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Fic: Saw Red

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  • Shawn Carter
    TITLE: Saw Red AUTHOR: Shawn Carter WEBSITE: Currently down. EMAIL: shawngf@earthlink.net NOTES: This is movie-verse fic and a slight departure from the series
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 27, 2002
      TITLE: Saw Red
      AUTHOR: Shawn Carter
      WEBSITE: Currently down.
      EMAIL: shawngf@...
      NOTES: This is movie-verse fic and a slight departure from the series I've been writing. This one has just been bugging at me so hey. My apologies.
      SUMMARY: A brutal battle injury leaves Scott fighting for life. Things just go downhill from there. S/J
      RATING: PG-13
      MUSIC: Sublime
      DISCLAIMER; As always.


      George Blake was the kind of guy you never saw in school. Both figuratively and literally. His special mutant gift was the ability to become invisible. Small, barely 5 foot 4 inches with an incorrigible mop of brown hair, Gio was the kid who just drifted through life.

      Until Charles Xavier had found him and brought him to the school. Things were different now. So very different.

      It was like a whole new world had opened up around him. Bright colours and unimaginable scenarios. Maybe one day he'd be picking out his new codename. Something cool like Invisidude. Or maybe not. Something like that.

      He'd made friends quickly which had shocked him. He wasn't the outgoing kind of guy but before he knew it, he was all buddy-buddy with the young mutant known as Bobby Drake. Drake and Blake. What a combo.

      And so far neither of them were gaining any ground with Rogue. But that was something else all together and rather completely separate.

      Things were strange these days. Tense and frightening. Like there was some large cloud hanging over all of them. Like something very bad was about to happen. Very soon.

      Gio wondered when it had started but it didn't take so long. It was easy to trace the roots of the problem back.

      Back to the explosion at the museum.

      When everything had gone straight to hell.

      He wondered idly if the dream was dying.


      Scott Summers was losing the fight. She didn't need the charts and the machines to tell her that. When she reached out for him, all she could feel was his agony.

      And he was burning up. The cosmic energy within his body was overheating him and causing him to be delusional. In his best moments. In his worst, he was in a light coma.

      "Oh Scott," she murmured, running a hand over his face. He was hot, so very hot. Perspiration pooled and dribbled down his face.

      His face was heavily bandaged, his eyes completely glued shut. His skull was completely wrapped in gauze but small spots of red leaked through the white.

      He was hurt. So horribly hurt.

      She moved away from him and back over to the machine. Her job was to keep her focus. To be professional.

      To somehow forget that the beautiful young man lying so very close to death was her fiancée. Her beloved.


      She turned and smile. It didn't meet her eyes. "Ororo," she said, touching her friends arm.

      The weather goddess returned the smile. "How are you?"

      Jean laughed and then replied with more than a hint of sarcasm, "Fine. Perfect. Peachy." Ororo's look immediately admonished her. She sighed. "I'm scared shitless."

      "Has there been any change?" Ororo asked, moving towards Scott's unconscious fever-ridden body. He was covered in a simple white sheet but all of the bandages made him look like he was a mummy.

      Jean shook her head. "The tests..that..you know.." she stopped and took a deep breath. This wasn't like her. She was always cool. Always controlled. Had to be.

      Never lose your cool Red. Never ever. Or it's all lost.

      Ororo was above Scott, stroking his cheek. She reached out and took his hand. "Come on, old friend..it's time to wake up."

      Jean studied Ororo for a moment. She was Scott's best friend, his confidant many a time. In some ways, Storms' knowledge of all things Scott was comparable to her own.

      And she was just as terrified of losing him. For different reasons of course but just the same.

      Jean lifted her hand and Scott's chart jumped off the table and flew into her hand. She flipped it up and then wrote a few numbers on to it.

      "So you said the tests, right?" Ororo prompted.

      "Not good," Jean murmured. "His eye sockets were crushed inwards...he couldn't open his eyes even he wanted to which means he can't release the cosmic energy which means.."

      "Which means he's burning up," Ororo said solemnly, sitting. For a brief moment she held her head in her hands. Then she quickly rose. "He'll be okay."

