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"The Player on the Other Side" (WIP, CH.6) Scott [PG-13] X1 and X2

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  • rachel_martin64
    Title: The Player on the Other Side Characters Ch. 6: Logan, Scott. Jean and Rogue get talked about by sexist men. Some pre-slash going on. The requisite
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 23, 2003
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      Title: The Player on the Other Side

      Characters Ch. 6: Logan, Scott. Jean and Rogue get talked about by
      sexist men. Some pre-slash going on. The requisite Horrible
      Misunderstanding.

      Summary Ch. 6: Charles offers Logan an employment contract. Scott and
      Logan are going to have to hash out some issues first.

      Summary WIP: A popular officer is framed for the destruction of
      Alkali Base. His friends band together to ruin the mutant they
      consider responsible.

      Rating Ch. 6: PG-13

      Author: Rachel Martin

      E-Mail: Rachel_martin64@...

      Archive: Archive anywhere.

      Disclaimers: The X-Men belong to Marvel and 20th Century Fox. No
      copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made.

      Feedback: Feedback is welcome. Critical comments will not be
      misinterpreted as a flame.


      VI.


      Scott Summers was younger and prettier than his own girlfriend, but
      Logan was too old and wily to casually dismiss him as Jean Grey's
      fuck toy. Jean Grey, the double doctor, the regularly quoted "subject
      matter expert," the activist invited to testify before the
      Senate. . . . There had to be a reason why a woman like Jean Grey
      would take up with a boy like Scott Summers, and it was probably the
      same reason why that Worthington guy hadn't torn him to pieces for
      it. Logan had never been one to observe the posted speed limit but he
      did decide to proceed with caution.

      And in his very first week at the Institute, Logan acquired some
      useful insight into the character of his rival. A hippy-trippy
      liberal. The kind of guy who called himself a feminist. The kind of
      guy who'd vote for Hillary. The kind of guy who thought women ought
      to be allowed to serve on the front lines. The kind of sensitive,
      educated, enlightened guy who turned into Cro-Magnon Man when another
      guy came sniffing around his girl.

      Logan figured out that in some respects Scott Summers was as
      unevolved as Rush Limbaugh, but wanted to believe he had achieved a
      higher plane of existence. Logan wasn't sure if Summers was a garden-
      variety hypocrite or just seriously self-deluded, but he knew he'd
      found the kid's soft spot. Summers aspired to civility. He'd grit his
      teeth and watch his woman exchange meaningful smiles and lingering
      looks with another man. He'd shove his fists into his pockets and
      listen with forced politeness to the perfectly logical explanations
      Jean offered for the perfectly innocent situations she got into.
      Logan didn't doubt Summers' inner cave man would cut loose under
      sudden, intense provocation. Nor did he doubt Dr. Grey would run like
      a rabbit when she could no longer pretend to herself that she was
      involved in a harmless flirtation. The trick lay in turning up the
      heat gradually and keeping it just high enough to keep both Cyke and
      Jean in a constant simmer without causing either one of them to
      actually boil over. Kind of like cooking a frog.

      Logan set himself a couple of rule for the game. For one thing, he
      knew he'd have to fly under the radar of the Great and Powerful Oz,
      unless he wanted to wake up gay one morning. He knew he could not let
      Xavier perceive him as a genuine threat to the relationship between
      Jean and Summers, who seemed to be Xavier's bastard or adopted son.
      But even more importantly, Jean had to be a willing victim. Logan
      wasn't into stalking. And he wasn't going to give Summers the chance
      to play Popeye and rescue Olive Oyl from the evil Bluto. Jean had to
      be willing to play the game, and as he found out on his very first
      night in the mansion, she was.

      Logan wondered, now and then, why a woman staring down the road at
      the big four-oh would risk a wedding ring for a fling. It wasn't like
      Summers was some ugly son of a bitch with no manners and no options.
      Logan didn't think enhanced senses were really needed to identify all
      the nubile young ladies in lust with the Xavier Institute's assistant
      headmaster. But Jean had seemed oblivious or unconcerned or supremely
      confident of her charms. She certainly hadn't ever seemed worried
      that her boyfriend might pay her back in kind.

