X-Book 4 -- Of Politics, Tacos and Other Things that Give You
Chapter 14: Alone
Rating: PG-13 (violence, language)
Genre: Crossover (with anything I can squeeze in), SPOILERS FOR X2
Summary: See prologue to book 4
Disclaimer: I own nothing in regards to the Marvel characters or
any character from a previously published source portrayed in this
Reviews: Any feedback would be great and is appreciated!
Mary was up early the next morning, before sunrise. She had not
slept much the night before, her mind awake with curiosity following
her conversation with Professor Xavier. The book he had lent her
sat unopened on her desk until about five o'clock a.m., her
restlessness to study it enticing her to begin reading. However,
Mary had a strange feeling that some things in the text may be safer
to study in the daylight.
So, Mary waited until she heard the first morning birds chirping
before she picked up the old book and headed downstairs. She moved
as quietly as she could through the halls and down the front
staircase. She reached the kitchen, which was still very dark and
shadowy, and decided to sit outside in the growing morning light.
The sun had not yet appeared over the horizon, but the sky was
slowly melting from darkness to a soft blue. The line of trees
surrounding the school grounds prevented her from watching the sun
crest over the horizon, and she felt a pang of home sickness for the
wide open desert of her town.
Her sense of being alone had only seemed to grow since coming to be
among so many people. Even though they were all friendly, all
honestly trying to help her, she still had the feeling of being
Mary sat cross-legged on a stone bench, and opened the cover of the
book slowly. The gold text of the title page glimmered slightly in
the dim light, and Mary studied each word again carefully.
Of Demons and Other Beings, Volume 49 1900 to 1950
A compilation by Gertrude Giles, Council of Watchers
Volume 49? Mary thought, and stared at the dates with a frown, If
this is volume 49...and each volume covers a fifty year space of
time...does that mean these books have been written for over two
The idea of anything lasting for so long was almost too much to
imagine. The Council did not just count in centuries...it counted
in millennia. The Christian religion had not even existed for that
long. Was it possible for an organization like this to continue for
so long in secret? Even the oldest texts the university had never
made mention of the Watchers or the Council? Who exactly have they
been watching for all that time?
As she paged through the old text, Mary scanned the words and
pictures quickly. She would read it in more depth later. Right now
she was looking for a few specific things.
Finally, about a quarter of the way through the book, her eyes fell
upon one word.
Angels, the title of the page said, written in a delicate and
beautiful script. Below the word was a beautifully drawn image of
angelic beings among the clouds. Some were typical pictures, wings
and harps and long white robes, but two in particular caught her
eye, one with a sword...and one with a trumpet.
Mary shivered and continued reading. There was really nothing here
she did not already know. A brief history of angelic beings drawn
from religious texts, though specific angels were never named. She
turned the page, and another word caught her attention.
Phoenix, she read and drew in a sharp breath as a voice echoed in
Not yet, the voice said, Soon...but not yet.
Mary stared down at the image below the words, a drawing of a large
winged creature, shaped like a bird, but surrounded by fire. As the
morning sun began to filter through the trees, the light, for a
moment, was blinding...
This was what she had seen before...
A figure, enveloped in flame, soaring into the sky above the
The picture in the book was the same...
A fiery bird, hovering a moment, before it plunged into the school
Get them out, Mary thought, The children are still inside...get them
Then, the fire around her disappeared...and the vision changed...
As the heat left, the cold grew... ice... snow... everywhere around
Ice so cold it burned painfully against her feet...
Just like in the hanger...
You're needed here, the voice said, World of work ahead of you...
Mary gasped as her vision cleared. She slammed the book shut, and
She took a few deep breaths and ground her teeth together in
She was needed here...that is what the vision said. For what? To
fend off the creature from the hanger if it returns? She did not
even know what she did to fight it off. And what about the fire?
Who was responsible for that?
The visions gave her no answers. How exactly was she supposed to
help people if she had no idea how to do it?