      "God how I wish Scott were Logan right now," Jean said sardonically. Ororo lifted an eyebrow. Jean lowered her voice. "Cuz then I'd know he'd be okay."

      "He will be. He's Scott," Ororo said with confidence. Then she took her friends' arm. "Come. You need to eat."


      "So what did happen?" Bobby Drake asked as he sat down at the bench. It was almost twelve thirty which meant that lunch was fading fast.

      The small girl known as Rogue just shook her head. "The professor.."

      "Told you not to talk about it," Geo Blake muttered. "Well something happened. No one has seen Jean or Scott in a week. And they airlifted someone back here. Gotta be one of them."

      Rogue brushed the strand of white away from her eyes. There was a fading scratch across her left cheek. She shrugged. "Ah dunno."

      Bobby sighed but even the most constant of movements couldn't conceal his unrest. Everyone was uneasy these days. Walking on eggshells.

      Something was wrong. Someone was hurt. Badly.

      Maybe the never wake up kinda badly.

      "Who's that?" Geo queried, lifting an eyebrow. Bobby turned to look in the direction Geo was gazing.

      "No, more like who is SHE? Besides beautiful."

      Rogue rolled her eyes and then cleared her throat. Bobby gazed back at her with a guilty smile. He just shrugged. Rogue slapped his forearm lightly with her gloved palm.

      "She's sure in a hurry," Geo commented, watching carefully as the very tall and very beautiful ebony haired coloured woman moved towards the main house. She knocked on the door. A few moments later she was greeted by Ororo Monroe who very quickly led her in. The door thudded shut behind them.

      Geo turned back to Rogue, "So..who is the hottie here to help?"

      Rogue looked at him sadly. She really did want to talk to them about this. To get it off her mind. To tell them just how afraid she was. If Scott Summers died..well..she couldn't help but think that everything would change in a hurry. She looked down at the table.

      "Leave her alone, G. She's can't."

      Geo nodded and repeated it. "Well shit then."


      "I'm Doctor Leigh Reuter," the woman said, holding out her hand. Xavier took it quickly. Ororo moved to stand behind him so as to allow her teacher to fully inspect the new person.

      "I'm glad you're here," Xavier said. "This way, please. I fear we haven't much time."

      Reuter nodded and then motioned for Xavier to lead on. She walked silently behind him, almost striding in synch with Ororo. "So what happened?"

      "He was caught in an explosion," Ororo said simply. Her tone was crisp, almost like she was unwilling to share.

      "Stop," Charles said. He spun his chair towards Reuter. "I'll show you if you'd like to know."

      "It would help," Reuter replied. "Go ahead, Professor. I mean...you're gonna put the memories in my head, right?"

      Charles smiled but it was almost a wary grimace. Leigh knelt down at his side and he put his hands to either side of her head. "Just try to relax."


      Lunch had been a bust. She'd managed a few bites but little more until she had finally just decided that it was altogether a waste of time. She had thanked Ororo for her efforts but had informed her that her job as the team doctor meant that she needed to be by Scott.

      Team doctor. Whatever.

      Charles was bringing in outside help. A mutant by the name of Leigh Reuter. She'd never had a codename but her claim to fame was the ability to immediately diagnose any medical problem. Didn't mean she could always come up with a solution but she could usually tell you what was the most likely injury to kill someone and if they had a rupture in the back of their brain that the CAT scan had failed to pick up. It was like weird X-Ray vision.

      Reuter was also one of the more..experimental doctors around. She worked with the government, the CIA specifically. Her focus was on experimental remedies to bizarre and unmanageable mutations. Due to her work in this field, she had been shunned by most of the mutant community, especially the ones who saw their mutations as a gift rather than a curse.

      Suffice it to say, Jean would have preferred that they called in a third grader with a scalpel as oppose to Reuter.

      But it was for Scott.

      And she'd do anything for Scott.

      Even die.

      She hadn't been given that option.

      Everything at the museum had happened so fast. They'd been in plain clothes, there to simply enjoy a new car exhibit that Scott was hot to see. They'd even bought Rogue and Ororo along. Afterall, Scott was teaching Rogue how to rebuild an engine. It..well..it wasn't going so well.

