Title: Darkening the Sun
Series: Unspoken (this is Round 16...?)
Author: Shaz (aericura@...
Codes: Jean, Warren, AU (ring familiar yet?)
Rating: R for language, and, um, I left it hanging to avoid a higher
rating. just go read. trust me. :)
Summary: The X-Men discover Jean's left Xavier's cabin... and are about to
get a whole new twist on the quadrangle.
Feedback: is wonderful! I shunt the flames out the airlock of the Eureka
A/N: Their names are Rogue and Logan. Southern US native and Canadian
(well, not technically...). White hair and claws. Absorber asnd healer.
Scarves and dogtags. See? I do know who they are. But they're talking so
much better to everyone else, so I'll just stick here. It was a BIG plot
bunny, and armed. Would you disagree with an armed plot bunny?
"Whoever you are, just get out."
There was the click of a cell phone being opened, the antenna pulled open,
followed by a self-depreciative laugh. "Harsh words for the overworked
volunteers here. Do you always talk to people this way?"
"I was asking if you were always so cut-to-the-point. If nothing else, I
might steal you away from Charlie to be my personal assistant. I could use
some staff with actual personality. How are you with accounting?"
The groan from the corner was muffled by her burying her face in her hands.
"Warren Worthington. Truly go away now."
Shaking his head, restraining the comment about how little effort it had
taken to find her, their new little rescue project, and yet how much it had
taken to convince himself to somehow... accidentally... trip over her made
him grin. For whatever reason, the Catskills cabin just wasn't enough, nor
was the stack of books. So when Logan-- maybe he did still have his
"looking out for ya" deal going-- called the cabin, got no answer, and then,
when he connived Xavier into mentally ringing the nicely appointed and
stair-free vacation house, they realised she was gone.
Xavier had pinpointed her in an hour. Only he and 'Ro, the apparent fifth
and sixth wheels to the twisted little... quadrangle, had bothered to ask
where to go.
Warren sighed to himself. Xavier was off by himself, trying to convince
himself, like father figures always seemed to, that he was responsible for
the mess and therefore had to clean it up.
Or not. "Charlie" Xavier, a name Warren never uttered ANYWHERE near the
actual man, had a tendency to surprise all of them from time to time.
The others, though. Shit. Occasional cowards. One brooding about
choices. One brooding about what she just lost hold of, and how much blame
to put on herself. One wondering just how friendly a stranger could get
with the untouchable ex-fiancée of one of the big cheeses.
Logan had a good point though. At least he was TALKING to Rogue.
Warren arched an eyebrow at himself and surveyed the dingy room. Small,
stark, clean but cold, and nearly too wallowing in the victims that passed
Hmm, he was doing the same for their errant telepath. Talking... and yet
more. Scoring points and trust.
Offhandedly, he wondered if the nature boy had made a move on his colleague.
"You know, babe, I should really just get comfortable and wait out this
hissy fit of yours. Let you realise just where you're laying, what kind of
room you're in."
"I'm in a women's shelter somewhere in downtown New York, and I'm currently
wondering how the hell you got past the matron in the lobby."
Shrugging easily, slipping off the heavy coat that obscured the lines of the
disgusting but necessary harness that trapped his large wings in, Warren
didn't bother laughing. He wasn't trying to be funny. "I showed them your
picture, claimed I was your brother, and when she resisted further, I wrote
a cheque for half a mil to renovate this place. She let me past then.
After all, the people who really need a haven like this deserve better."
Jean's voice, stronger than she felt about the rest of herself at the
moment, was a little bitter. "And that makes me, what? A hypocrite?"
"For being here? No." He offered a shrug even though her eyes weren't
turned anywhere towards him. She was a telepath, she would figure it out.
"Ironically, a women's shelter is probably the only other place anyone can
go and act like you are without being harassed by the over-concerned.
They'll give you a bed, a meal and help if you ask for it."
"And assume a man beat me into this half-starved, mostly defeated
mentality." There was a sigh cast up from the bed as the mattress squeaked
in protest. Sitting up and hugging her knees to her chest, glancing up to
the charismatic face through a veil of red hair, she licked her lips. "No
man has ever hurt, raped or molested me. My father was a good man. Only
thing I've got going," she tapped a finger to her temple, the dark circles
under her eyes intensifying the gloomy stare she was giving him, "is a brain
that's got the volume turned up too high."
Or wings that set one apart from one's friends and family... "You would
prefer a mental hospital?"
"Hmm, Thorazine. There's a thought."
His eyes narrowed. Oh, someone would get yelled at when he got home for
missing little details. Maybe even Xavier, supposed master of the mind.
"Don't you fucking dare. Nuh-uh. That damn gossip circle can kiss my ass
if they think this is a game."
The pause was tangible as the redhead titled her head a little, suddenly too
quiet to not be brooding. Blowing a short breath out, realising that a
raised male voice was the one thing that would raise alarms here, Warren
didn't bother to shield his thoughts. Hell, maybe if she focused on him,
she'd forget the overheard argument and why she couldn't stay at Xavier's
lodge for more than four days.
Funny how the world's most powerful mind reader-- and most shielded-- left
such a strong presence in his wake.
But what she plucked from his head shocked him. "You don't really... like
Rogue, do you?"
