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HEYOKA: The Advent of Grace (1b/10) Scott, Jean, Grace, Ororo

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  • Minisinoo
    Continuing direction from part 1a/10.... ... An hour later, their tour ended at an elevator tastefully concealed behind wood wainscoting. Proudstar had been
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 13, 2001
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      Continuing direction from part 1a/10....


      An hour later, their tour ended at an elevator tastefully concealed
      behind wood wainscoting. Proudstar had been checking his watch
      throughout, hurrying her along. He'd been here too long if he lived
      by the damn clock. "It's time for your appointment with Dr. Grey," he
      said now. "Somebody will come to take you to her. I'm due in history
      class." He headed off, waved absently behind him. "Later, Sioux

      She waved back. "Later, Geronimo-Rides-Again."

      "Geronimo-Rides-Again?" said a voice behind, thick with amusement and
      a British accent.

      She spun, found herself looking down at the professor in his
      wheelchair. "I didn't hear you."

      "You mean you didn't *feel* me. That must be an odd experience for

      "Yes, Tunkashila."

      Professor Xavier smiled at her. A young man was with him, stood a
      little behind, assurance in his posture, if not quite arrogance. He
      wore a grey turtleneck under a navy button-down, loafers, chinos --
      very preppy -- and a pair of reflective sunglasses like a film star
      attempting incognito. He certainly had the looks for it, all sleek
      dark hair and strong-jaw with sculpted cheekbones and flawless skin.
      Was it a requirement for mutants to be above average in looks? If so,
      she failed on that qualification. He was watching her curiously -- or
      so she interpreted it. With his eyes covered, she couldn't read his
      expression, and with the professor present, she couldn't sense him,
      either. Xavier was a wall. "Shall we go?" the professor asked. "The
      doctor is waiting for you."

      At a nod from Xavier, the young man touched a panel in the wall and
      it parted, admitting them to the elevator which in turn deposited
      them in a long corridor, illumined blue-white up each side like
      something out of Star Wars. Gracie followed a pace behind Xavier; the
      young man matched her on the left. "Forgive me, I should have
      introduced you," Xavier said. "Grace, this is Scott Summers, a
      teacher here and my assistant."

      Ah. Mr. Impatient himself. But he didn't walk like he had an iron bar
      shoved up his ass.

      "Scott," the professor continued, "meet Grace Kills-his-Horse, late
      of Upper Cut Meat, South Dakota."

      Summers' lips had twitched. "Upper Cut Meat -- ?"

      "-- is a town. More or less. If you sneeze, you'll miss it."

      "Is there a Lower Cut Meat, too?"

      His response startled a laugh out of her, more because it was
      unexpected than because it was funny. They'd reached the far door and
      stopped, stood a moment just grinning at each other. "Scott?" the
      professor said. Summers jumped slightly, like a schoolboy caught
      daydreaming, then reached out to trigger the lock. Metal X doors
      parted to reveal an examination room decorated in institutional
      steel; a tall woman with auburn hair pursued busy-work as people will
      when waiting. "Jean -- our newest guest," Xavier said. "This is
      Grace Kills-his-Horse. Grace, Dr. Jean Grey, our physician and
      genetic research specialist. She's also a telepath, like me."

      "Not so powerful, though," the woman said, looking up to smile. Ororo
      had been delicate and striking, Proudstar handsome in the way of
      budding young men, and Summers, well -- If he ever got tired of his
      day job, he could probably find work as a Chippendale's dancer. This
      woman had a different quality altogether. Beauty certainly. But
      something older, sharper, more clever . . . .

      Gracie moved away from Dr. Xavier. Instinct rather than deliberate
      choice. Like a child who smells something she can't quite place and
      would follow the scent to its source. Out of the chair-bound
      professor's immediate sphere and concentrating as she was, her senses
      flared up strong as burning sage. A swirl of impressions from the
      other woman washed over Gracie; she picked them apart seeking the one
      thread that interested her.

      *Wildness.* White-grey wildness, like a coyote's coat, like the
      woman's own name. That was what Gracie had sensed in her. Not
      cruelty, or passion, or even arrogance. Nothing so simple. Under that
      polished, educated exterior and despite the lab coat and fancy
      equipment all around her, Jean Grey was not a tame thing. She longed
      to run free even as she longed for safety and concealment. Coyote
      lived by her wits and her caution. A wise person didn't trust her.
      She would turn and bite if threatened. Or flee and never look back.

      Jean Grey stared at Gracie for two seconds, then sucked in started
      breath. "An empath?"

      Behind Gracie, Xavier chuckled. "Indeed. An empath and healer both.
      She can do for others what Logan does for himself."

      "How strong?"

      "We don't know. That's your job, my dear."

      From Xavier's other side, Summers was measuring her. His humor had
      shifted into an expression that seemed to say, How can I use you? But
      still in the shadow of the telepathic professor, she could get no
      real feeling for him: his impulses, his fears, his motivations. She
      hadn't realized how much she relied on her extra sense to understand
      people. The professor couldn't be read unless he permitted it, as he
      had permitted it at their first meeting that morning. But she had
      seen enough then that she trusted him now implicitly. Just as she was
      leery of Grey. Summers, she simply couldn't judge, and that
      *bothered* her. Instincts and experience told her to doubt attractive
      men. They were too accustomed to having people give them things they
      hadn't earned. But there had been that moment of communion in the
      corridor, a communion which -- for once in her life -- hadn't
      depended on her own ability to pick up another's mood and reflect it
      back at him. They had simply taken an accidental step in unison, the
      sort of thing that happened to normal people all the time without any
      assistance from mutated senses.

