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FIC: Devouring Time (Returning Spring, 7/10)

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  • Mo
    Devouring Time (Returning Spring, 7/10) Scott was very familiar with the Look. He’d seen it on numerous students’ faces over the years. The Look was the
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 19, 2005
      Devouring Time (Returning Spring, 7/10)

      Scott was very familiar with the Look. He�d seen it
      on numerous students� faces over the years. The Look
      was the one that said that something was troubling
      their teenage souls, and they wanted to talk, but
      weren�t sure whether to open up to a teacher.

      Kitty had had the Look when she came into his office,
      ostensibly to talk about her college plans. Scott had
      discussed college options with her, recommending a few
      possibilities for her to look into. He had suggested
      that she make an appointment to talk to Charles
      Xavier, as well, about which schools would be a good
      fit. Scott had waited patiently. A couple of times
      Kitty had begun with a tentative �Mr. Summers?� as she
      nervously twirled her hair around her index finger,
      but retreated to more college application talk rather
      than tell him what was on her mind. She was thanking
      him now, and getting up to leave, so it was unlikely
      he�d find out what was bothering her today. She
      exited, closing the door after her.

      Scott reached for the telephone, but before he could
      dial, Kitty was back, passing effortlessly through the
      closed door. �I�m sorry to bother you, Mr. Summers,�
      she said, breathlessly, �but there�s something I want
      to ask you. Are you... will you... are you and Dr.
      Grey getting back together?� Kitty stumbled over the
      words, and then looked at him expectantly.

      Surprised, Scott didn�t answer at first. �I know it�s
      none of my business,� Kitty answered, but made no move
      to go.

      �You�re right. It isn�t.� He smiled at her to try to
      make what he�d just said sound less harsh. �I don�t
      make a habit of talking about my personal life with
      the students, Kitty. I don�t think I want to start

      �I�m not just being nosy.� Her cheeks reddened. �It�s
      just that... don�t do it. Please, Mr. Summers.
      There�s stuff about her you don�t know. She�s not
      what you think.� She turned quickly, approaching the
      closed door.

      �Kitty!� he called, but she was gone.

      Charles Xavier and Ororo Monroe were having tea in the
      professor�s office. Sitting by the fireplace, they
      had been discussing the maintenance of the grounds and
      enjoying the warmth of the fire and the relative calm
      and quiet, far away from the school hubbub.

      �Are you glad to have Logan back?� Professor Xavier
      asked. �Or were you enjoying teaching his
      self-defense classes?�

      �I�m very happy to have him back. I prefer teaching
      history. I also found that he is a difficult man to
      substitute for.�

      �Why is that?�

      �No lesson plans, no notes. Logan left me nothing to
      help me step in. The students were all pretty
      closed-mouthed, too, about what they�d been doing in
      his classes, although my impression is that my version
      was quite tame compared to Logan�s. In fact, when I
      asked the students what kinds of exercises Logan had
      been doing with them, the most common response was
      �you don�t want to know�.�

      Charles chuckled at that. �He�s certainly one of a

      �I�m glad he joined the team,� Ororo said, simply.

      �I am, too. For all his rough manner and
      peculiarities, Logan�s a dedicated teacher. And an
      invaluable X-Man.� He took a sip of his tea. �I
      relied on him to secure the house in Peru, and it
      sounds like he accomplished that mission admirably.
      And I�m glad he�s back now.�

      Storm nodded in agreement. �I�m missing Jean, though.
      I realize we need to have someone up there, and I
      think it�s a good assignment for her, but I wonder how
      that is for her when she was just getting resettled
      here.� Xavier didn�t reply. �I�m worried about her.
      She�s not feeling... accepted. It has been hard for
      her coming back. Have you noticed how changed she

      �Certainly the Jean Grey I knew for so long was a very
      different woman.�

      �Yes, the trauma has left its mark, Charles. And
      something happened to her while she was imprisoned, to
      her powers. I think the confinement, her inability to
      use anything *but* her mind, focused and intensified
      her psionic gifts. She can do things she never could
      before. She�s not comfortable yet with that, I think.
      A little overwhelmed. But it�s not just that. I
      think many of the team � and the students � are
      uncomfortable with Jean. They don�t know what to
      expect of her. I think that�s mostly a necessary
      consequence of her imprisonment and of all of us
      believing she was dead. It almost feels as if she is
      back from the dead.�

      �What do you think we ought to do, Ororo?�

      �I think you�re doing everything you can. I�m sure
      Jean appreciates your support, and your practical
      help. Jean needs time, and patience, and
      understanding. You�re giving her all of that. We all
      are. And I thought it was brilliant of you to send
      her to Vermont, where Ethan Leeds can work with her.
      She has often spoken to me about how important her
      time in therapy with him was. She felt he really
      saved her life.�

      �For some mutants, that period of coming into one�s
      powers can be profoundly traumatic. I�ve found it is
      often hardest on those with psionic powers. Some
      manage through denial until they are ready to face
      what�s happening.�

      �Yes, I�ve seen that, too. Denial doesn�t fit Jean�s
      personality, though.�

      Charles nodded in agreement. �Jean Grey was never one
      for self-deception.� He thought a little more about
      what Storm had said. �Has Jean talked to you about
      Ethan recently? Since her return?�

      �No, and actually I was surprised, since she did
      broach the idea of therapy. And she said she found
      the prospect of finding a new therapist daunting. I
      thought of mentioning the Vermont project to her then,
      since it would make it easy to work with Dr. Leeds,
      but I didn�t want her to think that I was suggesting
      she should leave us.� She paused in thought, before
      continuing. �I meant Jean used to mention him from
      time to time before her imprisonment. Particularly
      when we�d have students who were having trouble
      accepting their powers and their mutant status. She
      often spoke of Dr. Leeds and wished he were still
      close by, so she could refer our students to him.
      But, anyway, I do think it�s good she�ll be in Vermont
      for a while, although I�m missing her and worried, a
      little, about how she�ll fare there. Well, Dr. Leeds
      will be a help to her, I�m sure.�

      �He knew Jean very well at one point. And he�s a very
      skillful therapist. Ethan�s worked with trauma
      victims often.�

      �That�s good. She is definitely in need of some help.
      Although I don�t know how much is the trauma and how
      much is other issues... Charles, I�m worried about
      Scott and Jean. I don�t know that they�re going to be
      able to make their relationship work.�

      �It�s for them to decide, Ororo.�

      �Yes, of course.�

      �Did something happen that leads you to think they
      won�t reconcile?�

      �No, not really. I worry that she doesn�t love him
      anymore. Not the way she did. She says she wants to
      get back together with him, but there�s something
      about how she says it.�

      �Relationships change. �All true love must die, alter
      at the best into some lesser thing.� No?�

      �What a cynical view!�

      �It�s not the whole poem,� he said, smiling
      ironically. �Still, I think there�s some truth to it.
      I don�t know what will happen with Scott and...Jean.
      They were together a long time, but things have
      changed.� He paused, then asked, �What do you think
      is different about Jean�s feelings for Scott now?�

      �It sounds as if she�s trying to love him, not loving
      him. I think Jean�s in love with Logan.�


      �She doesn�t talk about him. Well, not much. But
      I�ve seen them together and there�s something about
      the way they look at each other. Have you noticed?
      You know he came back here for her. I�m quite sure of
      that. I worry that there�s something happening
      between Jean and Logan. And I wonder what it will do
      to Scott � and the rest of the team � if she leaves
      Scott for him.�

      �God that was good.� Logan stayed on Scott and in him
      for a minute, the side of his face pressed against
      Scott�s back. Then he kissed the back of Scott�s neck
      briefly, and rolled off of him. Lying on his back, he
      sighed happily, big grin lighting up his face in the
      semi-dark room.

      Scott remained prone, but threw an arm over Logan�s
      chest. �As good as Jean?� he asked.

      Logan�s smile vanished. He sat up, pushing Scott�s
      arm off of him in the process. �What is it with you
      two? You got some weirdo competition thing going or


      �For a smart guy, you say some really stupid shit.�

      �I said I�m sorry. I shouldn�t have brought it up.�

      �Well, you did. Just like she did. Pissed me off
      then, too.�

      �She asked you that?�

      �Yeah. �Am I better than Scott?� What a stupid ass
      question.� Scott didn�t reply. �I did it with her
      once, I told you that. I�ve been fucking you every
      chance I get for over a year. Who do you think I�d
      rather do it with?�

      �Is that what you told her?�

      Logan shrugged, an angry scowl darkening his face.
      �Pretty much. I told her I didn�t want to do it with
      her again and I wasn�t gonna stop doing it with you.
      I figured she�s smart enough to know what that means.
      But I would�ve thought you were, too.�

      �Charles? Mac Hudson here.�

      �Hello, Mac. How is everything in the Frozen North?�

      �Still frozen. How are you?�

      �All is well here.�

      �Charles, I�ll get straight to the point. I�m hearing
      some disturbing things from my people in Vermont.�

      �That�s an alarming beginning. What is the problem?�

      �Jean Grey. They�re quite convinced that she is a
      destabilizing influence on the MPP.�

      �I�m very sorry to hear that. Can you be more

      �Unfortunately, Northstar and Sasquatch haven�t been
      all that specific. They sure are emphatic, though.
      They say that Angela Jenkins, who was pretty much
      calmed down over the security issues and making great
      progress in adapting to her new identity, is a nervous
      wreck since Jean arrived. The unflappable G-Men are
      also uneasy. Jean-Paul has said the most, but he�s
      still pretty vague. He says he finds Jean
      manipulative, disruptive, that she�s pitting the staff
      there against each other.�

      �In what way?�

      �I don�t know. Jean-Paul isn�t very clear on that
      point, but he says they were all getting along just
      fine until she showed up. He�s also worried about our
      MPP participant. He says that Angela is frightened of
      Jean and, given her gift for predicting disaster, he
      thinks this is significant. I don�t know what to make
      of it, Charles. They were never close � Jean and
      Northstar � but they always worked well together
      before this. He was clearly reluctant to talk, but
      once he started, Jean-Paul said a lot of strange

      �Like what?�

      �Well, the strangest is � he says he thinks the woman
      there is an imposter, that she isn�t really Jean.�

      Scott knocked on the door to the room down the hall
      from his. Logan opened it without a word and stood
      aside. Scott walked in and looked around. He hadn�t
      been to Logan�s new quarters since Logan had moved in.
      The room was small and furnished very sparsely. A
      single bed stood against one wall, a wooden table and
      chair on the opposite wall. No bookshelf or dresser,
      but an open trunk filled haphazardly with clothes and
      other possessions stood at the foot of the bed. �Can
      I talk to you?� Scott asked, as Logan closed the door
      after him.

      �Nobody�s stopping you,� Logan replied, sitting down
      on the bed.

      Scott pulled the lone chair over by the bed and sat
      down. �Are you all moved in?� he asked. Logan
      shrugged. �Do you need anything? There�s plenty of
      spare furniture. I can get you whatever you want.�
      Logan said nothing. �You�re not making this any
      easier, you know.�

      �What do you want, Cyclops?�

      �I want to apologize. I hate being on bad terms with

      �You could�ve fooled me.�

      �Well I thought of getting on my knees to abjectly beg
      for your forgiveness, but you might think I had
      something else in mind.� That, at least, made Logan
      laugh. �Look, I�m sorry. It�s none of my business
      who you have sex with. I was out of line to ask you
      about Jean. I shouldn�t have said anything. I won�t

      �So why did you?�

      Scott took a deep breath. �I was jealous. I have
      been since you told me. Probably before that, even.�

      �Who are you jealous of? That�s what I want to know.
      Her or me? Who you thinking about here?� Logan�s
      tone started out belligerent but ended up almost

      Scott answered him softly. �You. I�m thinking about
      you. This thing between us � it has mattered more to
      me than I wanted to admit. More than I thought it
      would. I�ve relied on you more and more as time has
      gone on.� Logan looked at him sidelong, but he
      continued. �I�ve been looking to you for a lot, Logan
      � friendship, sex, advice, a sounding board. When it
      looked like Jean was back... well, I worried you�d
      just been marking time with me. I was scared you�d
      drop me. And then when you told me you�d had sex with
      her... It hurt. It hurt a lot. And not just that.
      It scared me. It worried me. So, I was looking for
      some sort of reassurance, I guess. You were quite
      right - it was a stupid thing to ask. And, I realize
      now, a totally inappropriate one. I was jealous to
      think of you with anyone else.�

      �Or her with somebody else?�

      Scott shook his head. �No, that�s not it. It�s not
      what this is about for me. Look, I�m really, really
      sure that woman isn�t Jean. But if it were her, if
      she did come back, it would be the same. I meant what
      I told you � I loved her, but what we tried to have
      was a mistake. I understand that now. It�s taken me
      a long time to get to this point, but I�m not turning

      Scott thought about how to explain himself for a
      moment, and then continued. �I was in love with Jean.
      That counted for something, but it wasn�t enough.
      Not enough to go against my own nature. I�m gay. I
      shouldn�t have tried to live otherwise, not even for
      Jean, not even for love. And, although I certainly
      remember her fondly and am *enraged* that that woman
      has convinced most of the school she�s really Jean,
      well, I�m not in love with Jean anymore. That part of
      my life is over.�

      Scott swallowed hard, and said nothing for a long
      time. �I�m in love with you,� he added, finally.

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