Mary jumped in surprise as a noise echoed from the kitchen. It was
still very early, and she wondered who else was up at this
hour...besides maybe Blink. She stood from the bench and walked
into the mansion.
Scott turned on the faucet off the kitchen sink, and placed the
glass coffee pot underneath the stream of water. After it was about
half full, he poured it into the coffee maker and switched the
machine on. It was still fairly early, even for him, but he wanted
to get started on work in the labs right away. He had materials to
examine, and details of their experiences of the past few days he
wanted to document before he forgot them.
Maybe he would schedule a meeting for the active X-Men for later on
this afternoon, to discuss what had happened again, so no piece of
information was missed. So they would be better prepared next
He kept his mind occupied with these things...so he did not think
about the empty spot next to him when he awoke this morning. He had
fallen asleep thinking of his duties of the next day. After the
alarm chimed, he had reached for his glasses...and almost asked Jean
if she wanted to sleep in for a while longer...
Then, he opened his eyes, and through the red lenses saw that empty
place next to him.
He really tried not to think about it. Alone would not be strong
enough of a word to describe it.
Scott (not yet Cyclops this morning) sat down and clicked on the
kitchen television as he waited for the coffee to brew. It was too
early for the local news yet, and he surfed through the channels to
find something relevant.
He stared at the television, and did not really see what was on the
screen. He was clicking too fast to really tell what was on each
station. Jean hated when he did that...
Scott dropped the remote control on the table and rubbed his temples
Alone...really was not enough to describe it. But, he did his best
to ignore it.
He remembered when his parents had found out he was a mutant. Kind
of hard to ignore that he destroyed things just by looking at them.
They had not kicked him out, not technically, but they did very
quickly find Xavier's School for the Gifted and sent him away.
Scott remembered staring back at his family as the taxi took him to
the airport. His parents and his younger brother, Alex, who thought
Scott was going to a prep school. That is what his parents had told
the rest of the family, too. His cousins from Los Angeles had
driven out for his `going away' party. They all looked so happy for
him, so proud, and all Scott could do was smile, stare out of his
ruby lenses, and go along with his parents' small lie.
He had felt alone then, among his relatives, the Summers family.
And then as he was driven away from that family. He really thought
he knew what it was like to be alone.
But then, Scott met the Professor, and began to make friends at the
School for the Gifted. Others like himself, not freaks or
outcasts...just others like him, who needed help. Suddenly, alone
was a lot less frightening...
But then, his family had died, a plane crash taking his parents and
brother away from him. At the funeral, those same relatives who had
wished him good luck were there to say goodbye again. He remembered
his Aunt Joyce holding his hand in the church; his two cousins had
been so little, not even in grade school yet...
Suddenly, alone had a whole new meaning.
But, someone else had been there too. His friends from school, and
the Professor of course, but it was Jean who held his other hand.
It had been Jean who had hugged him as he cried. He had hated the
School for the Gifted when his parents forced him to go. But, then
Jean had held his hand. Suddenly, alone was a lot less permanent...
Scott heard the coffee pot bubbling and shut off the television. He
poured himself a cup of the warming liquid, but the feeling of cold
would not leave him.
He thought he knew alone. But, then Jean got off of the jet...then
Jean told him goodbye...
Scott Summers thought he knew about being alone...
In one icy moment, alone was not enough to describe it...
"Mr. Summers?" a voice said quietly and Scott jumped as he was drawn
out of his thoughts.
Mary stepped into the kitchen from the outside deck and Scott
smiled, with effort.
"Hi," he said, his voice straining to be cheerful, as his student
entered the room, "You're up pretty early..."
"Couldn't sleep," Mary said, and sat down. She put the book she was
holding on the table.
Scott sat down next to her with his coffee and glanced at the cover.
"I was wondering if the Professor was going to give you that," he
said, "No wonder you couldn't sleep..."
