X2 Fic "After the Fall" , R rated
- Hi, I just heard about this group from Min. I don't know how I
missed it as I've been reading and writing X-Men movieverse for over
two years. This is my first attempt at an X2 story. It may become a
series. For those who have read my fiction, I want to point out that
I'm starting from scratch. So, although I'm using some of the same
ideas as in my X-Men 1 fiction (e.g. Scott's an English teacher in
this one, too), I'm assuming nothing I wrote about before happened.
Title: After the Fall
It's a tough class to teach, even at the best of times. These aren't
the best of times, not by a long shot.
Jean had told me the class would be a challenge, and she was right,
as usual. This was way back before the semester started, when I was
reviewing the rosters for all my upcoming classes. "Oh no," she
said, looking over my shoulder at the list for the poetry survey
course, bending down to hug me. She pointed one finger at the
roster. "This one's bad news."
"All girls, and all interested in you for reasons unconnected with
your knowledge of Victorian literature, love." And she read all their
minds, so she should know. I groaned and said I'd try to get someone
else to teach it, but Jean talked me out of that idea. She told me
I'd get through the semester and even manage to teach them something
about poetry. Now I don't have Jean to tell me anything, anymore.
I've been trying to just keep going, give the kids a normal life.
Well, as normal a life as possible, after their world fell apart. We
all have been working to make the school what it used to be. Pyotr
coordinated the repairs on the mansion and it looks almost as good as
it used to. 'Ro's back to teaching history and spends her spare time
replanting the gardens and the lawns. The new guy - Kurt - is
teaching comparative religion and circus arts. He's an odd one.
Hank came home and took over as Medical Director. He's teaching
Jean's classes, too.
Even Logan's teaching. Nominally he's the phys ed teacher, but he's
really teaching self-defense classes and we just call that gym. It's
good for the kids, helps with the after effects of the trauma. It
makes them feel powerful, more in control of their fate. At least
that's what Hank tells me, and he's fresh from a post-doc year
studying PTSD sufferers.
Hank thinks I could benefit from doing something that makes me feel
more in control, too, although he's recommending therapy rather than
self-defense classes. Funny, he always told me I was too much of a
control freak. Well, I don't feel like I've got power over much of
anything now. But I'm not looking to a shrink to help with that.
Therapy isn't going to make the desperate feeling go away. It isn't
going to bring Jean back.
I keep busy. Teaching and leading the team are both full-time jobs,
lately. I barely have time to sleep. I can't sleep anyway, much of
the time. Work has always been my drug of choice. It's not a cure
for insomnia but it's a good way to avoid thinking.
I can't always work, though. Sometimes I try alcohol, drinking
myself to sleep. If she's with me again for a little while, it's
worth the hangover. If I dream about losing her, I curse the
bottle. Mostly I just do without sleep, lie there wakeful, reliving
those last few moments, figuring out what I could have done that
would have made it end differently. Then I give up and do some
work. Like I said, there's generally plenty to do.
The President took what Charles said to heart, and he - at least - is
trying to combat the anti-mutant fervor. Charles spends a lot of his
time in Washington, now, arguing our people's case, trying to win the
hearts and minds of enough of the government that this country will
feel safe for our kind. I used to believe in that vision of peace -
now I think it's a losing battle. But it gives him something to do.
So I add running the school to my responsibilities, while he's away,
as well as our more and more frequent mutant rescue missions. I'd
gotten an emergency call late Tuesday night, and Logan and I had
managed to stop an incident of anti-mutant violence before anybody
got killed. That took most of the night.
When I came back, it happened again. This time I wasn't even
asleep. Maybe I was hallucinating from lack of sleep? I thought I
heard her voice in my brain, like I used to. "Scott," she was
saying, "It's going to be okay. I chose you. We chose each other.
I'll never leave you, not really. It's not what you think." That
was it, a moment and then it was over. I waited up all night for
another glimpse of her, feeling totally pathetic, living on dreams.
Fruitless dreams - that was the end of it.
I don't know where the dream - if that's what it was - came from.
Maybe I got it from what Logan told me, about Jean making a choice.
He'd said that she'd made it really clear that she had been just
flirting with him, that she was still going to marry me.
I'd known that she was interested in him, knew it from when he first
showed up here. Sometimes I worried that it could become more. I
never worried that she'd do it behind my back, though. Jean and I
didn't keep things from each other. I was waiting it out, giving her
time to see how she really felt for Logan. I wasn't going to fight
for her. It always was her choice, and we both - all three - knew
that. And I never asked her what he had that I don't, since I
already knew the answer to that one. Ultimately, I guess, it didn't
matter what she chose, whom she chose. She chose to save us all.
She chose to leave us both. Part of what keeps me up nights is
knowing I didn't want to be saved if losing her was the price.
So, there I was, teaching Wednesday's poetry class on next to no
sleep. The students didn't know the difference. It's not like they
can tell if my eyes are bloodshot or have dark circles under them.
