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AN ACCIDENTAL INTERCEPTION OF FATE: Epilogue (ensemble + S/J, adult, prequel)

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  • Minisinoo
    AN ACCIDENTAL INTERCEPTION OF FATE Epilogue: The Boathouse Minisinoo http://www.themedicinewheel.net/accidental/aiof_epilogue.html Let us end with the house.
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      AN ACCIDENTAL INTERCEPTION OF FATE
      Epilogue: The Boathouse
      Minisinoo
      http://www.themedicinewheel.net/accidental/aiof_epilogue.html


      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
      arbor.

      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
      ceremony."

      "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.

      "Yes."

      "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
      husband couldn't."

      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,
      good-naturedly.

      "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
      themselves).

      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
      miracles."

      "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?
      Five years?"

      "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
      orbiting Venus."

      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
      laugh.

      "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
      drop.

      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
      back.

      "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
      husband.

      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.

      Phoenix rising.

      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
      wedding anyway.

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