AN ACCIDENTAL INTERCEPTION OF FATE: Epilogue (ensemble + S/J, adult, prequel)
- AN ACCIDENTAL INTERCEPTION OF FATE
Epilogue: The Boathouse
Let us end with the house.
Built in the mid-1800s for long-term guests at the Xavier Mansion,
the boathouse was a small, two-story structure perched on the eastern
edge of the property's lake and accessed by a gravel drive off
Greymalkin Lane. Trees screened it from the mansion proper, giving
at least the illusion of privacy, and the back porch was a deck that
overhung the shore, connecting to a pier that ran thirty feet out
into the water and ending in a T. Originally brick, the house had
been refinished at some point with white stucco, making it look as if
it belonged on the Mediterranean, not in New England, and its newest
pair of owners had gone with that theme, decorating the exterior
accordingly with terra cotta and flowers. There was even a grape
At the moment, the arbor was trimmed in white crepe and glass bells,
and the yard around it had been covered by portable tables under
taped-down paper cloths and decorated by sprays of lily-of-the-valley
in small glass vases and little crystal swans full of wedding mints.
Closer to the dock, rows of folding chairs had been set up to either
side of a single aisle, festooned with more flowers -- white lilies
tied by teal bows. A torpid breeze stirred the bells and the lilies,
the hair and the fancy dresses of the guests. They'd arrived from as
far away as California and Italy to see the wedding of Jean Grey and
Scott Summers, a wedding that two years ago, none of them would have
dreamed could take place.
Dead women didn't get married.
Just now, the groom was pacing about by the arbor, his face as white
as the crepe above. He wore a black tux with a yellow-rose
boutonniere, as did the man who followed him, saying, "Chill *out*.
Or you're gonna *pass* out." EJ Haight, his best man.
"And you weren't just as bad?"
"Yeah? So I'm speakin' from experience."
A second man approached, dressed like the other two, his hair as dark
as his coat in shocking contrast to the white rope braids of the
woman on his arm. Francesco Placido and Ororo Munroe. Ro wore a
teal dress the same shade as the bows tying the lilies, and Frank
carried a plastic glass filled (rather high) with red Umbrian wine.
"Drink," he said, handing it to the nervous groom.
"Bossy," Scott replied, but he took the glass and finished half in
one swallow, then made a face even as Ororo reached up to pluck his
bow-tie straight, then adjust his boutonniere. "Man!" he complained.
"I am not five-years-old!"
"Fine, then. I shall go see the bride." And she walked away.
"*Everybody* gets to see the bride but *me*," Scott lamented.
"Patience, man," said EJ. "It's bad luck to see her before the
"And heaven knows we don't need any more of that."
While Scott spoke, his eye had been caught by the tardy arrival of a
tall man awkward in his suit, coarse hair slicked into submission and
muttonchops shaved neatly for once. However ridiculous he appeared
all dandied up, women still looked twice and threw him a smile, some
of which he returned with flirtatious brass.
"Logan's here," EJ observed.
"Why wasn't he at the dinner last night?"
"He wasn't invited."
EJ snorted, amused. "Don' know what you're worried about. She ain't
wearing white for *him*, Slim-boy."
"I don't think that's what he had in mind, anyway."
"Exactly." EJ elbowed Scott, who didn't reply, just stared down at
the wine in his glass. He finished it, dropping the plastic on the
grass inside the arbor, where someone could find it later to clean up
(hopefully without stepping on it). Behind his back, EJ and Frank
exchanged exasperated glances.
A few guests had begun moving towards the folding chairs set along
the bank, but the rest were slow to follow, and three of the
California contingent hurried over before taking seats. Diane, EJ's
wife, kissed Scott's cheek, then Clarice offered him her hands. He
squeezed them, hyper-aware of the simple band encircling the third
finger of her left hand. "I'm glad you came," he said, "even if your
She flashed him the smile that he'd fallen in love with once.