      So Logan had chased Jean, and she had run almost but not quite slowly
      enough for him to catch, and he had never given a thought to Marie --
      not that kind of thought -- until one day he discovered he had been
      relegated to the status of Big Brother. Marie was in love with Bobby
      Drake, the Summers clone, and wasn't that just too fucking ironic? He
      had chased Jean and lost Marie and somewhere along the way he'd lost
      himself too. God knew what Stryker had been doing to Cyke while he'd
      been trying to do Jean, but he knew which one of them had caused the
      kid more pain.

      It was hell to suddenly grow a conscience about the guy he loved to
      hate. Hell to watch Summers tear himself apart over a woman who had
      made him unhappy for months before her death. A woman with whom Logan
      had colluded to torture a man -- why mince words? He and Jean had
      tortured Summers. Given a choice of torturers, the guy would
      undoubtedly pick William Stryker. And then, the icing on the cake --
      he, Logan, had cornered the grieving man outside Xavier's study after
      Jean's memorial service and forced him to listen to a concession
      speech that could only serve to confirm his worst fear. "She chose
      you," what the hell was Summers supposed to deduce from that? Why the
      hell had he said it, what the hell had he been thinking?

      He hadn't been thinking. He hadn't been thinking.

      And Charles Xavier had called him back into the study and handed him -
      - a clue. And not to his past, either.

      ____________

      Three days after Jean's death, three days after their confrontation
      with the president of the United States, the Institute's staff and
      senior students had met and with the minimum number of words
      exchanged had divvied up the duties of summer session. Summer
      session. Because, incredibly, life went on. The Army had invaded,
      there were six-year-old P.O.W.s in the student body, but the Xavier
      Institute had to go on, or Jean Grey had died for goddamn nothing.
    • rachel_martin64
      Ch. 6 con t So, surreal as it seemed, Munroe and Summers and the new guy, the other blue guy, McCoy, spent their mornings teaching remedial classes and cram
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 23, 2003
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        Ch. 6 con't

        So, surreal as it seemed, Munroe and Summers and the new guy, the
        other blue guy, McCoy, spent their mornings teaching remedial classes
        and cram courses for an alphabet soup of academic tests -- PSATs and
        SATs and APs, and something called the Regents. The afternoons were
        taken up not only with repairs to the mansion but also sports
        clinics, day trips, hiking and camping, and Logan found himself. . .
        just sticking around long enough to earn some cash before hitting the
        road again. Yes.

        He didn't slip seamlessly into the lives of the students. The little
        kids had no difficulty accepting Wagner but they didn't want a whole
        heck of a lot to do with Logan. He was too big, too loud, too hairy,
        and admittedly, too grumpy. And the older kids had mixed feeling
        about him. On the one hand, a gushingly grateful Marie and Bobby had
        ensured his place in the pantheon of mutant mythology. On the other
        hand, even Bobby didn't seem quite able to forgive Logan for coming
        between Jean and Summers. Jean and Summers had been the Mom and Dad
        of the Institute, and not a few students regarded Logan as the Happy
        Homewrecker.

        But Logan stuck it out. For the cash, naturally, that Charles handed
        him in an envelope every week. Charles had become a bit of a recluse
        after their return from Washington, D.C. There was the whatever-it-
        was going on between Xavier and Summers. There was Jean's death, of
        course; the old man had loved her like a daughter. But Xavier had to
        cope as well with all the deaths he had caused under Stryker's spell.
        Deaths for which he'd never be called to account, Logan reckoned,
        unless the American president and Canadian prime minister became
        willing to fess up in World Court to their boondoggle in the Rockies.
        Xavier seemed nearly as stunned that his old chess partner had
        betrayed him so spectacularly. Charles Xavier didn't shirk his duties
        to the Institute, but he spent all his uncommitted time locked in his
        suite, and refused more food than he ate. He acted pretty much the
        way Logan had expected Summers to act.