      The cars were old retrofitted fifties and sixties speedsters. Their engines had been completely replaced and they looked like they were sleek fighting machines themselves. Scott had practically been drooling. She had just watched him with a patient smirk, allowing to the fact that his quirks were his and they actually kinda turned her on. Not that she'd openly admit to that.

      He'd been down on the ground, practically under the car when they'd heard a loud rumbling noise. She'd turned around quickly to see that one of the cars was revving itself. A few moments later, three goons in brightly coloured uniforms had leapt out. And started tearing their way through the crowd.

      That's when she had realized what was going on. One of the patrons in the crowd was a young junior senator named Ben Reeves from New York. The kid was controversial, opinionated and making a lot of enemies in a hurry. He seemed to have picked up the mantle of biggest mutant hater on Capitol Hill from the now deceased Senator Kelly.

      But these fiends hadn't been Magneto's. Which meant that their villain was likely someone else all together.

      They'd jetted towards Reeves but Scott had leapt in the way. Brave Scott. And then one of them had reached out and grabbed Scott, placing both hands on the tall X-Mens' head.

      He had exploded. There was simply no other way to put it.

      Only a last moment thought had allowed her time to place a shield in front of much of the crowd including Rogue and Ororo. Neither Scott nor Reeves had been near that lucky.

      As the dust had begun to clear and the wail of sirens had started to pierce the eerie silence, she had seen him lying on the ground among the debris.

      A mess. A bloody mess.

      Nothing had seemed to be where it was supposed to be. His clothes had been burned clean off. But the most terrifying thing of all was the way his skull had looked. Like a badly cracked egg. His glasses had lay shattered on the ground but that hardly mattered because it had looked like both of his eye sockets were cracked inwards.

      Reeves had just been dead. So had a handful of other museum patrons and at least two of their attackers. And the museum had been falling down around them. Fast..

      They had bailed. They had placed Scott's badly broken body into the back of his pickup truck and driven to a safe location. Then they had called for backup. Twenty minutes later, they had airlifted Scott to the medical bay.

      "And here we are," she murmured, leaning down to press a kiss to his burning forehead.

      "Jean," Charles said suddenly, breaking her from her thoughts. She looked up and saw him across the room, seated in his omnipresent chair and flanked by Reuter and Ororo.

      Jean took a deep breath and then strode across the room. "Dr.Reuter."

      "Dr.Grey," Leigh said coolly. Too coolly for Jean's liking. She decided to let it pass. Surely this was simple jealousy and right now that wasn't helping Scott.

      "Uh..um..thanks for coming," Jean said, stammering a bit. She clenched her fists, in an attempt to control her annoyance.

      *She's here to help, Jean.*

      *I know Professor, I know. I'm just not sure I trust her.*

      *She came of her own desire.*

      *I know. And I think that's what I don't trust.*

      *Jean, I understand your fears.*

      *No. I don't think you do. It's Scott..*

      "Okay, "Leigh said abruptly. "Let's check out the patient."


      "Hi," she said softly. "Ah've been worried about ya."

      "Don't worry, kid. I'm okay," the gruff man replied. "Just tired."

      "Where are ya?"

      "Not far. Not close," he replied cryptically.

      "So, had any luck?" Rogue queried, holding the phone tight against her. With all of the craziness, he suddenly seemed like a beacon of safety.

      "Some. Some not," Logan answered. "How are things around there? Wheels driving ya nuts yet?"

      Rogue allowed herself to laugh a bit. He just had that way. She missed him. "No..things are..crazy.."

      "How so?"

      "Cyclops..he was injured. Pretty bad too," Rogue said, twisting the phone cord between her fingers.

      "What happened? You okay?"

      "Yeah. Jean used one of their shields to protect us. It was really weird. This guy put his hands on Scott's head and then boom!"

      "Boom," Logan repeated. "How's Jean?"

      There was a pause and then Rogue said softly. "How would you be?"

      "Right," he said. "Bad. Real bad."


      "No," Jean said, stepping around the counter to glare at the dark haired woman. "Absolutely not." Her anger was tangible.

