Xavier�s thought in his mind, and he
      demonstratively slammed it shut.
      �I take it you don�t approve,� he said bitterly.
      �Of letting a killer out on the street? Of murdering people?� Xavier still
      hadn�t raised his voice, but he spoke with great reproach.
      �Of taking a stand.� Scott squeezed the armrests in his hands. �I wish
      those things didn�t have to happen, but they did. You taught me to believe
      in a dream. This is reality I�ve had to deal with.�
      His words surprised himself. During all this, all the regrets, he had never
      for a second thought ill of Xavier. Now rage was boiling inside him.
      �Life can be terribly unfair. You knew that already. But the fact that
      there is evil in this world is no reason to add to it.�
      Scott left his chair, raising his voice almost to a yell.
      �What would you have me do, let it happen? Raven may be a cynical bitch,
      but she is right in one thing. At least their side is doing something! If it
      had been one of theirs, instead of Rogue and me, they would never have let
      those doctors get away with it.� He shook his head slowly, to clear his
      thoughts. �They wouldn�t have let it happen to anyone else!�
      �Did it?� Xavier�s voice was gentle, almost lower than Scott�s own pulse
      beating in his ears. He laughed silently, almost like a sob.
      �No. Nothing ever happened. I was never in that place, or helped getting
      Sabretooth out, or involved in this whole fucking mess at all. Nothing ever
      happened, everything is fine, we live in the best of all possible worlds. I
      suppose I�m not even fucking blind.� He was crying now, but he didn�t care.
      �Jesus Christ, I�ve sold my soul.�
      A weak buzzing sound, and the professor�s hand rested on his. �Scott, I...�
      Scott fought the hand away, not giving Xavier time to finish his sentence.
      �Why didn�t we do something?� he yelled. �We could have found that place
      again, stopped them, why didn�t we? Why didn�t *I*?�
      �You can�t blame yourself for not acting. You were in no condition to enter
      a mission.�
      �We got Sabretooth out.� His voice had gone hoarse from the yelling, and he
      had to lower it. �Just Raven and me, from a prison a hell of a lot more
      secure than that hospital. And she�s no stronger than I am. If we had put
      the X-men team on the case to begin with, we could have have helped. Why
      didn�t we? Why didn�t the thought ever come up?�
      �Because we were shocked,� Xavier answered simply. �You and Rogue more than
      anyone, of course, but we all were. It�s no excuse, but it�s an explanation.
      When something like this happens, it�s hard for everyone.�
      �Yeah. Especially the ones who died. I�m the lucky one here, sir, can you
      get it? At least I still have my life. I�ve got Jean, and I remember what
      she looks like even though I can�t see it. They took all that stuff away
      from people.� He choked on his own words. �This is not a good world. There
      is evil walking around that doesn�t know that it is evil, and the only way
      to beat it is to turn evil yourself. I hate myself now, more than you can
      ever hate me. But at least that hate tells me there�s something still right
      in me.�
      �I could never hate you, Scott.� Xavier�s hands took his, and this time he
      didn�t fight them away. �I�m just afraid. I don�t want to lose you the way I
      lost Erik.�
      Scott sank back into his chair, pulling his own hand along with Xavier�s
      over his eyes. �I don�t want that either. But I don�t think I can honestly
      teach the kids tolerance anymore.�
      �Then take some time off,� Xavier said. �You don�t have to leave the
      mansion or anything. Consider it an early honeymoon.�
      Scott nodded slowly. Honeymoon. Oh, God, the bare thought of a wedding
      party... But on the other side of the wedding there was the marriage. There
      was Jean.

      **********

      Scott was in the kitchen making a sandwich when the phone called, and he
      paused, frowning. The signal was F�r Elise, the one Jean used for her
      cellphone. She must have left it in the kitchen. That wasn�t so surprising;
      most of the time she used the main phones or, within the mansion, telepathic
      conversation.
      He put down the butter knife and went over to the kitchen table. He let his
      hand sweep over the surface. Jean�s purse was standing by the far end, and
      he opened it, picking up the phone.
      �Scott Summers, hello?�
      �You�re alive,� someone stated in the other end of the line. She was a lot
      less than exstatic, but yet it was obvious that the news pleased her. He
      recognized Raven�s mutant voice.
