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AN ACCIDENTAL INTERCEPTION OF FATE: "Besieging Tyre" (17a) prefilm, S/J + ensemble

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  • Minisinoo
    AN ACCIDENTAL INTERCEPTION OF FATE Besieging Tyre Minisinoo http://www.themedicinewheel.net/accidental/aiof17.html The day after Jean s awakening, Elaine Grey
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 28, 2003
      Besieging Tyre

      The day after Jean's awakening, Elaine Grey descended on Xavier's
      Institute like the wrath of Demeter upon Persephone's capture. She
      and her husband John arrived at noon, and Bobby Drake had the
      misfortune to be the one who opened the front door. "Where's
      Charles?" she demanded at once, slipping past the boy with a small
      woman's grace, then looking about, her chin tilted and dark eyes
      narrow. She reminded Bobby of nothing so much as a mink, edgy and
      inclined to bite if approached. Her husband, a big-boned man with
      silver hair, followed her inside, giving a nod and half-smile to
      Bobby, his shoulders slumped as if making an apology in advance.

      Bobby, of course, didn't know them, and asked, "Charles who?" because
      none of the new students was named 'Charles' and the pair in the
      foyer were obviously parents.

      "Dr. *Xavier*," Elaine replied with a snap, turning to glare, her
      lips pursed slightly and one eyebrow raised. "We're here to see
      Charles Xavier."

      "The professor is busy right now." All three turned at the new voice
      and approaching footsteps. Scott Summers stopped in front of the
      stairs, hands on hips. "Can I help you?"

      "Elaine, why don't we go somewhere and wait until Charles is free,"
      John tried to suggest, but his wife cut him off, speaking to Scott.

      "Charles called us this morning. I can't imagine that he's so busy
      he wasn't expecting us." The words mixed humorous disdain with faint
      reproach. "You can help best by going to fetch him, thank you."

      Her tone was one usually reserved for servants and Scott's shoulders
      went back, spine snapping straight with the instinctive antipathy of
      the working class for the country club set. "Can I tell him who you
      are?" he asked bluntly, as Bobby -- no longer the focus -- slunk

      "We're the Greys," John interjected, setting one hand on his wife's
      shoulder and leaning past her to offer Scott his other. "Jean's
      parents. Let me guess; you must be Scott Summers. Jean's talked a
      lot about you."

      "That's right, I'm Scott." And if he weren't so rude as to refuse
      the hand, he wasn't wholly reconciled and wondered what they were
      doing there, apparently having driven up that very morning without
      advance warning. Had Jean suffered a relapse in the night that he
      hadn't been told of?

      Or maybe *they* hadn't been told. The professor tended to play his
      cards close to his chest, and indeed, Scott's suspicions were
      confirmed when he went down to the Danger Room to inform the
      professor of the Greys' arrival. "Oh, God, my mother," Jean said,
      wrapping her arms about herself like a fence; Scott could *feel* the
      anxiety radiating off of her. "Did you have to tell her, professor?"

      "Well, I couldn't have put it off much longer, Jean."

      "She's going to want to see me."

      "Do you want to see her, is the question?" Scott said, walking over.
      She still appeared haunted and a little blurred about the eyes.

      "No," she replied instantly.

      "Then you don't have to."

      "Scott, she's my mother, she --"

      "You don't have to," he reiterated.

      "Scott is correct," the professor told her. "In fact, in your
      current condition, I wouldn't advise it, and that's what I intend to
      tell her." Turning his chair, Xavier headed for the exit.

      Jean looked at Scott in a mix of guilt and hope. "You stay here,"
      Scott told her. "I'll go listen." And with a quick squeeze of her
      arm, he trotted after Xavier, attaching himself to the professor like
      a squire to his knight. If Jean's mother wished to treat him like a
      servant, then he'd assume a servant's invisibility.

      It worked. No one sent him out of the professor's office, and he
      took up a position next to the door as Elaine got right to the point
      and Xavier (ever the proper host) made tea. "You told us this
      wouldn't happen! You said her telepathy was locked away

      "No, Elaine. I *said* her telepathy had been locked away until she
      was mature enough to manage it."

      "And is she?" John Grey asked.