      Reuter shrugged. "Dr. Grey.. I understand your reservations. He is the leader of the X-Men.."

      "I assure you, " Jean snapped, "You don't understand at all. Nor are you touching Scott. I think our business here is done."

      "Then I must confess to being confused," Reuter said coolly. "I thought you wanted to save Scott Summers' life."

      Jean growled. She actually growled. Ororo's eyebrow shot clear up to her hairline as she expressed her shock at her friends' complete loss of composure.

      "What I want is for Scott to be okay. What I do not want is for some government crack to walk in here trying to change who and what he is," Jean hissed.

      "I'm trying to save his life, doctor. The rest is your delusion."

      "Doctor Reuter, are you quite sure this is necessary?" Xavier asked suddenly, trying to defuse the situation.

      *Professor, no! I won't allow it.*

      *Jean, please calm yourself. Do you honestly believe that I would ever allow harm to come to Scott?*

      "Yes," Reuter replied promptly. "Scott is suffering from extreme head trauma. I think we can fix that but the problem is..opening up his skull right now could very well cause a second explosion due to the release of the pent up energy."

      "So we find another way," Jean demanded.

      Reuter just waved her off. "But if we simply remove the mutation..then the problem fails to exist and we can go in and operate on his brain. It's really his only option for survival."

      "You're insane," Jean snapped. "How long did it take you to develop this? Simply eradicate a mutation? How long until the government starts implementing it?"

      "That's classified information, I'm afraid. But I have been authorized to help you."

      "So Scott is a test subject then?" Ororo demanded, stepping forward. She'd been trying to hold back figuring that since Jean was so unusually irate and pissed off, she should refrain.


      Well at least Reuter was honest. Little consolation there.

      "You bitch," Jean hissed taking a step towards the woman. Ororo grabbed her arm.

      "Calm yourself, my friend. This will get you nowhere." Ororo spoke softly, gazing with concern at her comrade. Jean was always the picture of cool composure. But one look at the tall redheads face and she could see the bags lying thick beneath her eyes and the soft discoloration of her skin. Not only had she barely eaten since Scott had been brought in but sleep..not very likely.

      Her nerves were frayed down to the bone. It was just that simple. Jean Grey was no longer holding back because she didn't care. And things could only go downhill from there.

      Afterall, it was never a good idea to fuck with one of the planets' strongest telepaths. Even if they were only in training.

      "I thank you for your assistance, Dr. Reuter but I think we shall handle this on our own." Charles Xavier said as he came towards the biobed.

      Reuter sighed loudly. Then she turned to Jean and smiled. "I'm sorry, no. By order of the United States government, I am taking this man into custody."

      "You're delusional," Jean snapped. "And stupider then you look if you think I'm letting you walk out of her with my fiancée."

      Reuter lifted an eyebrow. "Interesting. We had not know that you and Cyclops were involved."

      Charles wheeled closer to her, an odd look of confusion on his face. "You're blocking me.."

      "Yes," Reuter. "My boss had..anticipated your resistance so we took the appropriate measures to ensure the success of the mission. When you allowed me to see the accident, I put a mental block in place."

      "Scott is not a mission, " Jean said desperately. Then she looked at the other woman. "We both took an oath..above all else do no harm. Please.."

      "I don't consider this harm, Dr. Grey." Reuter said, stepping towards Scott's unconscious form.

      "You're one of us, "Ororo protested. "How can you do this?"

      "Mutation is a monstrosity.."

      "You have a mutation," Ororo reminded her. She glanced over at Jean who had her eyes closed. She was rubbing her head, looking like she was trying to will a headache away. Storm knew better.

      *Just a few more minutes. I'm trying to get help. Just a few more minutes, Ororo. Please.*

      "Unfortunately that is true. But I am not one of you. I will work for the rest of my life to end this..accident of nature. And please, Xavier..spare me the we're all God's children spew. Heard it and not impressed. Mutants are not God's children."

      "But you are?" Ororo challenged.

      Reuter laughed. "No. Not yet. But as soon as my work is done and the cure for this disease is confirmed..I will be again."

      "You're mad, "Ororo informed her. It was a very clear statement.