"Wouldn't miss this for all the gold in Fort Knox." And that was
honest, and happy, not a veiled rebuke for the fact that he'd missed
her own. But Jean had been only two months dead then, and he'd been
unable to watch anyone else get married, especially the only other
woman he'd ever really loved. She'd understood.
Now she stepped back to let Lee Forrester approach, awkward and shy
in her nice slacks and blouse. "Rick, EJ, and now Scott," she said.
"Three down. I guess that just leaves me."
"We keep tryin' to fix you up." Clarice shoved at her,
"I'm not the marrying type," Lee said, "which is kinda funny, I
guess, considering I was the *girl* in the band."
"You were also the drummer," Scott pointed out. "You never exactly
went with convention."
"And nothing of the future is certain," Francesco added. It stopped
conversation as they all glanced at him. He held up both hands.
"*Merda!* I am speaking generally! It isn't a prophecy!"
Which made them laugh (mostly in relief).
"What is this?" said a new voice. "Old home week?" Rick Chabon had
wandered over, trailed by his wife, a pretty woman as neat-handed and
petite as he was. They'd arrived from Cincinnati just the day before
in a bright red Audi, Rick's Lake Placid Blue Strat (and amp) in the
trunk. The students had been singularly unimpressed, doubting such a
small, owl-eyed man could be the Rick Chabon of whom Scott and EJ had
bragged all week, until he'd set up his gear and left them all
jaw-slack with amazement (just as he'd once done to Scott, EJ and Lee
Now, Scott clapped his shoulder, then accepted a kiss from Tamika,
his wife. "So, are we all set to play at the reception?" he asked.
"Lee, did you find a trap set?"
"Yes, I found *a* trap set, but not much of one. Don't expect
"I'm just hopin' the resurrection of Soapbox don't crash and burn on
the landing pad," EJ warned.
"You're mixing your metaphors again," Diane told him.
He ignored her. "When was the last time we all played together?
"Six," Rick corrected.
"It'll be *fine*," Scott said. "We could play some of our old shi- .
. . stuff . . . in our sleep."
"Which is as I suspect you'll be," EJ told him. "Or at least out
Scott smacked him on the arm, then said, "Go sit down, guys. I'd
like to get married sometime today."
Laughing, they scattered, all but his groomsmen. Most of the guests
were seated now as well, the students making giggling blocks on
either side of the aisle and tossing wedding mints at each other.
"We were never that bad," Scott told EJ, conversationally.
"What d'you mean? We were worse," EJ replied. "Remember the
cellophane-over-the-exits during exam week?"
Scott palmed his face. "Christ. I'd like to *forget* that."
"Ain't never gonna happen. That was *your* brainchild, Slim."
Scott and Jean's families were still milling about at the rear,
shepherded by Violet Haight and the professor, who acted as the Odd
Couple of wedding directors but nonetheless worked together
beautifully. They'd converged on Elaine, who seemed to be
complaining about something yet again. "I wonder what it is this
time?" Frank muttered to Scott.
"The price of rice in China," Scott replied, making the other two
"Mom wants to strangle her," EJ said.
"*Everybody* wants to strangle her," Scott replied. Elaine had spent
the past week -- the past four months, really -- expressing her
indignity at the notion that her daughter would be married in a less
than suitable (to her mind) setting. "You could at least have chosen
the mansion *gardens*, Jean."
But Jean had shrugged off all protests with, "I want to be married on
the boat dock." And she hadn't budged. Ever since returning from
Alkali Lake, she'd shown a remarkable immunity to all Elaine's
disparagement and vituperation. "Dying has a way of putting things
in perspective," she'd told Scott once, and he might have been amused
if he weren't still half-afraid that the other shoe was going to
In fact, it wasn't nervousness of the ceremony that had him on edge
today, but a fear that fate would step in to snatch her away again,
and not return her this time.
