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HEYOKA: The Advent of Grace (5a/10) (ensemble)

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  • Minisinoo
    HEYOKA: The Advent of Grace 5 Minisinoo http://www.greymalkinlane.com/min/heyoka5.html Notes: They re Marvel s (mostly), not mine. According to the comics,
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      HEYOKA: The Advent of Grace 5
      Minisinoo
      http://www.greymalkinlane.com/min/heyoka5.html


      Notes: They're Marvel's (mostly), not mine. According to the comics,
      Cyclops' mutant ability was damaged due to a head injury, so his
      optic beams are 'stuck' in the on position. Neither the movie nor the
      novelization suggested that twist, but I decided to keep it.

      ----------

      Scott Summer's Sunday began on a bad foot and got progressively
      worse. It all started when he had to haul out Bobby Drake and Jubilee
      from chapel by the ears, literally. They'd been passing notes and
      giggling for almost half an hour before he simply lost his temper
      altogether, walked up behind them, got Bobby by one ear, Jubilee by
      the other, and said, "You're coming with me. Now." Then he set them
      to cleaning the dorm bathrooms. Not together.

      He didn't really like being the heavy, but someone had to do it. The
      kids knew they could charm Ororo into a simple rebuke (which did no
      good), Jean was too sympathetic, Valeria too focused on her private
      devotions, and the professor led chapel. Hank was still on sabatical.
      That left him.

      Chapel wasn't meant to be stuffy. It was a-religious, in fact. Most
      of the kids had come from protestant religious backgrounds, or none,
      and the professor had absolutely no intention of forcing a particular
      faith down anyone's throat. Summers himself would have rebelled if
      that were the case. His own personal beliefs amounted to an apathetic
      agnosticism. Nonetheless, the professor believed that a little quiet
      time at least once a week was good for the soul. So he ran chapel
      based on his own long-ago Quaker background: an hour of quiet, with
      opportunity to stand up and say something at the end if anyone
      desired. Students could do whatever they liked during that time --
      ruminate, pray, pick their toenails, it didn't matter. But they had
      to be there unless they were sick and cleared by Jean, and be there
      without walkmans, gameboys, books, cell-phones, palmpilots, or food.
      Most of the kids put up with it. A few actually seemed to like it.
      Scott adored it. He would lean back, close his eyes, cross his arms
      and ankles, listen to nothing, and think. If he'd been raised a
      Quaker instead of a Catholic, he might still be a religious man.

      That Sunday, Jubilee and Bobby were up to no good. Drake was a clown
      -- a clever clown -- and so was frequently up to something. Frankly,
      he reminded Summers of himself in school, so Scott was always one
      step ahead of him. Jubilee was just trouble. She grated on Summers
      the same way Logan had, and she knew it, did her best to rub it in.
      Now, he stood over her, watching her clean. Drake would mop the floor
      because Summers had told him to. Jubilee would try to weasel her way
      out of it.

      "This is, like, *so* completely unfair," she muttered now. "I didn't
      do anything!"

      Summers raised his hand, one of her notes to Bobby caught between his
      fingers. "Right."

      She glared at him a moment, then flung her hair �- highlighted blue
      this week �- and returned to using Fantastic on the sinks. "But
      chapel is so *boring*. There's absolutely nothing to do!"

      "You might try using your imagination for an hour, instead of
      distracting it with brain candy."

      She scrubbed harder. "You never pick on Kitty or Rogue."

      "Kitty and Rogue don't usually give me reason to. And I'm not picking
      on you, Jubilation. I'm punishing you. There's a difference. Now cut
      the crap. Whining doesn't become you."

      No audible reply to that but he could almost see the mental finger
      she flipped him, and thought he overheard her whisper, "You are
      *such* a tightass." He chose to ignore it. As much as she annoyed
      him, he had to agree with the professor that she had potential. She
      just needed to learn to obey and work as part of a group, not
      constantly seek to disrupt it. There were better ways to get
      attention.

      He wondered how much of her behavior this morning had been to get his
      attention.

      After chapel, he let Ororo take over watching Jubilee for him, then
      went to face his second unpleasant duty for the day: talking to the
      one who hadn't come to chapel at all that morning, had never come to
      chapel despite repeated, increasingly pointed invitations.