      Reuter shook her head. "Okay, I'm pretty much done with this. Mr. Summers will be coming with me."

      Jean's eyes snapped open. "Don't bet on it." She hoped the Professor was continuing her efforts at calling for help. Hers had been in vain. She had a sneaking suspicion that the room was somehow shielded.

      "Dr. Grey, I will ask you once more to step aside and then I will have you moved," Reuter said. Cool as ever.

      Jean flashed her a daring smile. There was no humour in it. Then, reaching back, she punched the woman right in the kisser.

      Reuter flailed a bit and then fell backwards, gasping, clearly shocked. She touched her face and mumbled, "Minor laceration. Non life threatening. Minimal loss of blood."

      "Not yet," Jean promised, still over her. "Understand me..you are not taking him from me.."

      "I'm afraid you're incorrect," Reuter said, still rubbing her jaw. "Wipeout."

      "Wipeout?" Jean said, clearly confused. Then she blinked as another light turned on in her brain. Someone else was in the room.

      The shadows lying lazily across the room seemed to shift until a blue and black coloured man, not all that much unlike their good friend Kurt Wagner appeared.

      "At yer service," the little mutant garbled before leaping into the air with amazing agility. And then it seemed like the room itself was twisting. Spinning. Becoming intangible.

      She reached out for Scott desperately. Calling to him. Telling him to hold on.

      And then everything was just gone.

      Blackness and despair.


      "Jean? Jean?" Something slapped her face. Hard. She started, moving upwards quickly. And then she groaned and tried to drop back. She placed a hand to her forehead.

      "Mine as well," Ororo said, sitting next to her.

      Jean looked up to see had been slapping her and blinked. "Logan?" She rubbed her eyes. "Logan?"

      "You've said that twice now," he grinned. "I think you like my name."

      "Uh, yeah," she stammered helplessly. At the moment she was trying to keep herself from throwing herself into his arms.

      "So I hear ol' One Eye got himself in trouble," Logan said, offering her a hand to help her up. He settled her into a chair.

      "He's hurt, "Jean admitted, her voice a whisper. "And they've got him."

      "And we know where they are," Logan reassured her. "We'll be ready to go in fifteen minutes."

      She groaned and then stood up. "I'm going with you."

      "As am I," Ororo informed him.

      "No way. It's under control."

      She grabbed his arm. "I can't tell you how happy I am to see you. I really can't but if Scott dies while he's there.." she paused and then stopped. She took a moment. "If Scott dies..it should be in my arms."

      Logan studied her for a long moment and then sighed, "So I guess you broads better get into leather then."


      Geo Blake awoke with a shuddering start as the room he shared with Bobby Drake was filled with loud rumbling. The X-Men were on a mission. Something serious was up. He had seen Xavier earlier and oh man had the Professor looked pissed.

      And then he'd seen Jean making her way down to the lockers so that she could suit up. But no Scott. The look on her face best resembled resolve. And fear.

      "Where do you think they're going?" Geo asked, staring out the window.

      "Dunno," Bobby admitted. "But I don't like the feel of all this one bit."


      "It's a damn trap," Logan hissed as they climbed onto the planks that gave them access to the floating warehouse in the middle of the harbor.

      "I figured that too," Jean admitted as she pulled herself to her feet. "Bring Scott and they know we'll come after them. So we bring them more subjects."

      "Fucking Genosha," Logan muttered, referencing the recent mutant hot-spot of the world. "Stormy..some fog?"

      She nodded and her eyes went white. A few moments later, a thick cloud swept across them as they continued their movements.

      Logan clenched his fists and then released them, revealing several long steel claws branching out from each hand. "Let's get the kid home for dinner."


      "Start the first injection," Doctor Reuter said, putting the radiation suit on. "Upper forearm. Left. Make sure the vein is secure."

      She and two other whitecoats were settled in a large square room that was filled with metal slabs and all sorts of machinery. Various mutants lay on them, all in different conditions. Some of them dead or like Cyclops dying. Some in perfect health. All subjects of a very important study.

      The other doctor nodded and started the injection, watching as thick yellow liquid was put into the X-Men leaders' arm.