Scott's family watched the Drama-of-Elaine with ill-concealed
disgust, and Chris Summers escaped to walk over and slip something
into Scott's hand. A crucifix on a chain. *The* crucifix, in fact,
that his father had carried all through 'Nam, even in Hoa Lo Prison,
the infamous Hanoi Hilton. Scott's jaw dropped and he started to
hand it back, but Chris refused to take it. "No. I meant to give it
to you last night. I wore that on the day I married your mother.
You keep it now. It's seen a lot of unlikely things." And he walked
off again. Scott opened his palm to examine the tiny figure
stretched athwart its cross. It wasn't silver or gold, just cheap
stainless steel, which was why the North Vietnamese had let his
father keep it.
"*I am the resurrection and the life . . .*" he murmured, slipping it
over his head and inside his shirt. He'd never believed in life
after death until Jean had died, and he still wasn't sure what he
believed, but he believed in something. Maybe he just believed in
her. "You have the ring?" he asked EJ.
EJ held up his hand, Jean's wedding band circling his pinky. "You
remember getting DeeDee's stuck on your forefinger?"
Scott laughed. "I thought I'd never get it off; your Dad was ready
to strangle me."
"I think *DeeDee* was ready to strangle you."
"It wouldn't be a proper wedding if something didn't go wrong." Then
Scott reconsidered, and turning, knocked on the wood of the grape
arbor they stood beneath. "You didn't hear me say that."
Finally, it was time. Jeremiah Haight took his place behind the
podium at the end of the dock and EJ and Frank ambled off to seat the
mothers while JaLisa and Violet began an a capella rendition of
"Amazing Grace." The song choice had been Jean's, but Scott hadn't
argued. What else did one call getting a second chance?
When the mothers were seated, Frank hurried back to escort Ororo down
the aisle, then EJ followed with Barb Clark. Scott remained at the
"This is our wedding," Jean had said two months ago when they'd flown
out to Los Angeles to plan the ceremony with Jeremiah. "Nobody is
giving me away; I give myself. And we're going into this together,
so we'll walk down the aisle together, not just walk out."
Thus, Scott Summers would escort Jean Grey to the altar.
As he stood there, looking over the heads of the
hundred-and-something assembled guests, he wondered why people had
such a hard time remembering their wedding day. Everything was
perfectly clear to him.
It was his last coherent thought for half an hour.
Jean had emerged at last from their boathouse, and both breath and
sense deserted him. It wasn't the dress. He'd seen that already --
not on her, but he'd seen it hanging in their closet, heavy with
pearlescent beading from breast to hips, and crisp ivory satin.
("White would make me look like death warmed over," she'd said, and
Scott had had quite enough of Jean and death, thank you.) He'd taken
the dress out of the closet once, too, lifting the protective plastic
sheet to run fingertips over beads and cloth. *It's going to
happen,* he'd told himself. On a spring day, ten years from their
first concussive introduction, she would become his wife, and he her
This was that day, and it wasn't the dress that shook him, or the
veil in her hair, or the smile on her face. It was the ethereal fire
that surrounded her body and the glow in her dark eyes.
They'd never been Just Jean and Just Scott, whatever they'd told each
other. They were each the sum total of their life experiences, the
events that had brought them to this day, and the people they'd
known, and loved, and lost -- or kept. So now, she came to him as
the whole of herself, reborn, united, and most of all, unafraid. And
that had everything to do with him.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home . . . .
Not fate. *Grace.*
As she drew up beside him, their friends, family and students rose
from folding chairs, making little gasps or other sounds of shock.
But Scott wasn't afraid, either. He took her gloved hand, tucking it
into his elbow as she cast her nimbus around them both.
Then they walked up the aisle, together.
Notes: And so Naomi gets a wedding. Thanks to Minarya for the covert
edit. Yes, this was obviously written with the events of X2 in mind,
though a wedding was always how I'd planned to end this novel. I
just had to tweak it a bit. It may well be contradicted by events in
X3, but if I scraped by X2 with minimal contradiction, I doubt I'll
have the same luck with X3, so I decided I may as well have my
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