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Fic: ConneXions - Part Six (6/6) PG

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  • Diana
    Title: ConneXions - Part Six Author: Diana Rating: PG Short Summary: In which matters are concluded. Archive: Anyone who wants it, just let me know.
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2001
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      Title: ConneXions - Part Six
      Author: Diana
      Rating: PG
      Short Summary: In which matters are concluded.
      Archive: Anyone who wants it, just let me know.
      Disclaimer: The X-men are not mine. Not even vaguely. I don't even want
      them. They're in my head and that's bad enough. I'm not making any money
      out of this, just doing it in the hopes that Scott, Ororo and the rest will
      shut the hell up.
      Note: Many ludicrously fervent thanks to Victoria, who has beta-read the lot
      of this for me and without whom it would be sadly lacking in a certain
      felicity of style that is necessary in this sort of writing. Thank you,
      thank you, thank you.

      Anyway, thank goodness this is over, and I hope the ending is satisfactory.
      :-)

      WORDCOUNT: 2300

      =====

      Scott Summers sat in his study, a forgotten ledger of the household accounts
      on the table in front of him. Instead, he stared out the window, into
      nothing but darkness. His fingers toyed with the stem of the half-full
      glass on the table. His thoughts turned in circles, worrying at the matter
      that had led to his discarding of the accounts ledger, to his fleeing the
      drawing room an hour or two previously, when he could bear it no longer.
      The matter of Captain Logan.

      But a month earlier, he had been perfectly comfortable in his situation,
      certain of his affection and love for his most beautiful wife, and of hers
      for him. Now, with the appearance of one man alone, he was uncertain;
      jealousy had wrapped itself around his heart, its squeezing unbearably
      painful.

      With terrible clarity he remembered Mrs Creed at their dinner, looking
      towards the foot of the table and remarking on Logan's enjoyment of the
      company. And Jean, laughing, happy, flushed, looking to the Captain with
      such a light in her eyes.

      His hand tightened on the stem of the glass, but then another thought
      occurred to him, and he reviewed the moment in his head. Yes, Logan had,
      the very next instant, in fact, turned back to Miss Munroe. Miss Munroe,
      with whom he had, in fact, danced at the Richmond's Ball. With whom he had
      walked in the park so long. With whom he had spoken a great deal at the
      opera.

      All while Scott's wife, his darling Jean, had stayed on his arm, and looked
      at him with such distress as he was cold and distant to her. And on what
      grounds? The word of a woman who he was not sure at all he trusted, so
      slick and charming and sure. It was Captain Logan's perceived interest that
      had him so troubled, he was sure, and if the Captain was in fact enamoured
      of-

      His thoughts were brought to a halt as a piercing scream rang through the
      house. He was out of his seat in a minute, and into the hallway. Taking
      the stairs in unseemly haste, he met his wife in the upper hallway,
      distraught to the point of hysteria, with such weeping and wailing as
      rendered her highly unintelligible. He drew her to him, holding her close,
      feeling all at once the overwhelming flood of his love for her. As she
      clutched to his shoulders, a crumpled paper in one hand, she began to calm a
      little, enough to be able to speak.

      "Oh Scott!" she gasped finally. "It is Marie; she is ruined!" She thrust
      the paper at him. Scott smoothed the paper enough to read its damning
      contents; it was, as may be suspected, Toynbee's last letter to Marie,
      entreating her to elope. He gasped as he read the last line, and his wife
      continued: "She is not in her room, Scott. She has gone to meet him! Who
      knows how long she has been gone. They could be anywhere! Anything could
      have happened to her!"

      "I knew it," Scott declared, drawing his distraught wife close once more.
      "Those people are nothing but trouble. We should never have trusted any of
      them." He looked down into her face, beautiful even while tear-stained.
      "Don't worry, my darling." She blinked at the endearment, a tiny light of
      hope entering her eyes. He smoothed a hand over her cheek. "Don't worry.
      I will go after them. I will bring her back. Fetch my pistols."

      He was only two steps down the stairs when she called him, and he turned to
      look at her. "Don't go alone. Take Captain Logan with you, please?"

      Doubt cramped his heart once more, but she continued, stepping up to the
      head of the stairs. "Please Scott," she said. "I would die if something
      happened to you."