      "Yes," Xavier said. "I think she is." He turned to look at the
      couple seated in front of his wide oak desk. "Jean's telepathy is as
      much a part of her as her telekinesis. It manifested before she was
      ready, but she is no longer a ten-year-old girl. Even had the
      telepathy not remanifested, I would have removed the blocks soon.
      The only reason I've permitted her to keep them this long is because
      she was otherwise occupied with her education."

      "Is she going to be all right?" Elaine asked while lighting a
      cigarette with nervous fingers. And if Scott would never learn to
      like the woman, her question and the obvious worry behind it
      mitigated somewhat his disgust.

      "Eventually? Certainly," Xavier replied. "By tomorrow afternoon?
      No. Would you like sugar or milk in your tea?"

      "Neither," John replied, and his wife said, "sugar only." She blew
      smoke, then asked, "What about her residency? If this goes on too
      long, she'll have wasted all those years. Jean's put too much of
      herself into these degrees, Charles."

      "Provisions have been made for Jean's residency," Xavier said. The
      statement was vague, but the Greys let it go. "For now, we need to
      concentrate on stabilizing her."

      "I want to see her," Elaine said.

      Xavier gestured for Scott's assistance, handing him the teacups to
      deliver. Servant indeed, but he'd set himself up for it. Meekly, he
      took the tea to the Greys as Xavier said, "At the present time,
      that's unadvised. Just as before, Elaine, Jean needs to remain
      isolated until she's stabilized."

      "I'm her mother."

      "You're not a telepath. You have no shielding ability."

      "I'm her *mother*."

      "Elaine -- "

      "Charles, this is my *baby*!"

      "Elaine, please." Xavier stared her down until finally she glanced
      away, contravened but not cowed. "As soon as Jean is ready for
      visitors, you'll be notified." And that was that.

      And if Scott were relieved to see the shrew sent packing, a part of
      him still felt empathic disquiet. Just two days ago, that had been
      *him* begging admittance, and the fact he'd won it owed more to his
      usefulness than to any sympathy on Xavier's part. Xavier did what he
      thought best for Jean -- not for Elaine, nor for Scott himself. When
      Scott had come back to the mansion, he'd come out of his own
      neediness, but in this situation, Jean's needs mattered most. And
      that, Scott thought, was the difference between maturity and
      childishness, the ability to think beyond one's own self.

      But Xavier hadn't, originally, believed Scott had anything to offer,
      and if Scott hadn't argued his case, he'd never have been admitted
      and Jean might still be lost in a swamp of others' impressions.
      Scott had been so accustomed to thinking of the professor as the man
      with all the answers, all the contacts, and all the experience, he'd
      forgotten Xavier was still a *man*. Like anyone else, he made
      decisions based on opinions; and however wise he might be, he wasn't
      infallible. There was a difference between trusting and following
      blindly; understanding that, too, was maturity.

      "He's going to be a *teacher*?"

      A verbal pinprick, whispered rapidly and barely caught, as Scott
      paced down the hall towards the new classroom-cum-arboretum to face
      eleven students spread across the equivalent of five different
      mathematical classes. And how, he wondered, was he to teach
      something like *that*? He was reminded of one-room schoolhouses in
      the Old West, and hadn't one of his ancestors been a marshal? But
      his own preparation had been geared towards modern classes of
      apathetic teenagers bored by the mere idea of inequalities and
      absolute value, and since -- by his senior year -- he'd elected to
      enter graduate school in something else, he'd never taken a teaching
      practicum. In short, his only real experience in a classroom had
      been as a student, and a one-and-a-half semester's stint as a
      glorified paper grader.

      "Good afternoon," he said now as he entered. Eleven sets of eyes
      swiveled towards him, glinting with skepticism, amusement, and
      perhaps a bit of derision. Who was he trying to fool?

      Unsettled by their doubtful expressions, he turned to the mobile
      chalkboard and began dividing it up into five sections to scribble
      down assignments, then stopped. This was just untenable. With a
      sigh, he glanced back at the room. Three were in the equivalent of
      Algebra I, which the State of New York called "Integrated Math I" --
      just to be complicated -- another four were in "Integrated Math II"
      (Algebra II and basic geometry), and two more were ready for
      trigonometry. Of the remaining students, one (Jubilee) was in
      algebra prep and another (Skids) was in remedial math, still learning
      the basics of multiplication and division.