      �Yes I am. Did you call just to tell me that?� It was actually good hearing
      her voice again. He started to understand Xavier�s attitude to Magneto a bit
      more. A good enemy was worth a whole lot more than a bad friend.
      �Yeah, well, they said on the news that you had been killed when they tried
      to catch you.�
      �Oh.� So the FBI had kept their promise. That shouldn�t really surprise
      him.
      �Guess it must have been someone else. Poor bastard.�
      �I guess so.� He didn�t really want to talk about this. None of the things
      he had done made him proud, but the deal with the feds was the part he hated
      the most. He might have decided to cooperate with them no matter what, but
      in taking the bribe, he had given up his chance of an honorable decision.
      They had made it a question of his fear of prison, more than one of justice.
      �You don�t sound convinced.�
      �I really can�t talk about it.� Footsteps entered the kitchen, but stopped
      before Scott could figure out who they belonged to.
      �X-men stuff then? Or have you sold out on me?� He voice suddenly got very
      suspicious.
      �I would never do that,� he said firmly.
      She laughed. �You�re a good man where it counts, Cyclops.�
      Coming from Raven, it was a dubious compliment, but he accepted it
      gratefully. Her opinion of him may not matter when she called him a weakling
      or a Galahad knight, but for once, their ethics were actually compatible.
      �Thanks.� A thought struck him. �Where are you?�
      �You really don�t think I�ll answer that, do you?�
      �Well, Jean and I will be married in six weeks.� It wasn�t a clear
      invitation; he couldn�t afford one with another person in the room.
      �Really? Huh. Might stop by then. Then again, you never know. We�re trying
      to find Morty, it could take a while.�
      �I thought he was dead.�
      �I thought you were dead,� she replied, and he couldn�t help laughing at
      her quick response. �I�m kind of glad you�re not.�
      �Thank you.�
      �Yeah, whatever. So, bye I guess.�
      When Scott had hung up the phone he turned to the person who was watching
      him from the doorway. �Who�s there?�
      �It�s me, bub.�
      Scott involuntarily took a step backwards. He hadn�t expected Logan to show
      up. For some fortunate reason the two of them hadn�t bumped into each other
      once since he came home.
      �I�m not going to hurt you.� Logan sounded gruff. He walked over to the
      refrigerator and opened it. �I was getting a beer. Do you want one?�
      �Sure.� Scott was still on his guard, but he went back to his unfinished
      sandwich and continued buttering it. If Logan said he wouldn�t hurt him, he
      meant it. Lying had never been one of his vices.
      Logan pressed the cold aluminium can into his hand without a word, a
      gesture that in all its roughness was surprisingly considerate. Then he
      opened his own. �If you let the fish lady come to the wedding I can�t
      promise I won�t slice her though.� His voice was fierce.
      Scott dropped the sandwich and quickly searched for it, getting his hand
      all buttery in the process. At least it hadn�t fallen on the floor. �How did
      you know... oh.�
      �Enhanced hearing, remember? Convenient thing.�
      �I guess.� Scott finished making his sandwich and went over to the table
      with that and the can of beer, sitting down. �I was certain you�d try to
      kill me,� he said, only half joking.
      �Hm.� Logan sat down opposite him. �I probably would have, if I�d gone
      anywhere near you for the first couple of weeks. You just never seemed to be
      around, and when I went looking, something always came up.� He pondered this
      for a moment and then seemed to reach the same conclusion Scott did. �Who am
      I kidding? The prof must have stopped me.�
      �Well, he�s not stopping you now,� Scott said. He found himself wondering
      what those claws would feel like running through his chest. Would it hurt a
      lot, or would there just be a quick pain followed by emptiness? They said
      your whole life flashed before your eyes when you died, so that would be one
      way for him to see again. He played with those thoughts, but deep down he
      knew that he truly wanted to live.
      �I promised not to,� Logan muttered.
      Scott frowned. �Promised who? Xavier?�
      �Nah.� Logan didn�t continue, only drank from his beer in deep draughts,
      and after a while Scott gave up trying to find out anything else and
      concentrated on his snack. It was definitely weird, sitting here next to a
      guy who had every reason to punch him through the nearest wall.
      Logan put his can down and choked a belch. �The kids were... praying, and
      stuff,� he said.