        And Summers acted. . . normal. Very, very normal. The other adult
        residents of the mansion expressed frank relief. Logan thought it was
        a good thing the Institute didn't have a clock tower.

        So the days slipped by and Logan slipped insidiously into the school
        routine. His days took on a comforting predictability that they had
        never possessed. He started to have a favorite chair in the TV room.
        He started to use a particular coffee mug. The days slipped by and
        Summers took a trip to California and returned a few days later with
        the Lee girl, one of the kids who had been held captive at Alkali.
        Lord knew how he'd talked her parents into letting her come back to
        the Xavier Institute for her senior year.

        And finally there was no more putting off the memorial service that
        Jean deserved and the kids needed, though Logan for one could have
        managed nicely without it. Summers and the old man had actually begun
        to talk to each other afterwards, a halting conversation that had
        come to a full stop when Chuck started yakking like a shrink instead
        of a human being. And Logan had followed Summers out of the study and
        said -- Jesus H., what had possessed him to say that?

        And Charles had called him back into the study and handed him an
        employment contract.

        And he was going to have to start thinking.

        ___________


        Logan walked straight past the door to the suite that had belonged to
        Jean and Summers. Summers didn't live there anymore. The furniture
        was collecting dust. Marie reported that Jean's clothes and
        toiletries were still strewn about the bedroom and bathroom. If
        someone didn't pack that place up and move in soon it'd probably get
        the reputation of being haunted.

        Logan walked past the door and down the long hall, illuminated in the
        evening only by dimmed wall sconces. He walked past several
        reasonably quiet student dormitories and around a corner to the room
        Summers had randomly staked out after their return from Washington,
        D.C. Or rather, after McCoy had pried the visor off his face and
        released him from the med-lab. Summers' new place wasn't a suite. It
        was a small furnished bedroom with an attached half bath, the kind of
        room lived in by the resident advisors like Pete Rasputin.

        He paused irresolutely in front of Summers' door, raised his hand to
        knock, and realized the door was already ajar. He wasn't exactly
        surprised. He had the hearing of a dog, and over the past six weeks
        he'd overheard any number of small children come crying to Rasputin
        or Summers, babbling about Stryker's invasion or worse yet, their
        incarceration at Alkali Base. The older students were tiptoeing
        around their assistant headmaster these days -- Marie and Bobby and
        Jubilee had not been discreet -- but the little kids didn't give a
        good goddamn about Summers' problems. The rug rats were selfish and
        demanding and didn't allow the guy the opportunity to indulge in his
        own grief, a situation of which Logan thoroughly approved. It had
        occurred to him -- and apparently to no one else -- that Saint Scott
        might try to commit suicide. Logan doubted the little snot-noses
        would leave him alone long enough to do so.

        Logan put his hand on the door and paused. He might still have an
        out. The guy might be asleep. Cyke was one of those self-righteous
        early-to-bed early-to-rise assholes. Logan hesitated. He and Summers
        had not had an awful lot to say to each other since the man's
        horrible and horribly public breakdown on the Blackbird.

        Suddenly irritated with his own cowardice, Logan pushed the door
        open. The room was barely illuminated by a nightlight that he
        supposed Summers had installed for the benefit of the brats who
        barged in on him. His eyes adjusted rapidly and he saw Summers
        sitting at a desk. Sitting at his desk in the dark. That couldn't be
        good.
      • rachel_martin64
        Ch. 6 con t. Summers said calmly, Who is it? His right hand closed around the visor lying on the desk beside his. . . book? Hey, don t shoot. It s me. Was
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 23, 2003
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          Ch. 6 con't.

          Summers said calmly, "Who is it?" His right hand closed around the
          visor lying on the desk beside his. . . book?

          "Hey, don't shoot. It's me."

          Was that a twitch at the corner of Summers' mouth? "Prove it."

          "You're a dick." Logan felt his own lips twitch.

          "Okay."