      All his worries vanished, and he was cradling her in his arms in an instant,
      holding her close with a fervour unfelt in the past week, a fervour entirely
      present as he whispered in her ear: "I love you."

      There was business at hand, however. A messenger was speedily dispatched to
      Captain Logan, and Scott's pistols fetched. In barely more than half an
      hour, there came the clatter of horses hooves into the courtyard of
      Greymalkin House and Scott hurried out the door, Jean behind him.

      They were most surprised to see not one mounted rider, but two. The Captain
      appeared as grim as an executioner on his spirited black horse, but beside
      him, well seated on a delicate grey steed, was Miss Munroe, looking quite as
      determined as her companion.

      Logan tipped his hat to the Summers', and noticed the direction of their
      gazes. "Miss Munroe was at dinner with me when your message arrived," he
      explained succinctly. "She insisted on accompanying me, no matter how I
      tried to impress upon her the possible danger."

      "I am quite capable of looking after myself," Miss Munroe spoke up then, and
      from the primness of her tone, and the stiffness of her posture, it seemed
      certain to be the truth. She was entirely composed. "In any case, when all
      is said and done, Marie will need the company of a lady."

      Neither Scott nor Jean could fault her reasoning. As soon as Scott was
      mounted, the party set forth, leaving Jean staring after them from the steps
      of the house. In truth, staring after one alone, and Scott felt his
      certainty returning in all its vigour. The night would be a success, he was
      sure.

      * * * * *

      Marie had been increasingly uncertain as she had approached the park,
      carrying a small bag and bundled up in her cloak. What if she missed him in
      the dark? What if he had not come? But all her concerns vanished as she
      rounded the last corner to see his carriage waiting by the edge of the park,
      and Toynbee himself waiting under the light of one of the flickering
      streetlights.

      She hurried towards him, and as he saw her, he came towards her a few steps.
      It seemed the most natural thing in the world to drop her bag as she reached
      him, and to clasp her arms around his neck even as his came around her
      waist, spinning her around and off her feet. No sooner were her feet back
      on the ground than he bent forward and his lips touched hers.

      A moment of panic, and then she realised that it was all right. As soon as
      they reached Scotland, they would be man and wife, and surely he could kiss
      her. So he did, and when he finally released her, Marie found she had to
      keep hold of his shoulders, for somehow she had become quite dizzy for a
      moment.

      Toynbee laughed lightly as she raised a hand to her forehead, and he bent to
      pick up her bag with one hand, keeping the other around her waist. "I was
      terrified you would not come," he said quietly. "How overjoyed I was to see
      you. Come, we should be away as soon as possible."

      She let him usher her towards the coach, and with his help stepped up inside
      it. He followed her inside, sitting beside her. But instead of giving the
      order to drive on, he turned to her, his eyes glittering in the darkness.

      "My darling, you are so beautiful," he said, and leaned forward to kiss her
      again. He seemed more insistant this time, and she was quite dizzy and
      breathless when his lips left hers. This kissing this was very nice, she
      had to admit, but still...

      "Shouldn't we be going?" she asked. "To Scotland?"

      But his arms came around her tightly, pulling her to him. "Damn Scotland,"
      he said, his voice rough, and then he was kissing her again, very hard this
      time, and his hands moved on her.

      This was not right, Marie was sure of it, and panic welled up inside her.
      She pushed at him, but he was so much stronger than she, and hardly seemed
      to notice. Her fairytale was all crumbled to dust, a heap of lies. She
      felt tears begin behind her eyelids, shut tight against this horrible event.

      Suddenly, from outside there came a voice shouting: "Hold the coach!" and
      then the door was flung open, lighting spilling into the carriage.
      Blessedly, Toynbee left her, jumping away as far as the close confines
      allowed. Marie looked up to see Mr Summers, her saviour, standing outisde
      the carriage, one pistol aimed at Toynbee. "Unhand her, or by George, sir,
      you'll regret it."

      "She wants to come with me," Toynbee declared, appearing not at all handsome
      to Marie now. She waited not another moment, and leapt forward, past
      Toynbee, to fall out of the carriage.

