Interlude 2: The Choice
"...it [is] no longer a matter of opening others to reason, but of opening
ourselves to the reason of others."
--Alain Finkielkraut, The Defeat of the Mind
August, six years earlier
Scott took a few minutes to observe from the garage door as Logan ran
Jubilee through her review before her shop final. Why on earth she'd
chosen the class was probably traceable back to Logan, who, after one
single driving lesson, had flatly refused to let her behind the wheel of a
car again until she understood the principle behind the concept of an
internal-combustion engine and the basics of car repair. Having seen the
wrecker that brought the unfortunate car into the driveway, Scott hadn't
demurred, either--if she was going to drive like that, she'd better know
how to fix any vehicle she drove. God knew, she'd need it.
He hid a smile when Jubilee stuck out her tongue and Logan applied his foot
to the board, spinning her back under the car and leaning over the engine
"Wolvie, I don't see--"
"Any way you could *stop* calling me Wolvie?"
Scott knew Jubilee's face was wearing a smug grin. She knew her feral
mutant pretty well.
"Nope, hombre. And I--"
"Get to it. You and Kit want dinner out tonight, you're gonna finish this
right." Logan was leaning against the car and Scott *could* see the smile
on Logan's face. Sometimes, Scott thought the only reason Logan was still
around was because of Jubilee and Co--and Scott admitted to himself, at
least, that it was good for the kids to have what amounted to a father
stalking campus. He didn't scare them at all--but they did have a healthy
respect for his temper and his common sense, and knew they couldn't get
away with much around him. Certainly not when he could smell out
contraband and usually figure out where they'd been after curfew by scent
"You want something, Cyke?"
Scott didn't even bother to bristle--in Loganesque, the term could almost
be an endearment.
"Just wanted to talk, when you have time." He'd put it off for two days,
wanting the kids to have a little more grace time, but it couldn't be for
much longer. Logan needed to know first--and maybe he put it off for Logan
too, who had achieved what amounted to be stability of temperament with his
nearly-permanent residence at the Mansion. That was about to end--and he
hated the fact that it had to.
But a year's grace was more than either Scott or the Professor had
expected. Far less, however, than they'd needed.
Logan turned, looking back at him--probably checking his scent over the
conflicting odors of grease and brake fluid, to see how necessary the
interruption was. Then growled something, before crossing to the side of
the car, getting a foot on the board, and rolling Jubilee out.
"Can you finish up without me bein' here nagging you?" he asked. Jubilee
looked up, a little surprised, eyes wide, then glanced quickly at Scott
"Sure, Wolvie." A pause, then she raised herself on her elbows. "If
you're busy, Kit and I--"
"Never mind that. I'll come get you at six, 'kay? Just be ready."
Grabbing a rag off the car, Scott watched Logan wipe a smear of oil from
Jubilee's face, then brush a quick kiss across her forehead. Logan was one
of those happy rare souls who didn't have much of a problem with personal
space or public displays of affection, at least with the kids. Or Jean,
for that matter, but at this point, that thought just made Scott grin.
"Get done and cleaned up, kid. I'll lock up later." With that, he stood
up, pushing the board back under, then wiped his hands clean before facing
He had a strange feeling Logan knew exactly what he was about to tell him,
and leaned against the door, waiting as the older man grabbed his overshirt
off the car and pulling it on.
Scott motioned him to follow and they walked in companionable silence
toward the grassy soccer field, while Scott tried to decide how to break
the news--just straight out, he supposed. Logan preferred things
unvarnished. So did Scott, truth be told.
"The revisions to the MRA are going to pass." Scott watched Logan closely,
caught the flicker of the hazel eyes--yes, he'd been ready for this. Logan
had listened to the back-up plans if the lobbying failed.
"You know the revised provisions?"
Scott almost spat as he thought of them.
"Required genetic testing for school admission, jobs, and any federally
funded program. Passport revocation for mutants, ID for cross-state moves,
and licensing for living in non-mutant-designated areas." Ghettos was a
word for it. If he was being generous.
"Property rights dissolved?"
"We're not staying to find out." Scott came to a stop, fixing his gaze on
the copse of trees in the distance. "Bobby and St. John already have their
registration complete at NYU--the semester starts in two weeks, and they've
been cleared as fully human. They should be fine. Piotr, Ororo, and you
are exempt under foreign citizenship status, but there's a good chance you
will get your visas revoked as soon as the revisions are passed. Dani and
Proudstar are going to ground in the reservations--we received the
Logan snorted softly--Scott had never noted Logan was particularly
sensitive to issues of law.
"Who do you want me to take?"
"Hank, Kurt, Fred Dukes, and Rasputin for now. Kitty's not MRA registered,
but we don't have the contacts at MIT to get her clear of the gene tests,
so we can't risk her starting college this fall. Jubilee wasn't going
Logan snorted something and Scott forced down the smile. That had been a
point of contention between Logan and Jubilee since her announcement just
"--and Remy's got his guild watching him--in its way." Scott thought about
what he was going to say. "'Ro's staying to help shut down the school--we
are going keeping it in operation until the last minute, so we won't arouse
any suspicion. By the time they figure out what we're doing, it'll be too
Logan snorted something that could have been an obscenity, already reaching
for a cigar--or two, as the case might be. Scott took the other without
demur--a strange sort of Logan-bonding ritual, and he'd grown to tolerate
Cuban blacks, even if he had no desire to find out who Logan's supplier
"You and Jeannie need to run and fast." Logan bit the tip, lighting the
cigar, then tossing the lighter to Scott.