Warren blinked quickly, dug for a reason to deny it utterly and growled at
himself. He buried that thought very deeply away, even from himself most of
the time, and here it was, naked to the room. "Is she why you won't come
"What do you think?"
"I think you're filling your Drowning Kitten Shoes nicely."
"Answer my question and I'll answer yours."
So this is what they had to look forward to when she wasn't cowering. Huh.
Cheeky. "I always thought she was setting my best friend up for the biggest
fall in his life, and guess what... I'm right. Yippee. Here I was dating
this fox of a--" he paused and observed the distaste over word use, nearly
chuckling, "heiress that wanted nothing more than to have a good time with a
guy who had a higher brain capacity and enjoyed sex; Scott was moping
because the whole untouchable issue was-- and is-- a big fricking thing.
Oh, he loved her, he probably still does, but they're not right for each
other in the end."
"Apparently you're the only one who sees this."
"I-- she pissed me off a year ago. She didn't see why, even after all the
sacrifices he made and the weirdness that was their being together, he
wasn't MORE into her. Well, gee. He's a control freak. With a normal
woman, he's a piece of work, but someone you have to count seconds with
before she sucks out your essence? I thought it was rather obvious. She
didn't see what they had as good enough, and I told her she should be
grateful for a love like Scott's. I don't think she listened."
"Didn't want to."
"She should have. Now, you answer me."
Closing her eyes, wishing that the one person-- besides Logan, she could
hardly fault Logan-- that seemed to pay real attention to her would just GO
away, she lowered her head to her knees and prayed for a silence to return
to her mind. Even a little one. "I left because... I left the cabin
because I couldn't stand it THAT quiet. At least the forest had animals. I
came here because I didn't know where else to go. I've sent women to places
like these myself, and everything I heard about them is true. It's hard on
you here, but healing. A reality check. Your home is a myth to me.
"Salem Centre as an imaginary place. Fascinating."
"No, just... wrong. For me. In another universe I might be able to
fantasize about deepening that connection with Scott. Here, now, it just
The air in the room changed ever so slightly. Not realising she was
loosening the self-hug and moving closer to the chair he had straddled, her
voice was gaining a little more security. Warren arched an eyebrow mildly
and restrained himself. Ooh, he knew this dance, where it could lead, but
he wasn't the one setting the steps...
"Maybe you need to stop thinking about him then."
Her eyes latched onto his sharply. "How?"
"I don't know," he admitted finally. "Try to tell the sun to not shine so
Her sigh and curl back into self-hug made him frown. So close to drawing
her out and then this. Bollocks. Standing up, his wings straining
impatiently at their bindings, he glanced to the phone in his hand, pondered
it for a moment then tossed it onto the chair. He would contact 'Ro a
little later, tell her his success in finding their potential friend and
teammate then. But for the moment...
Sitting lightly on the end of the bed, extending his hand out towards Jean,
he cocked his head innocently. "Do I need to start over? Promise I won't
hurt you again?"
"No," she murmured, watching him through veiled eyes.
"Then I suggest you take what you can get. We'd like you back with us
again, but it'll be rough sailing for a little while."
Her hand stayed tucked around her calf. "Which is why I'm not going with
"Well, then," he thought fast, nodding to himself. A little influence
beyond a private school was useful in cases like these. "What if I offered
you a place to stay... but not alone? At least until the screaming matches
"Little place I keep off grounds, I can take a leave, spend more time on the
business I've been sorely neglecting, see if I can show the rest of them the
Her eyes narrowed in shock. "Warren, I'm not going to--"
"No, no, no," he held up his hands, "if it's privacy issues, I can sleep on
the roof if it'll make you feel less obligated to 'thank' me."
"But it's your home."
"Yeah, so? So is that school, and I need a break." He shrugged
noncommittally. He was being mostly truthful, minus the errant irritations
over the melodrama that had become his comrade's lives.
Well, that and the undeniable interest he held in the woman before him.
Doctor, telepath, mutant AND red haired? God was laughing at him by so
clearly guiding her in the direction of his best friend. Not only would she
accept the non-human issue, but...
Warren laughed darkly, stopping himself from further frustration. No, he
wouldn't drive himself insane over her. Scooting over and taking the
initiative to run a hand along her arm, smiling when she didn't flinch, he
felt her eyes slide up to his.
The intensity in her gaze made him jump. "What are you thinking?"
Opening her mouth, glancing down to his hand and back to his face, she
pulled his hand into hers, setting it at the base of her neck as she closed
the space between them to mere inches. Turning her head thoughtfully,
abusing the invitation he had given her to touch his thoughts and emotions
as he watched her raptly, she bit her lip thoughtfully. "I don't know. I
Oh, hell, Warren, run, run, run. Back off NOW. The warmth of her neck
was... wow. Closing his eyes, he cast a final thought to his friend tucked
in an empty room, surrounded by the ghosts of wonder, worry and misery and
tried to feel part of it. Tried to embrace it himself.
He knew he had failed miserably when he leaned in, cupping his free hand
along her jaw carefully, and took that first kiss.
um, I'll be over here, hiding from the plot bunnies if you need me.... next?
"If you're in the business of saving lives, you better start with your own."