      He found her out on the lawn, wrapped in a Navajo-blanket jacket that
      he saw only as red and black and wine. She had her face turned up,
      eyes closed, towards the rising sun. She was frequently up with the
      dawn, and over the past month, he'd come to realize that Gracie loved
      morning as much as he hated it. Why she refused to come to chapel he
      didn't understand. Of all the adults at the school, she -- and
      Valeria -- were probably the most religious, albeit in their very
      different ways. He was the least so, but he went dutifully. He even
      liked it.

      She turned at his footstep. "Heyla."

      "Hey." He sat down by her, wrapped his arms around his drawn-up
      knees, didn't say anything for a while. That was one of the things he
      liked best about spending time with her: he didn't have to talk
      unless he wanted to. He didn't have to talk with Jean, either, but
      that was usually because they were each doing their own thing:
      reading, grading, working on lesson plans, exercising in the danger
      room. They couldn't just go sit on a bench and not talk. The pattern
      had started early in their relationship; he'd been too nervous, too
      intent on impressing her, constantly shooting off at the mouth to get
      her attention. So she'd come to expect him to entertain her, say
      something clever, witty, intelligent. Grace didn't expect that.

      But right now, his silence with her wasn't comfortable. She slid her
      eyes sideways after a minute, then pointed to the sun. "I know it
      looks red to you all the time, but this morning it is red. A real
      Ind'n power sun." Then, almost without pause, she added, "You've come
      to scold me, ain't it?"

      She had odd English. She spoke with a lilt, said 'ain't it' even when
      not grammatically correct by any stretch, and used fewer
      contractions. Red English, she'd referred to it once. "I'm not here
      to scold you," he said now.

      "Ah. Then why are you nervous?"

      He smiled slightly. Unlike Jean, Gracie had no qualms about reading
      people, maybe because picking up emotions was less invasive than
      filtering mental images. It facilitated, didn't frighten. "Okay.
      Maybe I did come to talk to you. But not scold. You're not one of my
      students."

      "Thank god."

      "Hey! I'm not that bad."

      She laughed. "No, you're not. But the students get great mileage out
      of pretending that you are. Mr. Summers the Grouchy Grizzly. I am
      going to start calling you Mato, not Cyclops. So what do you want to
      scold me about?"

      He couldn't keep the grin off his face. "The Grouchy Grizzly? And I'm
      not *scolding*."

      "Fine, Mato X-Man. What do you want to *talk* to me about?"

      "Chapel."

      "I should be a good girl and show up on Sunday mornings."

      "Something like that."

      "I have a hard time worshiping the Creator with a roof over my head.
      Why don't you hold chapel outside some Sunday? I'll come then."

      He sighed, rubbed his eyes under his glasses, felt her hand on the
      back of his neck. "They hurt, don't they?"

      "Don't change the subject, Gracie." He moved away a little, didn't
      like her touching him. It made him feel things he shouldn't.

      "I am not changing it. We can talk about chapel in a minute. Right
      now, answer my question. Do your eyes hurt?"

      "Sometimes."

      "Most of the time, I think."

      "I'm used to it."

      "You would make a good Indi'n, Mato X-Man. Grin and bear it. Here,
      keep your eyes closed."

      "Why -- "

      "Don't ask questions. Closed?"

      "Yes."

      He felt her lift the glasses away, then she laid one hand sideways
      over his eyes, pushed lightly. He could feel her other hand at the
      back of his head, pulling at his hair, not hard, just tugging. In
      three breaths the ache had lessened, three more and it was gone like
      fog retreating under morning sun. He sighed audibly. "There. Better?"
      she asked.

      "Yes. Thank you."

      She drew her hands away and handed him back his glasses. He put them
      on, opened his eyes. The pain remained gone and he blinked several
      times. "It'll come back in a while," she said, still kneeling in
      front of him. "I'm sorry."

      He just shook his head. "Being without it, even a short time, helps."

      "That is one reason you are so tense. The pain. Your mind may get
      used to it, but your body don't forget. The muscles clench up.
      Probably gives you headaches, too. You must go through the Bayer."

      In fact, he did.

      "Let me show you something else, something you can do for yourself."
      Before he could protest, she took his hands and placed the right at
      the back of his neck, then the left at the base of his spine. Her
      touch was gentle, impersonal, like Jean in doctor mode. "There. If
      you do that for a few minutes, it'll help to relax you, make the
      headaches go away."

      "What on earth good is this?" He felt foolish.

