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FIC: Not the Exact Likeness (Returning Spring, 9/10)

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  • Mo
    Not the Exact Likeness (Returning Spring, 9/10) “You’ve spoken to Jean-Paul and Walter?” “Yes, Charles. I met with each of them individually and
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 19, 2005
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      Not the Exact Likeness (Returning Spring, 9/10)

      �You�ve spoken to Jean-Paul and Walter?�

      �Yes, Charles. I met with each of them individually
      and interviewed them both at length. And I�ve met
      with... Jean a few times, as well. I�ve examined her.
      I�ve talked to her about her mental and emotional
      state and heard a pretty extensive account of her
      capture, imprisonment and escape. She�s shared some
      of her difficulties in being accepted and feeling
      comfortable within the school and with the X-Men.�

      �And how did she seem to you?�

      �Well, please remember that I hadn�t seen Jean Grey in
      a number of years, Charles.�

      �Yes, I know. I�m not asking you to commit yourself
      to a decision. But what�s your opinion? Is this
      woman Jean, or not?�

      �She is Jean. I�m convinced of that... I guess
      that�s not what you wanted to hear.�

      �Perhaps not. It�s not what I expected to hear
      anyway. On what do you base this opinion?�

      �Charles, it�s just... not possible, what you�re
      suggesting. There cannot be two people who look so
      exactly alike. I think it�s close to ten years since
      I�ve seen Jean Grey, but I recognized her right away.
      She looks older, of course. Her personality is very
      different. But, Charles, that�s what happens � with
      time, with experience, especially with trauma such as
      she has suffered. She is a changed woman � I don�t
      doubt that. If you were saying �she�s not Jean� to me
      as metaphor, as indication of how different she has
      become, I could totally accept that. I can understand
      that. She is indeed a different woman from the one
      you knew before she had this horrific experience. But
      she�s still Jean Grey... You�re not saying anything.�

      �I don�t know what to say, Ethan. I felt sure you�d
      see what I did, understand that this can�t be Jean.
      You�ve talked to Scott?�

      �Yes, and he�s understandably very conflicted. But I
      realize that he � like you, like the two Alpha Flight
      representatives � really does think this is someone
      else. I think to some extent you are all convincing
      each other, reinforcing each other�s beliefs. Still,
      you must know at some level that this belief is not
      grounded in reality. If you didn�t, you wouldn�t have
      asked me to look into this.�

      �I asked you because I felt I needed an objective look
      at the question. Yes, I was concerned that we were
      all influencing each other and I thought you could
      take a fresh look. I thought you�d confirm what we
      believed, though. And now it seems you�re telling me
      we�re all crazy.�

      �You know that�s not a word I use. Charles, you are
      an extremely levelheaded, rational, thoughtful
      individual. I wouldn�t have gone as far as I did to
      check your claim out if it came from anyone else. On
      the face of it, it�s an outlandish belief. I took it
      very seriously solely because you believed it.�

      �I appreciate that.�

      �I still have very complete medical records from the
      time when Jean was my patient. She had two small
      scars � one on her head, behind her left ear, and the
      other on her right thigh. Neither of them is
      noticeable in clothing - her hair covers the one on
      her head. The scars are still there, Charles. Okay,
      let�s assume someone looked enough like Jean to pull
      this off and managed through plastic surgery and so
      forth to look even more like her. Even if that were
      true, how would she get the scars? I just don�t see
      how this can possibly be someone other than Jean.�

      �Do you remember how you and I met, Ethan?�

      �Of course. How could I forget? If it were not for
      Jean, we might never have met.�

      �Then you remember that you�ve thought some things
      were impossible before that turned out to be true.
      There is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in
      your philosophy. Particularly when mutants are

      �Are you saying that looking exactly like Jean is
      someone�s mutant gift?�

      �Not precisely, but there are mutants who can change
      their shape, who can exactly copy the appearance of
      someone else. Although what you say about the scars
      concerns me. In my experience of shape shifters, they
      are only able to copy what is readily seen.�

      �I do know about shape shifters. I�ve even treated
      some. They tend to have a fairly weak sense of self,
      for obvious reasons. They look remarkably like the
      person they are imitating, but they make mistakes,
      precisely because they can�t know about things like
      scars, or small blemishes, or old healed injuries that
      show up on X-rays. And yes, Jean�s got a couple of
      those, too. But it�s not just the scars or the marks
      on her bones, Charles. Or the fillings � which are
      all in the right place.�

      �There�s more?�

      �Yes. I asked Martin Kline if Jean Grey had
      fingerprints on file. She does. She was
      fingerprinted as part of the security procedure before
      she testified before the Senate Commission on Mutants
      a couple of years back. Charles, I had him take her
      prints now. They�re the same. This is Jean. Nothing
      else is possible.�

      �I understand that�s how it seems, but...�

      �Charles, listen. The kind of trauma Jean has
      undergone � it has changed her. There�s no doubt
      about that. I know how close you were to her. You
      considered her almost a daughter to you, is that not

      �It�s very much right. Jean and Scott are the people
      I have been closest to - have loved the most � of
      anyone in my life. I knew her so well, Ethan. We
      shared so much. I can�t be mistaken about this.�

      �Maybe you *have* to be mistaken about this. Have you
      thought of that?�

      �I don�t know what you mean by that.�

      �Think about how she�s changed. She�s harder edged.
      Calculating. Manipulative. Not the open and caring
      person you knew and loved. I see that. I know you
      do, too. Charles, I think you don�t *like* Jean Grey
      very much now. And I don�t blame you. It�s not her
      fault how she�s changed, but they are not pleasant
      changes she has undergone. She�s not the warm and
      loving daughter you remember with such affection.