      "Will you permit the doctor to give you a physical, Grace? I know
      that you were raised in a traditional manner."

      It was the professor. She glanced back at him. "We're a practical
      people, Tunkashila, and we live in the modern world. I drive a Honda,
      not a horse, and I heat soup on the stove only because I don't own a
      microwave. But thank you for thinking to ask." She walked over to hop
      up on an exam table. "Prod all you want, doctor."

      Grey had glanced around to focus a smile on Summers as he approached
      and propped himself against an empty exam table, hip shot towards
      her. Gracie needed no extra senses to interpret that posture. The
      good doctor and the professor's prot�g� were lovers. Old lovers, too,
      though Grey must be near ten years his senior. They shared that sense
      of oneness without touching which came from a long time of sleeping
      butt to butt. They didn't need to touch any more.

      Grace focused on him. Now out of the professor's blocking shadow,
      Summers radiated as clear as the heat of the season whose name he
      bore, and she probed him with impunity. He knew she was doing it --
      met her eyes calmly and let her. Maybe this was the first part of her

      Her knowledge of people had always come to her in colors. Scott
      Summers was brown and blue, pink and rust and deep violet. Calm
      colors, mesa cliff colors. Responsibility and dignity and underneath,
      a kindheartedness half afraid of itself. Unexpected shyness, an
      impish sense of humor that he seemed to think inappropriate most of
      the time. But above all, he possessed centeredness. The circle
      center. All directions radiated out from him. *Inyan*: the rock on
      which the professor had built his house. Every wolf in the world
      could huff and puff and not blow that house down.

      Gracie understood the May-September romance then. Summers was
      everything Grey felt safe with. Pure power of potential leadership,
      steady, dependable, if not always exciting. And his attraction to
      her? She was every teenage boy's fantasy come to life -- the smart,
      leggy older woman who he'd sweated over with his hand at night when
      eighteen. By twenty-two, back from college and filled out in shoulder
      and chest, he hadn't needed the hand anymore. She'd taken him to her
      bed. Shouldn't that prove his manhood at last?

      She slipped free of him, back into her own skin, and realized
      abruptly that the room had gone very quiet. Summers' perfect
      complexion was as red as his glasses and Grey had turned away, her
      face stark. They'd been listening to her thoughts. For a moment
      Gracie felt badly, then reconsidered. This was their exam; she'd just
      played along.

      Behind them, the professor cleared his throat. "Scott, Jean will do
      fine without you hovering. We need to check the navigational computer
      in the Blackbird. Jean can give us her report later." His glance
      included Gracie. "You're invited of course, since it will concern

      "So I'm not just the lab rat?"

      "We don't keep lab rats here," Summers said, face still averted. He
      fled in the professor's wake.

      The doctor finally turned back when the men were gone. "Tact isn't
      your strong point, is it?"

      "I'm an Indian."

      "Is that a reason or an excuse?"

      "Your culture is not mine, white woman. I was taught to tell the
      truth as I see it. If you don't want to hear it, don't ask."

      "We didn't *ask*. You probed him and he let you. He doesn't usually;
      he was being gracious. But you then interpreted what you thought you
      saw there without knowing a damn thing about either of us. You can't
      read his *thoughts*. Or mine. There's more going on here than
      insecurity or testosterone-drunk lust."

      A bit ashamed, Gracie didn't reply. The doctor was right. Tact wasn't
      her strong point. But Grace was right, too, in what she'd seen -- and
      Grey was on the run now like Coyote, twisting and snapping in panic.
      Gracie understood that. It wasn't a blessing, to know others'
      intimacies, either of thought or emotion. Grey had spoken of Summers'
      graciousness, but it was easy to be gracious if one didn't live under
      a constant battery of Otherness. "I didn't say there wasn't more,"
      Gracie told her now.

      Grey had turned away to work angrily at the protective plastic
      covering on a needle. "We've been together almost three years and
      were friends for a long time before that. Scott is . . . an amazing
      man. Thoughtful, brave, kind, highly intelligent -- "

      " -- impatient. Or so I hear."

      "He has his faults. But compared to other men I've dated in my life,
      he's a saint. What woman wouldn't love him?"

      "What woman could love him until she stops heroizing him?"

      Grey's eyes had narrowed. "Why, you have a *crush* on my fianc�."

      It was the predictable sucker punch. Gracie smiled. "Not a crush, no.
      But I do like him; he has a sense of humor -- something you left off
      your list. I make up my mind very quickly about people, Dr. Grey.
      Just like you do."

      "I feel like I'm fighting a hydra. You have an answer for everything,
      don't you?" Grey held up a syringe. "Please roll up your sleeve, Ms.
      Kills-his-Horse; I need to take a blood sample. You've had quite
      enough of my blood today already. My turn."


      End Chapter 1, go on to Chapter 2 . . . .

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