      Reuter turned and glanced at the mutant Wipeout. "Keep an eye out."

      "Yep, keep an eye out," a voice said from behind Wipeout. A moment later, he was lying in a heap on the ground. Logan retraced his claw and then grinned.

      "You must be the insane doctor."

      "I don't know you," Reuter said, sounding more annoyed than concerned. She glanced at Wipeout's body. "That's a shame. He had his purposes."

      "They call me Wolverine."

      "So noted," Reuter said with a curt nod. "Guards."

      "Goodie, a fight. Six months in Alaska..I'm itchy." He spun around and buried his claws into the face of one of the guards.

      Jean winced. Sometimes violence was necessary but it never stopped curdling her stomach. In all honesty, his pure animalism was at the root of any and all attraction she had to Logan but it also terrified her.

      All around her, a thick blanket of fog began to glide through the room. She decided it was time to make an appearance.

      She stepped out from behind the wall and placed a hand on either side of Reuters' head. "I'm taking Scott home."

      Reuter turned a bit and was dismayed to discover that her guards were being taken out quite effectively by Wolverine and the weather witch.

      "I can't allow that.."

      "And if you touch Scott again, I won't allow you to ever breathe again," Jean promised. "I want the key to his chains. Now."

      The woman spun quickly, hand fisted and cracked Jean across the jaw. The red-haired telekinetic hit the cold cement ground with a hard thud. Reuter moved above her and grinned. "Level two contusion. Minor laceration. No chance of death. Minimal blood loss. Don't worry, I can rectify that."

      Picking up a scalpel off the table, she strode quickly towards the still dazed woman. She grabbed her by the shirt and lifted her a bit. "It would have been fun to play with you."

      "Jean!" Logan cried from across the room, ducking just as a punch flew over his head. But he was too far away. And Storm was just as preoccupied.

      "Sorry, Doctor Grey..we could have been comrades." She laughed. "Or not." She moved the knife forward and was about to gut Jean when the young woman reached up and grasped both sides of Reuters' head.

      "Burn in hell," Jean moaned, closing her eyes. Flames of energy jumped from her hands and seeped into the other woman's skull. Reuter screamed. A moment later, she collapsed to the ground, eyes still open and staring straight ahead. Jean dropped as well. She gazed down at her belly and saw the knife stuck in it. She sighed and then lay back against the cement floor.

      "Jean!" Ororo cried out as she dispatched the last of the guards and surged towards her friend. She was over her instantly. "Jean.." She looked over at Logan. "Get Scott."

      Logan nodded and moved over to the slab where Cyclops was lying. He whistled as he examined the damage. Then he let his claws out and cut the binds. He bent over and lifted the unconscious man onto his shoulder. "I got you this time, boy."


      "How is she?" Charles Xavier said as he wheeled around the lab. "Henry?"

      Dr. Hank McCoy offered his mentor a smile. "She'll be fine. The wound was superficial. There might be a minor scar but nothing more. I think she is..shaken."

      "I expect so..you guys hate killing people," Logan said, leaning casually against the wall.

      "There are better ways, "Charles reminded him. He then settled a hand on Hank's shoulder. "This isn't your fault. You were away."

      "So I was," Hank agreed. "Of Scott then.."

      "Of Scott.."

      "We have two options. I can finish the surgery Dr. Reuter had started or we can let nature take it's course and hope that he is strong enough. either way will likely kill him. Dr. Reuters methods were crude at best..and more than that..from the bodies I've looked at..ineffectual except to destroy the genetic code completely."

      "We let nature do it's work," Jean said, as she entered the room. She was leaning against Ororo. "Scott.." she looked at Xavier. "This is as much his dream as it is yours. He could never survive not being an X-Man. It's who he is."

      "Then it's decided," Xavier said, glancing over towards his unconscious surrogate son's body.

      Logan moved towards Jean, "You should by lying down."

      "I know," she said. Then she looked at Hank. "Please?"

      He nodded. "Okay, everyone out. Give Scott air."

      Logan lifted an eyebrow and chuckled. Finally, shaking his head, he followed Ororo out of the room.

      "If you need me?" Hank said. Jean nodded and smiled.