      Xavier had told him they were used to splitting up, so he sent
      Jubilee and Skids to the library where they could work in peace until
      he could tutor them one-on-one. Then he moved around the room
      between the other three groups, explaining something, giving them
      practice equations, and going on to the next group. But if he were
      working with one set, he wasn�t available to answer questions from
      another, and between the three larger groups, he couldn�t find time
      to break away to answer questions for the two in the library. When
      he finally did get down there, he found his final two students
      doodling on notebooks in boredom. Apologizing, he sat down at
      Jubilee's table. Eying him, she popped her pink bubble gum and
      sagely offered, "The professor manages, and he's in a wheelchair."

      "Well, I'm not the professor.".

      Triumphant, she grinned. "Yeah, I know."

      Unsure how to respond to that, he said only, "Get rid of the chewing
      gum in the library." And they went to work.

      By supper, he was exhausted and depressed, and didn't want to visit
      Jean in such a dark mood. Frank found him brooding on a couch in the
      den. "So," the Italian began, seating himself in an armchair across
      from Scott, who was sprawled inelegantly on the sofa seat.

      "So -- I suck as a teacher."

      Frank's expression was dubious. "What is the problem?"

      "I can�t be in five place places at once?"

      "Ah -- so be in five places at different times."

      The initial answer was a snort. "Very funny."

      "I was serious."

      "That's what I *tried*. I divided up the class just like Xavier
      said, but they get bored waiting, or can't do the work because they
      have a question and I'm not available to answer."

      Frank waved a hand. "No, no. I don't mean five in one session; I
      mean to teach maths not just in the afternoons. The school, it has
      gone from five to eleven this very year. I believe that even the
      professor is becoming strained, and the numbers will only increase.
      It is time to think anew, no?"

      Scott scratched his chin. One didn�t have to be Nostradamus to
      predict that the school would just get bigger, compounding the
      problem. "You mean it�s time to divide up by age?"

      "Or at least into older and younger. There are three of you now, to
      teach -- you, Hank and the professor. So have Hank take the youngers
      in the mornings for the English and humanities, and you take the
      elders for the maths and sciences. Then reverse after lunch. The
      professor can teach them the ethics last, when he is completed with
      Jean for the day."

      �How did a guy who's two years younger than me get to be smarter than

      Frank just smiled. "You are the maths one. What is it they say
      about 'inertia'?"

      Then they were silent a while until Scott said, "The other problem is
      that they don't take me seriously."

      Frank just raised an eyebrow.

      "Oh, come on -- look at me, Frank! I'm not much older than them!
      Bobby still calls me �Scott� in class."

      "And you would rather him to call you 'Mr. Summers"?" Frank seemed

      "I�m not comfortable with that, either," Scott allowed, then looked
      down at himself. He was wearing nice jeans and a polo shirt. It
      wasn�t, he thought, very professional. "I look like a college
      student. I need some new clothes."

      "The clothes make the man?"

      "Well, they damn sure don't hurt." Yet he couldn't go clothes
      shopping alone. EJ had helped him in the past, but EJ was in
      California and Scott just looked at Frank, too proud to ask directly
      for assistance with something as simple as telling green from blue.

      Fortunately, Frank had known him a long time, and now rolled his
      eyes. "*Basta chiesta, cafone impertinente*!" Just ask, idiot.

      "Can you go to the mall with me?"

      "Of course." And grinning, he stood. "We should take the Aston
      Martin. Shall I drive?"

      "When hell freezes over," Scott replied. "But yeah, lets take the
      Aston Martin."

      It had been a long time since the two of them had gone somewhere
      together, and their friendship had grown stretched and transparent
      across a continental divide. Now they remembered it over fast cars,
      limp food-court fare, and a running commentary in Italian about the
      charms of the women they passed in the mall. "It is the whole
      shape," Frank said, illustrating with his hands. "Americans look too
      much at the *parts*. Only in America would you find a restaurant
      called 'Hooters.' Philistines. All of you."

      "Only in Italy," Scott returned, "would newscasters bend over to show
      their cleavage to the camera. Don't try to tell me Italians don't
      sell stuff on sex, Francesco!"