      Scott took in this, although he didn�t quite understand what Logan was
      getting at. When the other man didn�t continue, he asked: �Praying?�
      �For your recovery and all, wasting a whole lot of candles.� Logan sounded
      awkward. �I�m not a praying kind, but some of it must have rubbed off,
      because I promised to get off your back in the future.�
      �Oh.� It felt good to know someone had cared about him while he was away.
      Even though the prayers hadn�t helped the way they were meant to, maybe they
      could do some good in a more important recovery. �Thanks.�
      �Didn�t quite count on you to come back a fugitive. No one did.�
      �I know.�
      Logan finally burst out in anger, although for him, it was a pretty mild
      one. �What did you do something stupid like that for, Cyke? You and your
      freaked out ideals. Do you know how much harm that fellow can do out there?�
      �Yes. I had to do it.� He didn�t want to go through all that again.
      �Next time I meet him I�ll cut his throat if I can help it. Then what good
      will this mess have done?�
      Scott rose, took his plate to the sink and then grabbed his cane. He had
      spent too much time wrestling moral issues already, he couldn�t take it
      anymore, he wanted something to just be simple and pure, something to still
      be good in this skewed up world. �Your kind of death could be better than
      their kind of life.�
      Logan�s silence was almost scary. The he asked, in a low voice: �You mean
      for yourself, too?�
      Scott hadn�t even realized that his words could be interpreted like that,
      and he found himself telling the truth. �I asked myself that only five
      minutes ago. No, not for me. But I know I�d want out of that place even if
      you�d stab me for it.�

      **********

      They left the movie theatre and entered the real world with a certain
      feeling of reluctance. The wedding was less than two weeks away, and they
      had proclaimed this their last revival of single-life dating. It had been a
      very good evening. Scott was still smiling as he stepped out in the cold
      night air, but beneath the smile dark thoughts popped up even though he
      tried to suppress them. He took Jean�s arm and hoped the walk home would
      keep their minds off anything but the loveliness of the evening.
      �Did you like the film?� Jean asked, playing with his hair. It had grown
      out a little now, but still far from enough to please him.
      �It was wonderful,� he said, and he honestly meant it. With Jean�s
      telepathic explanations, movies were still as much fun as they used to be.
      �Nothing like an oldie.�
      �You actually look a lot like Cary Grant,� she said.
      He smiled. �No I don�t.�
      �Spitting image.�
      Banning his own gloom, he tried an imitation of the actor: �I�m not a
      Brewster, I�m the son of a sea cook!�
      She turned to face him and leaned on his chest. �I�m not a taxi driver, I�m
      a coffee pot.�
      He cupped his hand under her chin and kissed her softly, letting his
      fingers run over her head. God, how he loved her! She was the most beautiful
      woman on earth, inside and out. Being loved by her was the greatest pleasure
      in his life, a pleasure he didn�t deserve.
      He slowly released his lips from hers. This wasn�t working. They could stay
      away from the pain for a while, hide in a movie... (Part of lyrics came up
      in his head: *Thinks that it�s groovy to hide in a movie, pretends he�s
      Fellini and Antonioni...*) But the pain would always come back. All he could
      hope was that it would fade, turn into the same kind of dull ache he felt
      for his blindness.
      �Come on,� he told Jean, and started to walk again. �Let�s go home.�
      She went along without any comments, and he wondered to himself how much of
      his thoughts she had picked up. He had deliberately weakened the link lately
      -- not letting it go completely, he could never do that, but shielding many
      of his thoughts. Jean had objected to it at first, reminding him of the �for
      better or worse� promise they would soon make, but he had persisted. Just
      because he kept brooding there was no need to drag her into it.
      �I had a good time tonight,� she told him when she crept down beside him in
      bed.
      �Me too,� he said, and he meant it.
      Still... he couldn�t sleep. It didn�t take him long to realize that this
      would be another one of those nights when he listened to Jean�s deep, even
      breaths without getting any comfort from them. Sometimes she even snored a
      little. She had always violently denied it when she was awake, even though
      Scott had assured her he found it rather cute.
      He finally took a deep sigh and swung his legs over the edge of the bed.
      What was the use in trying to sleep when his tossing and turning would only
      wake Jean? He had tried sleeping pills, but they only gave him nightmares
      and so he stopped. At one point she had suggested antidepressives, but she
      didn�t sound much keener on the thought that he did. This wasn�t a medical
      problem.
      He sat down in the big armchair by the window and rested a book in his lap.