      "This isn't your fault. You couldn't have known."

      "Right. Professor, a word?"

      "Of course, Henry. Jean, I'll be in my office."

      "Sure," she said. She settled herself next to Scott and waited until the door snapped shut leaving her alone with him. And then she dropped her head and began to cry.

      Very quietly.

      She will a pillar of strength.

      She was a little girl playing dress-up.

      She was a strong warrior with a calm cool way.

      She was a child lost in shadows.

      "Oh Scott, don't leave me."

      She was the older one. By almost five years. She was supposed to be the wise one, the supporter. But it wasn't like that. From the day she had first met Scott Summers, she had known that he would be the one holding her up. Giving her the strength to continue on.

      He was a quiet man. A brooder with a wicked sardonic sense of humour and a quirky grin. The smirk was his favorite facial expression. He was the kind of guy who liked to hold her hand, who liked to be seen in public cradling her in his arms. Her perfect confidant. Her absolute companion. Her soulmate.

      "I killed someone, Scott.." she whispered, her voice hoarse with pain and torment. "I..I didn't want to..I didn't..you have to come back to me..I think I'm cracking." She laughed. "Sounds silly."

      She took a deep breath and then stood up and began to pace about. "Hank thinks he knows how to leak some of that cosmic energy that is cooking around inside of you. If we can leak enough..then they can go in and operate and you'll be okay." She bent over and kissed him. "You'll be okay. And I'll be here. Always."

      Then she straightened herself and with a brush of her hand past her face, she cleared the tears away.


      "I guess then we know it's Cyclops," Geo said, turning to face Bobby. He looked from the ice-maker to Rogue. "But you already knew that."

      "Ya," she admitted. "He's hurt bad."

      "Is he gonna live?" Bobby asked.

      Rogue shrugged her shoulder. "Ah dunno."

      "You wouldn't think so by looking at Jean," Geo noticed, pointing towards the somber looking telekinetic who was making her way towards the room she shared with Scott.

      "Hey now, it's Cyke," Bobby said, enthusiasm in his tone. "Of course he'll pull through."

      "Of course," Rogue muttered. But if she closed her eyes, all she could see was what he had looked like after the goon had touched his head and the light show had ended.


      "Well?" Jean said, leaning upwards and over the counter. "Hank?" It was so damn frustrating being kept out of the loop and out of the surgical room. She was a highly experienced doctor, the usual keeper of the sick bay due to McCoy's constant travels.

      "The surgery went well," Hank said, nodding. "I think we released a good amount of the pent up energy. Dispersed it. His fever is still high though."

      "So you can't operate?"

      "I don't think we have an option," McCoy informed her. "I was looking over Dr. Reuters's notes.." he chucked a bit when he heard the growl from the redhead. "Yes..um..she made a note of a clot in the back of his cranium. I don't think we have much time."

      She nodded and then stood up fully. "Okay, then do what you have to do. But I'm coming in this time." She held up her hand. "No discussion. Hank..I need..I need to be there.."

      "So what were they?" Logan queried, sipping from a longneck.

      "Followers of a mutant who calls himself Father Time."

      "Does he have a long white beard?" Logan cracked. He quickly fell quiet when he saw Xavier glaring at him.

      "His real name is Payce Bronson. He has the ability to twist pockets of time."

      "Meaning?" Ororo asked.

      "If you're standing in front of him..he can make you think you're in a place ten minutes ago. It's all an illusion but it's very very real." Xavier informed her and Logan. "From what I can tell, his followers have been growing. He preaches much the same message as Magneto only..worse?"

      Logan chuckled. "Impossible."

      "Eric wanted to change humans into mutants. Mr. Bronson just wants to kill everyone. He's quite mad."

      "I'd say. So who was the joker who brain-fried Cyclops?"

      "I'm not sure. But whatever he did, he tapped directly into Scott's energy and caused him to explode outwards. Almost like Scott's brother does."

      "Scott has a brother?" Logan asked, eyebrow up.

      "Yes, Alex," Ororo said quickly. "He's in Arizona. Long story."

      "Ain't it always. Two Summers men. That's fun." Logan shook his head. "Okay, so this guy taps in and turns Cyke into a bomb..is he still alive or did he go in the blast."