          Logan slouched inside. Summers relaxed his grip on the visor and
          turned around in his chair. Logan jerked slightly in surprise. He'd
          been looking at the back of Summers' head and he hadn't noticed. The
          guy was wearing a blindfold.

          "What happened to your glasses?"

          "Nothing."

          Logan moved further into the small room and found a bit of wall to
          prop himself against. Glancing again at the book on the desk, he said
          slowly, "When'd you learn to read Braille?"

          "When I was seventeen." Summers paused. "Charles enrolled me in the
          New York School for the Blind, down in the Bronx."

          "You got the glasses."

          "Didn't get the glasses till I was eighteen. Didn't know there would
          be any glasses. So I learned how to read Braille."

          "Oh," Logan said rather blankly. Well -- what *had* he thought? That
          Summers bought his ruby-quartz glasses at the mall?

          "I owe Hank." Logan tensed automatically at the mention of Jean's
          replacement in the med-lab. Summers paused again before adding,
          slowly, "And Magneto."

          "*Magneto?*" Logan repeated disbelievingly. "Are we talking about the
          same Magneto who nearly murdered Rogue?" He added belatedly, "And
          everyone in New York City?"

          Summers simply nodded.

          Bad enough Chuck was buddy-buddy with the bad guy, but
          Scooter? "*Magneto* invented those glasses for you? Why the hell
          would he do that?"

          "Erik Lenscherr used to live here. He co-founded the Institute with
          Charles." Summers smiled faintly. "He always claimed the Institute
          was something they dreamed up on the spot in the D.A.'s office."

          "What D.A.?" Logan was feeling more confused by the second. "The
          Westchester County D.A.?"

          "San Diego County. I sort of vandalized my high school." With a wry
          expression, Summers tapped his right temple, the spot where his
          fingers would normally encounter the dial of his visor.

          Logan said nothing. What was there to say? He had, after all, seen
          the Scott Summers Memorial Sunroof at the local train station.

          "All the little murderers and rapists were refusing to share a
          cellblock with me, and the guards were threatening to go on
          strike. . . so. . . the D.A. was open to suggestions." Summers
          shrugged. "Charles never had to put the whammy on her."

          Logan tried not to boggle and remembered Summers couldn't see him
          anyway. He inhaled and wished for one of his cigars. Some information
          just could not be digested without the aid of nicotine.

          Logan looked away abruptly from Summers and refocused on their
          surroundings. Nondescript rug and drapes. Nondescript bedspread. A
          narrow bed. A dresser. A nightstand. Metal bookshelves. A desk. All
          institutional issue, hard-wearing furniture designed to survive years
          of abuse at the hands of students. Logan didn't see a picture or a
          knick-knack. Summers' books were all that distinguished his room from
          Logan's own.

          He looked back at his former rival, slouched in his chair, as if
          there were nothing odd about a visit from Logan, as if he were in the
          habit of giving up personal information to Logan. Summers seemed
          comfortable enough with the lengthening silence, poking absent-
          mindedly at the shaggy brown hair falling in a most undisciplined
          manner all over his blindfolded face. Well, had he thought the guy
          slept with his visor on? Logan found himself noticing that Summers
          dressed modestly even for bed, T-shirt and cotton drawstring pants
          glimpsed under a loosely belted robe. Logan shifted uneasily and
          silently thanked God that the kid was temporarily blind. Not that
          Summers smelled like Jeannie, not now, not ever again. But. . .
          Jeannie had always smelled like Summers.

          He said abruptly, "Want to talk to you about something. This
          employment contract thing."

          To his relief, Summers did not appear to be taken by surprise. Logan
          wouldn't have put it past the old man to have made Logan an offer of
          employment without first consulting the kid. He'd call it a father-
          son power struggle whenever Xavier got around to acknowledging his
          bastard -- maybe some time after the two got around to speaking to
          each other again. Right now Logan just knew it not longer amused him
          to fan the flames.

          "Are you going to sign?"

          "Dunno." He hesitated. "I was thinking maybe I oughta hit the road
          pretty soon." He waited for Summers to enthusiastically agree.