"You know about it?" she asked with surprise, "I mean... you know
about the Council."
Scott gave her an honest smile, "Well, let's just say my family is
very involved with the Council."
Mary shook her head, "For people who don't like to be connected to
mutants, they sure do a bad job."
"My cousins aren't mutants," Scott explained, "At least, not that we
know of. I was...actually just thinking about them. The Council
watches them for different reasons."
"Like what?" Mary asked and Scott tapped the book.
"Read this," he said, "And then we'll explain. My aunt Joyce and
her daughters visit sometimes over the summer. By the time you're
done reading that, it should probably be June or July..."
Mary chuckled, and glanced down at the formidable volume. That
probably was not far from the truth.
"Storm was worried about you yesterday," Scott said, "But she was
glad you went to mass with Kurt. She worries about him a lot, too,
considering hate crimes against mutants have increased since...the
"She didn't want him to be alone," Mary said softly, and Scott
started slightly at the last word.
"Yeah, I guess so," Scott said slowly, but Mary was oblivious to his
discomfort. She was frowning deeply in thought.
"Mr. Summers..." she began and then glanced up at him, "Have you
ever heard of the Phoenix?"
Scott frowned, "It's from ancient mythologies...a bird of
Mary nodded, "There was a picture of one in this book. Just caught
"Oh," Scott said, "What did it say about it?"
"Just that, only one existed at a time, and when it died, a new one
would rise out of the ashes..." Mary said, "It knows when it's time
to die has come, and it builds its own funeral pyre. She takes her
own life so that new life can continue. Then, she rises from the
waters and is born again."
Scott stared at her as she spoke and his hands shook around his
coffee mug. Mary was staring down at the book still, and Scott
struggled to keep his composure.
Mary glanced up at him and shrugged, "That's all. I was really
looking up stuff on angels but that just caught my eye. I'm sure
I'll have a lot of questions about the creatures in this book," Mary
laughed, "and I'm sure I don't want to know a lot of it either,
but...Mr. Summers...are you alright?"
Scott was looking down at his coffee cup silently.
She takes her own life, echoed in his mind, She rises from the
waters...did Mary know she said waters and not ashes...
He took one long breath and looked up at her apologetically.
"I'm sorry, Mary," he said, "It's...just been a trying few days. I
didn't sleep too well last night either...and I think I need a few
more cups of caffinated beverage before I'm myself..."
Mary nodded and smiled, but she looked at him with concern.
"Do you know what I really want to learn from this book?" she asked
him and Scott shook his head, "I want to find out what I did in the
hanger. I want to find out what that creature was and how I stopped
it. I want to learn more about my powers, if there is something
more than my visions."
Now, Scott was able to smile again, drawn back to his duties. He
was Cyclops, he was an X-Man, and this student, all his students,
needed him to teach them.
"That's why you're here," Cyclops said, "And that's why you need to
learn all about this stuff," he tapped the book again, "Even if you
don't want to know about it. And if that creature or those new
powers appear again, you'll be ready for them."
Mary grinned and nodded, "Thanks, Mr. Summers. It's good to be some
place where I'm not alone when my powers appear."
Alone, he thought, There's that word again...
"Well, you get reading," Cyclops said to his student, "And I'm going
to take another cup of coffee with me to the labs."
Mary opened the cover of the book and began to read again as Cyclops
left the kitchen.
As Scott headed toward the elevator, his face fell again as he
thought on Mary's words.
She was a precognitive, but he wondered if she was a little
telepathic too. Or was he seeing coincidences as more than what
Alone... he thought, She takes her own life...well, that much was
true...so life can continue...and some did continue...though his
life ended in many ways when Jean disappeared under the waters of
Alkalai Lake... and she didn't rise from those waters... she never
Scott entered the elevator, and removed his ruby glasses so he could
wear his visor. The door hissed shut, and he was alone again...
No, alone definitely could not describe it...
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