Scott looked down at the Cuban. They'd had this argument before, and more
than once. Sometimes at the top of their voices, and every time Scott
walked out, he was conscious of a sick uncertainty--Logan was remembering
the times he'd gone as Jean's bodyguard to the conferences she was more and
more shunned at, the lobbying in Congress where she was threatened outside
the building--the single shot that had missed her by inches in Detroit, the
last time she'd been allowed off-campus. Logan took his security duties
seriously---one reason the FBI was finding it impossible to watch them as
closely as they wanted to. Xavier had given Logan access to
nearly-unlimited funds and to some of the most state-of-the-art
black-market technology that could be found--and Logan hadn't wasted a
second utilizing it.
"Jean's too visible. If she disappears now, there will be notice." He
knew Logan didn't like that--and Scott hated it himself. Hated being
afraid for Jean, hated that he'd had to restrict her to campus, and the
nightmare that was his life with a fianc�e who would barely speak to him.
He didn't even try to convince her to leave, for all the reasons he told
Logan--but also because he knew he had to compromise with her somewhere and
this was where it had to happen. She'd stay as long as he did.
Scott nodded slowly, thinking through the plan again, examining it from
every angle. "Yes. None of the kids who got registered are going to be in
the country when the provisions go into full effect. We can get them out
of Canada easier than out of the United States."
"How long?" The timetable wasn't written in stone, and Scott had made
alterations to it as soon as he'd heard the news.
"Two months to get all the kids repapered and across the border. I can't
chance notice. Even in Canada, we're not completely safe."
Logan was nodding slowly, but Scott watched his eyes slide back to the
garage and watched with him as Jubilee emerged, wiping her hands off on her
jeans before running for the doors of the Mansion.
"I want to take the girls out." Logan's voice was low. Scott had known
that was coming too.
"They'll be fine, Logan. They weren't registered the first time around."
It hadn't been hard to avoid it--the attempts were half-hearted at best.
Obvious mutants, especially the physically altered, had been the real
targets, along with the high-profile ones--he and Jean, for example.
Xavier's powers had kept him and as many of the kids as they could safely
hide free from registration. Kurt's German citizenship hadn't helped him,
though. Germany had passed the same restrictions and the irony of that
hadn't really escaped anyone. "We're getting out the registered first.
They're the most vulnerable. We can't do a complete move or it will be
And he knew Logan understood that too--they couldn't afford even a hint of
what they were planning to get out, or the borders would be shut down
completely, and though Logan could find a way across alone, chancing it
with several passengers--no. Thinking carefully, Scott ran through the
timetables again, adding various permutations, discarding them as unlikely.
They had their two months easy. Not suspicious, not at all.
"Okay. Your way, Cyke--for now. If there's even a hint--"
"I'll put them on the Blackbird and send them to Canada personally." The
government knew about their plane, though as yet, they hadn't been
approached about it. That still made Scott uneasy. His instincts were all
on the side of just packing everyone up and running--pack them into the
plane like sardines if necessary--but it just wasn't possible, not and get
their assets out as well, buy the passports and IDs and places for their
kids to survive.
Logan was still watching the garage and Scott wondered why--then checked
the fix of the hazel eyes, following them until he found what Logan was
really looking at, and drew in a breath. Knew that mentioning it would
just piss Logan off, but--
"We're taking down her stone before we leave, Logan. They won't--they're
not going to do anything to her grave." He didn't think they'd disinter
Rogue just because she was a mutant--though there were uncomfortable
rumors, rumors that Scott simply couldn't afford to even consider right
now, about experiments, about legally registered mutants that had been
arrested and then "escaped" from custody to vanish off the face of the
earth, of non-registered disappearing completely.
The set face didn't register any change.
"I'll take it down before I leave," Logan said finally, then glanced at
Scott, and he found himself unable to read the still face. "Just in case."
Scott let out a breath and forced a smile.
"I'll help you." Then decided to change the subject. "Your group will be
ready on Sunday. That give you enough time?" To set up security for his
absence, to brief Remy on what to do and give him access to the
passcodes--to explain to Jubilee and Kitty and St. John that'd he be
leaving and to take down the stone that marked where Rogue was buried.
And to pack the sketches up and send them ahead. But Scott didn't think
"I'm taking the girls to dinner in New York--should be safe enough there."
He gave Scott a sideways glance. It was a special treat for the kids to
get off the school grounds, and Logan did it as often as it was safe to do
so. "See ya later, Cyke."
Scott nodded shortly. He had a lot he should be doing, but nothing else
seemed quite as important as standing here, taking in the day.
Smoking the Cuban and trying not to wince at the rich, harsh smoke in his
lungs, Scott looked over the Mansion grounds, the school, committing the
perfect day to memory. Somehow, he knew he'd need it.
End Interlude 2
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