      Scott almost cursed as Marie came tumbling out of the carriage, and dropped
      his pistols in his haste to catch her. He went staggering back a pace or
      two, Marie sobbing incoherently in his arms. He looked up just in time to
      see Toynbee leaping down from the carriage himself, fist raised and eyes
      ablaze with the intent to cause Scott serious damage with it.

      He had no chance, though, as suddenly Captain Logan leapt in from the side,
      catching the intended blow on his arm and throwing one of his own. The
      fight was short and nasty, and ended with Logan staggering back from a solid
      blow to his chin. Grinning unpleasantly, Toynbee quickly drew a pistol from
      underneath his coat, and took aim. There came a shot.

      And Toynbee went sprawling back into the carriage, his pistol dropping in
      the ground at his feet as he clutched at his right shoulder, cursing
      horribly. Logan darted in to scoop up the weapon, as Scott looked around to
      see Miss Munroe, still on her horse, lowering her smoking pistol. Her
      countenance was untroubled, and her hand steady.

      Logan came up to Scott's shoulder, looking up at the beauty on the horse
      with a smile. "That's my girl," he said quietly, but proudly. The smile
      she returned to him was dazzling.

      * * * * *

      Marie sat quietly in the drawing room, contemplating the fire, and the
      events of the past three months. The Season was over, but by the company
      gathered in the ballroom across the hall, one would never have guessed it.
      The wedding breakfast the Summers had hosted for Captain and Mrs Ororo Logan
      boasted a guestlist truly prodigious in its size.

      There were some notable exceptions, though. Mr Lehnsherr and his party were
      certainly not invited, though this was not conspicuous at all, since the
      party were now some two months gone from London. Not entirely voluntarily.
      A visit had been paid, and an interview demanded the morning after the
      prevented elopement. It still made Marie blush to think on how easily taken
      in she had been that night. In the interview, Sir Charles had declared in
      no uncertain terms that unless they left the country immediately, Mortimer's
      actions would be made known to the police, and damn the scandal it would
      cause. Moreover, and this, Marie thought, it had pained the dear old
      gentleman to say, Charles himself would make public the details of Mr
      Lehnsherr's past actions during the Revolution. What those actions were,
      Marie did not know. No more had been said on the matter, and the entire
      party had been gone within the week.

      The scandal had been considerable in any case, and the gossips had
      speculated wildly over the precise events of that night, for no particulars
      were known. But Marie had the complete support of the Summers, that most
      respectable of London couples, and the gossip died down quickly enough,
      other scandals arising to take its place. And those who whispered that
      there had been trouble in the Summers' marriage? Well, they were hushed
      more quickly than any other, and such notions dismissed as entirely
      unthinkable.

      At that moment Marie's thoughts were interrupted by the opening of the door,
      and the appearance of a strange young man.

      "Oh, I do apologise," he said as he saw her sitting there, his accent
      ever-so-slightly French; he had had a good English instructor. "I was
      looking for a quiet corner, but I did not know there was anyone in here. I
      am sorry to have disturbed you."

      "Not at all," Marie replied as he turned to go. "I was doing the same thing
      myself. Please join me." He was handsome, she noted as he came over to
      where she was seated. "I am Marie Rouge," she said, holding out her hand.

      He bowed over her hand. "A pleasure to meet you, Miss Rouge," he said,
      smiling. Pleasing manners as well, she noted, but he seemed so much more
      wholesome than Toynbee ever had. "I am Remy LeBeau. I see now why my dear
      friend Miss Munroe - oh no, I must now say Mrs Logan, yes? - has been
      declaring her darling friend Miss Rouge is the most delightful creature in
      London."

      Marie blushed a little at the compliment, and hurriedly said: "You are a
      friend of Mrs Logan's? How wonderful."

      "Yes, it is," Mr LeBeau agreed warmly, "for now I have had the chance to
      meet you. Ororo will be delighted that we have met, I am sure. Shall we go
      and find her?" He offered his arm.

      Smiling, she stood and slipped her arm through his. "That is an excellent
      idea," she said.

      "Your name, Miss Rouge," he said as they crossed the room. "It is French,
      but unless I miss my guess, you yourself are not."

      "I am not," she conceded. "My father married an Englishwoman and settled
      here."

      He looked directly at her, his hand on the door handle. "What a marvellous
      notion. I believe I shall have to follow his example."


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