      "Your body has power in it, energy. I don't mean just you, in your
      head, from your gift. I mean in all of us -� everything on the
      earth:� trees, birds, animals, even the rocks. You call the rocks
      inanimate but my people know better. There's a spirit in everything,
      a power. Some of us, like medicine people, can use those powers,
      channel them. We learn it by discipline. But all of us got power, not
      just mutants." She grinned. "There are different kinds of power, too
      -- opposites. Man power and woman power. Sky power and earth power.
      Water power and fire power -- like your Bobby and St. John. When they
      are old enough to fight with you, you should always let them fight as
      a pair. They will be stronger together. We have opposite kinds of
      power in our bodies, too. If that energy fights itself, it hurts us,
      can make us sick. But if it flows together, it relaxes us. That's
      what you're doing, letting the power flow together in your body. But
      you got to do it this way, not reverse the hands, or you'll make
      yourself worse instead of better."

      It sounded like the most ridiculous New Age tripe, but oddly, he did
      feel more relaxed. He couldn't figure out why it worked. He might
      have thought Gracie was doing it, but she wasn't even touching him.
      He found himself grinning stupidly. "It does help."

      She nodded, sat back down off her knees. "There is something wrong
      with your gift, Scott," she said after a minute. Her voice was very
      serious now, none of the light tease it often had, or even the
      didactic edge she had used to tell him about 'body powers.' "I am not
      sure what is wrong, but I can feel it. Your power . . . buzzes. I
      know that doesn't make sense, but it is the best way I can describe
      it. As if a note is out of tune in a song. Your power shouldn't cause
      you pain."

      He pondered this. It made sense. Other's power *didn't* hurt them.
      And most other mutants could control their abilities, too, turn them
      on or off, but not him. He moved his hands finally, folded them
      together in his lap. "What about Rogue?" She couldn't turn off her
      powers, either.

      "There is nothing wrong with Rogue. There is something wrong with
      you."

      Despite the seriousness, he smiled. "I'm sure the students would
      agree with you."

      She popped him with her hand, lightly. "Now -- chapel. Give me one
      good reason why I should go."

      "To be an example. If even one adult doesn't go, it makes it ten
      times more difficult to convince the kids that they should."

      "Maybe they shouldn't."

      "Gracie -- "

      "Listen to me. Maybe you're trying to shove them into your own model
      of how to worship."

      "I don't *have* any model of how to worship! Neither does the
      professor. It's entirely interfaith -- or no faith, like me."

      She studied him. The sun was bright on her hair, bright on the leaves
      of autumn. "You may not mean it to be a model, but it still is one.
      Go into a building, sit in a pew, be still and listen to people
      talking, or not. That's very European. Did any of you ever ask Ororo
      what worship meant to her? Or ask my little cousin, John?" He started
      to protest but she held up a hand. "I know. You don't want to impose,
      you're not trying to. I got the whole lecture from the professor's
      himself. He wants to teach them how to be quiet. I agree with that,
      you know. It's something we teach our own children young, to sit
      still and listen, not have to be constantly *doing*. But don't lock
      me up in a building. That seems . . . obscene to me.

      "Bring the kids out here and I'll teach them to be quiet and listen
      to the voices in the wind, the spirits in the rocks, the Great Spirit
      who made us all. But I can't hear Wakan Tanka in your chapel. It's
      all tame wood and glass. It's all man-made. *White man* made. I'll
      take my hour out here, under the sky. Why not let some of the kids
      join me next week?"

      Part of him wanted to protest, wanted to emphasize unity, cohesion,
      uniformity -- the things that made a team work. But she was watching
      him with those dark eyes, waiting, not angry but challenging him to
      think outside his own lines. "All right," he said finally. "I'll talk
      to the professor. Next week, you can have some of them." He smiled,
      wicked. "Including Jubilee."

      She laughed. "Bring her on! I was even worse, at her age. A complete
      contrary!"

      "What? You? I'd never believe it."

      Laughing, she shoved at him. He shoved back, which got them into a
      pushing contest like a pair of ten year olds She always made him feel
      better. Or maybe it was just the sun-warm smell of her hair.

      Suddenly uncomfortable, he got up, brushed the grass off his pants.
      "I'll go talk to the professor." Maybe after, he could catch a very
      late lunch. She nodded and he left.

      ----

      Continued DIRECTLY in part 5b/10....

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