      "I never said that. But it is all about taste, no? Fast food, bad
      beer, and infomercials. That is America! Oh, and sieges." He eyed
      Scott with humor and made one of his grand Italian gestures. "You
      *court* a woman, *mi amico*. You do not lay siege to her."

      "So you've said." Had said it several times, in fact, when Scott had
      first told him about his determination to win Jean Grey.

      "There is a bet on, you know."

      Incredulous, Scott glanced over. "A *bet*? About what?"

      "What do you think? How soon she will say 'yes,' of course! And I
      do not mean to the date." His grin was impish. "The date is a
      foregone conclusion."

      "Where the hell do they get off, making bets on my love life?" Scott
      asked aloud, but was secretly pleased by the apparent confidence of
      the others in his eventual success.

      "Well," Frank replied, "you were rather vocal about it in the dining
      hall yourself, no?"

      It took him a moment, before he remembered: the fight with Warren,
      to which almost everyone in the mansion had been a witness. At the
      time, he'd been too distraught to be properly embarrassed, but now he
      felt the blood scald his neck and ears. "So we're gossip fodder,

      "*Oh, s�, altro che!*" Absolutely.

      Sometime later, in the men's section of Nordstrom's, Scott admitted,
      "Man, it's been too long since we just hung out. I don't even know
      what you're planning to do after you graduate."

      "International law," Frank replied, checking a shirt against a pair
      of slacks that Scott had already bought. Summers was a deliberate
      shopper rather than an adventuresome one, Frank had discovered, with
      a mental list of what he wanted that he stuck to, much to the
      exasperation of his more spontaneous Italian companion.

      "No," Scott said now -- to the shirt, not the career choice. "Too

      Frank just eyed him and put the shirt back. "Since when is
      Fa�onnable too loud? It is *color*. Everything you have is *no

      "I've got stuff like that, Frank. I want clothes that are a little
      more . . . staid."




      "Why international law?"

      Frank shrugged and let Summers change the subject. "It will be

      And there he went, Scott thought, shifting from fashion-conscious
      young Italian to far-seeing Apollo in the blink of an eye. "That
      vision you had was a long time ago, Frank."

      Francesco only nodded. Most people, he had learned, had a short
      attention span. In some ways, that made it easier for him. For two
      years, Francesco Placido had been working quietly towards the
      fruition of the only bulwark he'd foreseen that could halt
      Armageddon. But perhaps, he thought, it was time to remind them.
      "Nothing has changed," he said softly under high, bright ceiling
      lights amid shelves crowded with shirts and trousers and ties like

      Summers shook his head. "I haven't found that people much care. For
      my last two years at Berkeley, pretty much everybody I knew, knew I
      was a mutant, including some of my professors. Okay, sure, a couple
      were nervous at first, but they got over it."

      "That was Berkeley. And they knew *you*."

      "Fair enough. Still."

      Frank considered a moment, then turned to a rack of patched wool
      shirts. "Something will change. I cannot say what, or why. This
      country is like an open camp now, at ease, confident -- but in five
      years, it will not be. Threats real and imagined will create

      Frowning, Summers came up beside Placido and set a hand on his
      shoulder, turning him until they were face-to-face. "What's going to
      happen, Frank?"

      "I do not know. Something. Something big. The sky will be black
      for days and your country will learn fear. Europe will be safer for
      mutants than America, land of the free."

      "Is there some way to stop it?"

      "I think . . . no. But only time will tell." His smile was wry, but
      he didn't look Scott in the face. "Even the smallest change might
      avert the avalanche, but for now? No. It bears down on us."

      "How soon?"

      "I do not know. But soon. It will change everything, and they will
      fear us. You and the rest can teach them not to fear. Maybe. It is
      the only answer that I have seen."

      Scott had forgotten how disconcerting Francesco could be, and
      swallowed. He also didn't miss the fact that Frank hadn't included
      himself in 'the rest.' "So what can we do?"

      "The same thing you set out to do two years ago -- be ready."

      "You make it sound like I'm the lynchpin or something."

      Frank glanced up at him finally. "You are. You will lead them."

      Scott snorted and turned away. But he didn't stop thinking about
      Frank's warnings.

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