They sit there looking at me warily. They don't know what to do with
me now, how to talk to me. So they pretty much say nothing and I
spend the whole hour listening to myself talk. The students try to
look down, out the window, anywhere but at me. They don't want to
stare. The irony of it is that what made this class hard to teach
from the start is they were *always* looking at me, and rarely paying
any attention to the subject matter.
I was keeping to the lesson plan, which meant I was teaching "The
Ballad of Reading Gaol." I'd told the kids a little about the
circumstances surrounding its writing, how Wilde came to be in that
prison. I used to find that kind of thing embarrassing to talk
about. Now I think it's good for the kids to be reminded that it's
not only mutants who've suffered for being different. Anyway, the
class was going pretty well, I think, under the circumstances. And
then it happened. I wrote one of the central lines on the
board: "Each man kills the thing he loves, but each man does not
I looked at what I'd written and I just couldn't go on. I sat down
at the desk chair, put my head in my hands and sobbed. I was pretty
much dying of embarrassment, crying like that in front of the kids,
but I couldn't stop myself. It's not like I really think I killed
her, you know. More like I should have been able to stop her from
dying. And if I couldn't, well why was I alive? That's what I kept
asking myself as I sat there crying, forgetting about the students,
the class, the team and just focusing on what I'd lost.
The kids didn't know what to do. Kitty asked if I was okay, but I
couldn't manage an answer. We all sat there in silence for a while.
One of the telepaths in the class must have contacted Charles,
because a few minutes later, he came in, with Hank pushing his
wheelchair. "Class dismissed," Charles said in his most professorial
voice, and the kids scurried out.
"Come on, Scott," Hank said, taking me by the arm. "Let's get out of
I thought he was taking me to back to my room, or maybe to the
infirmary. But we went the opposite direction, towards Charles's
quarters. I was ushered into the guest room in his suite and told to
lie down on the bed. Sun was streaming in through the open Venetian
blinds. "You're going to sleep now," Hank said, underscoring the
order by taking out a hypodermic needle from his bag and rolling up
There weren't any dreams. When I woke up, I was having trouble
seeing. "Damn you, Hank," I said, thinking the aftereffects of his
drug were clouding my vision. Then I saw the clock by the bed. I'd
gone to sleep in the morning and woken in the middle of the night.
The room was dark. My night vision's always been lousy.
Yeah, he's kind of a dick. An overachieving Boy Scout playing with
his own private army. Thirty years old and he still thinks the
world's divided into good guys and bad guys. And he's oh so sure
that the good guys are the ones with the perfect hair, perfect
clothes and perfect smiles. But he really loved her. Got to give
I don't know if I did or not. If I'm being honest with myself I have
to say that. I do know that I couldn't forget her, much as I tried.
No, not even after nailing every willing redhead between here and
Alkali Lake. Didn't help a bit. I said I came back to find out what
really happened to me. I knew I came back for her. But was that
love or just wanting to get into her pants? Was it just the
challenge of getting a girl like that, one I knew I couldn't have?
Was it just to get his goat, even? To take that superior look off of
his face by doing his woman? I've got to admit, that was a big part
of my fantasies of Jean and me - Cyclops brought low. Yeah, I liked
to imagine Jeannie on her knees, gobbling up my dick, and then
Summers walking in just as I'm about to shoot all over her face.
That image got me going on many a cold night. Still does, many a
night since her death. Pretty damn callous of me, jerking off
thinking about her. Thinking about him. What the hell - I never
claimed to be one of the good guys.
Well, guess I did, that once. Or at least told her I could be, for
her. I think I meant it when I said it, but we both knew it wouldn't
last. I'm not cut out for this hero shit and I'm not cut out for
love. I would have said anything to have her and we both knew it.
So, no wonder she goes with the guy who really loves her. The guy
she really loved. Even if he is kind of a dick. And I figured I
could be a good guy long enough to tell him about that, to let him
know that he was the one she chose.
That kind of changed things between me and him. I don't think her
death alone would've made a difference. He'd still resent me for
trying for her, and hate me for not knowing if she'd stay with him or
go with me. And I'd hate him for being such a dick that he didn't
know what he really had with her. But me telling him what she said
sort of softened him toward me, took some of the anger away. And it
did something to me, too. Sometimes you do something nice for
someone it makes you like them, or at least not hate their guts.
Funny how it can work that way.
Plus I had to admire how he was with the kids, with the team, with
everyone at that place. Pretty clear he was on the verge of falling
apart, but he never stopped. He's a dick alright, but he's got
perseverance. And he's something to see in battle. I've fought with
him and I've fought against him. He's a guy to have on your side.
So, it wasn't exactly Butch and Sundance, but him and me were doing
okay. Some of the two man missions it was me he asked first. And
some of the times he did, I found myself saying okay. We were out
Tuesday night breaking up an attack on some mutants upstate a ways.
It would have gone quicker - and been a hell of a lot more fun - if
he didn't have this stupid idea that we should do it without killing
anyone. Still, it was a pretty satisfying fight, a good way to spend
the night. I crawled into bed when we got back and slept for hours.
He went off to shower and change and start his work day. I didn't
find out until late Wednesday night that he'd collapsed during his