          "Hmmm." Summers propped his chin on his fist. "Why?"

          "Because. . ." Logan paused, taken aback. "I, I want to, uh. . . ."
          What? he thought suddenly. Once he had wanted to find the man he had
          been. Did he want to find that man anymore? William Stryker's last
          words were hard to dismiss.

          *You were an animal then. . . *

          As if divining his thoughts, Summers mused, "You know, there are
          parts of my life I'd pay money to forget. And it'd be pretty ironic
          if I went and spent the next sixteen years trying to remember what
          I'd paid to forget."

          Startled, Logan opened his mouth. He shut it again without saying
          anything.

          "Okay, so." Summers shrugged. "You're going to, what. Bumble around
          North America until you stumble into a clue? There's a better way,
          Logan. And you wouldn't even have to leave New York."

          Logan debated with himself. On the one hand, he'd like to slap
          Scooter upside the head for the bumbling-and-stumbling remark. On the
          other hand, Summers might be about to make a suggestion he'd actually
          want to hear. He'd never doubted Summers was book-smart. And anyway,
          Marie would never forgive him for slugging a blind guy.

          "Yeah? Whatcha got in mind?" Logan strove to sound unimpressed in
          advance.

          "Well, for starters, you could try talking to Pete Rasputin and Kurt
          Wagner, and not in English. See if you know any Russian or German.".

          "Yeah? Why?"

          "Well, you seem to take it for granted you're Canadian. But I've
          always wondered about that. I always wondered if you might be East
          German or Soviet."

          Logan stared thoughtfully at Summers. Maybe he'd tell the kid about
          finding the lab at Alkali Base. About being recognized by Stryker.
          But -- "I'd have an accent, wouldn't I?"

          "No. Some government invested a lot of money in you."

          "Huh." Logan decided he'd been standing long enough. He slid down the
          wall and sat on the floor. "So I talk to Pete and Wagner. Then what?"

          "We figure out what you know about world history. And literature. And
          different religions. There are a lot of avenues of approach."

          Now genuinely intrigued, Logan asked, "What's the point?"

          "Build a profile on you. See where it leads." Summers half-
          smiled. "You ever eat something called Marmite?"

          "Dunno."

          "Try it tomorrow morning at breakfast. The jar is always by Charles'
          plate."

          "And why should I try this Marmite stuff?"

          "Because if you like it, it is absolute and final proof that you
          weren't raised in the United States."

          "Huh." Putting aside Summers' feeble attempt at humor. . . the guy
          had something there. A strategy. Definitely, a strategy. Logan had to
          admit to himself that his own bumble-and-stumble method hadn't paid
          off in fifteen years.

          He thought about the only tangible evidence he had of his past life,
          the dog tag he had given to Rogue. A tag imprinted with only the
          word 'Wolverine' and a number. A tag that had never been officially
          issued by any man's army, of that he was certain, even though it was
          shaped like a Canadian tag. He was convinced, now, that the tag was
          nothing more than a patient ID issued by William Stryker at Alkali
          Base.

          Stryker. Yeah.

          "So, uh, supposing I decide to sign this contract thing." He raised
          his eyebrows, forgetting that such gestures were currently lost on
          Summers. "Security chief, huh?"

          "Thirty thousand a year, plus room, board and transportation, which
          makes the contract worth more than twice that. I'd loan you my
          motorcycle except that I seem to be missing a car. You wouldn't know
          anything about that, would you?"

          Logan did not follow the red herring. "And you got no problem with me
          living here?"

          "I wouldn't have had the contract drafted otherwise."

          Logan stared hard at the blindfolded face. "Why?"

          "Because we need someone to focus full-time on our security. My own
          attempts were inadequate, obviously."

          Surprised at this admission -- something he himself had thought but
          hadn't had the cruelty to say -- Logan hesitated, then said
          gruffly, "You got the school to run and all."

          Summers made a soft noise of impatience.

          "You were expecting some protestors, Summers." Logan could not think
          why he was attempting to assuage the kid's guilt. "Not the friggin'
          Seventh Cavalry."