      About the only good thing with these sleepless nights was the way they had
      improved his reading. Though tonight he couldn�t even keep his mind on that.
      He had only come through a few pages when his fingers stopped moving and his
      thoughts wandered away.
      Jean moved around in the bed and mumbled something. Then there was the
      click telling him she had lit the bedside lamp, followed by a deep sigh.
      �Not *again*.�
      He was surprised at the irritated tone of her voice, even though he
      realized he shouldn�t be.
      �I�m sorry.�
      She walked up to him and sat down on the window sill. �I really hate that
      you think you have to deal with all this alone. And don�t say you�re just
      protecting me. If that was true you�d still talk to someone else. One of the
      guys, or a therapist, or a priest even. Have you tried confession?�
      That actually made him smile a little. �I�m not catholic.�
      �Then you�ll have to settle for me.� Her thoughts pushed his mind. *Let me
      in.*
      *You are in. You�re always in.*
      *All the way.*
      He reluctantly let her through and felt her picking up the tangled
      emotions.
      *All this guilt. What is it about? You always tell everyone you had to do
      it.*
      *Release Sabretooth, yeah. I�m sorry so many bad things followed from that,
      but it was still necessary.*
      *Then what...*
      Knowing she wouldn�t accept anything but the truth, he sent her a thought.
      *The deal?* She seemed confused, and he tried to explain.
      *I�ve always believed in taking responsibility for my actions, and for my
      beliefs. I don�t like hiding away and being forced to silence.* His thoughts
      were very fierce, and his nails dug into the skin of his palms.
      She softly took his hands and opened the grip. *What else could you have
      done? Gone to jail?*
      *And why not? It�s what happens to people who commit crimes.*
      Her thoughts pounded him with their strength. *Don�t for a minute think
      locking you up somewhere would be fair, just because it would be legal.
      You�re entitled to a life, Scott, you hear me?*
      �Yes.� He spoke out loud, because her thoughts were so fierce they actually
      hurt him. She took a deep breath and followed his example.
      �And I�m entitled to one, too. I want a husband by my side, Scott, and I
      won�t settle for anything else. I�m glad we�re having the wedding here at
      the mansion and not in a prison cell. I want my children to have a father
      that can be there for them.�
      He turned his head in her direction, startled. �Children?�
      �I was planning children. Weren�t you?�
      �Well... yes.� He tried to hide his disappointment, but since the link was
      fully open now, he couldn�t.
      �You thought I was pregnant?� She slid down from the window sill into his
      lap. �You wanted me to be pregnant?�
      �I... I guess so,� he said in a low voice. �There ought to be someone in
      this world who can still believe in goodness, not as something unsteady
      showing up now and then, but as something profound. I can�t teach the kids
      that, to them I�m a living proof of evil. But a baby...� He silenced and
      grimaced. �...would learn about evil anyway. Not to mention that it is a
      pretty selfish reason to want a child.�
      �People usually don�t have children for altruist reasons,� Jean said
      calmly. �I don�t even think it would be such a great idea if they did.�
      �What kind of father would I make anyway?�
      �The best, Scott. I always want the best.�
      He stroke her cheek, enjoying the softness of her skin. �You�re too good
      for me.�
      She leaned her head on his chest. �No. Because you�re what I want, what
      I�ve always wanted.�
      He held on to her, enjoying her body against his. The pain and the guilt
      didn�t go away, but he thought about what she had said. Even though it was
      just love talk, pep talk, one thing had gone through. His life was linked to
      her just like their minds were linked together. He had a responsibility
      towards her. Throwing guilt at himself might satisfy his own need for
      redemption, but it wouldn�t change anything. In a way, he thought wryly, it
      was just an equivalent of Rogue�s old habit of cutting herself. In taking
      the deal, he had accepted that going to prison wasn�t the best way of
      dealing with the situation.
      Then what was? He had to find out, and when he did, he would go with it.
      Just because there were no good choices, that didn�t mean that choices
      didn�t matter. He had let himself be so occupied with the loss of complete
      goodness that he forgot about the incomplete. Unlike Jean, he would have to
      settle for second best.
      Scott drifted away in his chair, with Jean sleeping in his lap, and in his
      dreams he faced his own world, dark and torn as it may be. And he welcomed
      it.

      THE END
      _____________________________________________________________________________________
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