      "He was lying dead next to Scott when the smoke cleared," Ororo informed him.

      "A suicide bomber. Nice guy this Father Time. Can't any of you get real codenamed? Less silly I mean?"

      "Sure." Ororo said with a grin. "Wolverine."

      He just sighed.


      The water splashed over her hands, cleaning the blood away. His blood. Her blood. So much blood. She scrubbed them until they were clean, nearly raw and then dried them off.


      "Yes, Jean?" McCoy said looking up from the table.


      He offered her a wry smile, "Give it time, Jeanie. Give it time. It's Scott..he always makes it through."

      She glanced down at her hands, seeing red where it wasn't. She rubbed her palm nervously. "Sure."


      "So what of this 'cure' those hack doctors were working on?" Logan asked, putting an arm across the bag of the chair. His hands were itching. That wasn't so unusual. Just annoying.

      "The basic premise is to alter the genetic structure of the mutant enough that over time, they will revert to a full human. However it seems flawed in execution.."

      "And theory," Ororo bristled.

      Xavier nodded. "That as well. From the research I looked at..the autopsies on the bodies...it was melting the genetic code instead of 'repairing' it."

      "So released into the mutant population?" Logan queried.

      Ororo looked at him solemnly. "It would be genocide."


      "Jean!" a voice called out. It was urgent, filled with excitement. "Jean!"

      She opened her eyes and moaned. Ten minutes here. Ten minutes there. Hardly added up to any real sleeping time. She straightened out her arms and pushed herself up. Oh well..all for the best; her dreams were rather..dramatic these days.

      "Hank? Wha?" she asked, stepping into the lab. Then she gasped. "Oh Scott.."

      "Oh Scott, indeed," Hank beamed.

      She moved across to her fiancée quickly. "Baby?"

      "Jean?" he murmured, his voice barely a whisper if that. "My eyes?"

      "Closed, lover. They're sealed. Don't worry."

      "What happened?"

      "Another time," she promised, her heart feeling like it was going to explode. "Right now..and I don't really want you to..you rest.."

      "Mm..kay," he slurred before dropping back off. She looked quickly, almost in a panic at the machines and then sighed when she saw that they were beeping out the gentle rhythm of REM sleep.

      Hank?" she asked, near tears.

      "Yeah, Jeanie," he said with a smile. "He's going to be fine."

      She laughed and then she collapsed in his arms.


      "Well, well? What do you here? Bobby asked urgently.

      Rogue was nearly bubbling with excitement. "They say he's gonna be okay."

      Geo let out a breath that he didn't know he'd been holding and then a whoop. He picked up Rogue and spun her. Then once he let her down, Bobby did the same thing.

      The dream was alive and well.


      He wasn't moving much, not should he be. But at least he was back in his own bed and that was something.

      Reaching up, he touched his head. His head had had to be shaved for the surgery so his scalp was covered in bristles. Grumbling, he reached to the nightstand and went for his baseball cap.

      "It doesn't look so bad," Jean reassured him, grinning ear to ear. It sure wasn't Scott but right now she was beyond caring. He was expected to make a full recovery. His eyes were still sealed but that was due to concern about the amount of control he would be able to exert. It was frustrating for him, this she knew but as it were, Scott was pretty used to living with disability.

      "Uh huh," he muttered. "What are you wearing?"

      She grinned and saddled up to him. Sitting in front of him but being cautious not to touch any of his wounds, she bent forward. "Your shorts. Your shirt. Nothing else."

      He swallowed. "Uh.."

      "Yeah, uh huh," she giggled. She reached up and ran a palm over his cheek. His recovery was going to be long and grueling..his body was broken in several ways but she knew he'd pull through.

      That was Scott.

      He always pulled through.

      "You know I love you, Summers." Jean said, taking the baseball cap off of him. She rubbed his head and giggled.

      He smiled and it was the most beautiful thing that she had ever seen. "My girl."

      "Always." And then she bent over and kissed him. Leaning over to the nightstand, she snapped the light off. "Come to bed, lover."

      It was his turn now. With a smirk he replied, "Always."


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