          "My mistake." Summers sounded grim. "Those sons of bitches came into
          my house. That was their mistake."

          Logan eyed him. "I thought you and Chuck believed in this whole
          peaceful co-existence thing."

          "Let's just say I reserve the right of self-defense."

          Logan nodded, slowly, forgetting again that Summers couldn't see.
          Maybe he had his explanation for the Cold War currently raging
          between Xavier and Summers. The kid was wising up. It was about time.
          Logan didn't know why it should make him feel vaguely wistful.

          "Look, I get why you want a security chief," he said abruptly. "Just
          not why you want to hire *me.*"

          "I've been doing some talking to Peter and Bobby." Summers
          paused. "I'll be honest, Logan. When you put your life on the line
          for Rogue, I wasn't impressed. I figured if it had been any other
          mutant, you would have just waved us goodbye on our way to Liberty
          Island. I thought, yeah, he's a hero, when it's his girl." Summers
          smiled. It was not a nice smile. "You know, I always had this
          consolation. Every moment you spent with my girl was just another
          moment you weren't spending with your own."

          Logan quickly recovered his equilibrium. "Rogue? Oh, yeah, right.
          She's like my kid sister." And yet he could not stop himself from
          adding, "Like you wouldn't'a called the cops if I laid a hand on a
          seventeen-year-old."

          Summers paused a moment, as if waiting for the punchline. Finally he
          said, "That'd be pretty hypocritical of me."

          "What?" Logan stared at the other man in amazement and creeping rage.
          No. It wasn't possible. "What the hell are you saying? You sleeping
          with -- with a seventeen-year-old?"

          "I was the seventeen-year-old," Summers said dryly. "Jean was twenty-
          five. Dr. Lenscherr was not amused. So, yes, I'm well aware that
          seventeen is the age of consent in the great state of New York. Rogue
          can have you if she wants you." He added simply, brutally, "You know
          she doesn't want you anymore."

          Logan narrowed his eyes. Forgetting he was supposed to be Marie's big
          brother, he snapped, "I don't know that I know any such damn thing."

          "You had your chance. You blew it. She's Bobby's now." Summers smiled
          that unpleasant smile again. "Every moment you spent fucking up my
          life was just another moment you spent fucking up your own."

          Logan shot back, automatically, defensively, "I didn't fuck up your
          life." He chose not to deal with the second half of the equation.

          The two men sat silently.

          "No, you didn't, actually." Summers spoke slowly, thoughtfully. "I
          suppose I do know better, Logan. Maybe it's time I apologized. I do
          know it's stupid to blame you for Jean's actions. If it hadn't been
          you, it would have been someone else. If she was that type of person -
          - it would have been somebody."

          "Summers. . . ." God almighty. "I don't want any freakin' apology,
          Summers."

          "I know she was in your tent at Magneto's camp," Summers said
          dispassionately. "Wagner thought you were her husband and I was her
          little brother."

          "No -- Scott --" He would rip Wagner to pieces. "Scott, it
          was Mystique --"

          "Stop it." Summers' voice was low and hard. "Just stop it, all right?"

          Helplessly Logan fell silent.

          "Look, Logan -- I'd like to think that Jean regretted sleeping with
          you. She seemed -- she seemed glad to see me."

          "Scott." Logan couldn't listen to any more. "She --"

          "Shut up," Summers said tiredly.

          " -- told me she loved you. She told me --"

          "Shut up."

          " -- she was going to marry you."

          "Did she say that before or after she fucked you? No --" Summers held
          up a hand. "I don't want to know. I don't want to know anything about
          it. Consider that a condition of your employment."

          Logan heaved himself to his feet and walked heavily to the door. He
          paused on the threshold and half-turned.

          "The only reason I ever went after Jean was to piss you off," he said
          in a low voice.

          Summers appeared to ponder this. He said, finally, "I didn't know I
          was that important to you."

          Logan didn't answer.

          He just left.


          ###
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