      �I think it must feel so disloyal to find yourself
      disliking her. What kind of way is that to welcome
      back long lost Jean? And with both of you being
      telepaths, well, that would be pretty hard to hide,
      wouldn�t it? You couldn�t hide your feelings from
      yourself; you couldn�t hide them from Jean. Not under
      normal circumstances, with your minds open to each
      other. It would make you feel inadequate to the task
      of helping her re-assimilate, helping her heal,
      wouldn�t it? On the other hand, if it�s not Jean...
      well, then it�s okay to feel that way, right? Your
      hostility towards her is not only understandable, it�s
      *loyal*. It�s necessary to stay on your guard, to
      keep your mind closed to her. It�s not rejecting of
      Jean, not if you convince yourself that this isn�t
      Jean. On the contrary, it�s loving towards Jean, the
      real Jean, to unmask the imposter. You can�t face the
      fact that your feelings towards Jean have changed
      along with her personality, so you decide instead that
      she isn�t Jean.�

      �I don�t know. I just don�t know. It makes sense
      when you say that, if you were telling me this about
      someone else � a patient � I�d commend you on your
      insight. Still, for all your skill and knowledge,
      Ethan, I don�t believe you can see what�s really going
      on here. You�re not a telepath; you�re not a mutant.
      I think you just aren�t as open to possibilities �
      even new and unusual possibilities - as my team and I
      have had to be. It�s not just my view. Jean-Paul
      Beaubier and Walter Langkowski independently came to
      the same conclusion, you know. And neither of them
      was particularly close to Jean, so your theory of my
      motivation would not apply to them. Jean-Paul, in
      particular, never got along well with Jean.�

      �Yes, I know that. I�m not saying I understand or can
      explain why all of you feel like this. I am saying I
      just don�t think it could possibly be true.�

      �Perhaps this woman is an extremely adept shape
      shifter, more so than we�ve ever encountered. Perhaps
      she�s able to mimic even details like fingerprints and
      scars. I understand that sounds unlikely, but leading
      the X-Men as long as I have has convinced me that many
      unlikely things happen. I�ve also learned that we
      discount the unlikely at our peril.�

      �Have you talked to Logan about Jean? What does he

      �I haven�t spoken to him about her. I really don�t
      know. Have you?�


      �He believes this is Jean?�

      �He doesn�t know what to believe. He�s confused. But
      what he told me led me to rule out the possibility of
      a shape shifter, Charles. He said his heightened
      senses aren�t fooled by that, that every individual
      has a distinct scent. Logan can tell who�s in a room
      with his eyes closed, even if no one says a word.
      That�s how acute his sense of smell is. And he has no
      doubt that the woman who calls herself Jean has the
      scent he knew from the real Jean Grey.�

      �Cyclops? Northstar here.�

      �Jean-Paul. How are you?�

      �Been better, copain. I talked to that shrink. He
      doesn�t believe me.�

      �Did he say so?�

      �No, but I could tell. I can�t convince him, Walter
      can�t, Charles Xavier can�t. Did you try?�

      �Not very hard. Frankly, I don�t know what to believe
      anymore. I�m not surprised that Ethan thinks this
      sounds unlikely. I don�t see myself how it could have
      happened. How could someone look exactly like Jean?
      How could she move like Jean, sound like Jean, smell
      like Jean? How could she know what Jean knew?�

      �She doesn�t know everything, believe me.�

      �I do believe you. I�ve noticed that myself. But
      memory lapse is not proof that she�s an imposter.�

      �No, but I have proof. And I gave it to the shrink.
      He still won�t believe it.�

      �What kind of proof?�

      �I�ve got no time to explain. That�s not what I
      called about. If we can�t unmask this imposter, then
      we�ve got to neutralize her.�

      �What do you mean?�

      �She�s a danger now � a danger to the mission and a
      danger to Cassandra. We�ve got to get Cassandra out
      of here and on to her new life before that woman
      causes her harm.�

      �Is she ready, do you think? Is it safe to start her
      on her new identity?�

      �I don�t know. I�d rather give her another couple of
      weeks, bien sur. I don�t know how safe this is. But
      I know it�s not safe here. We need to get her out,
      and fast. She needs to be far away before the one who
      pretends to be Jean even knows she�s gone.�

      �Hi. It�s me.�

      �Jean? Are you okay? It�s...�

      �Three in the morning. I know, �Ro. I�m sorry to
      wake you, but this couldn�t wait.�

      �It�s okay. What�s wrong? Is Angela okay?�

      �For now. But I need your help.�

      �Of course. What is happening?�

      �She�s in danger. We have to get her out of here.�

      �Danger? What�s going on there?�

      Northstar and Sasquatch. They�re not... doing what
      they say they are. They�re plotting against this

      �Jean, I know you and Jean-Paul don�t get along very
      well, but I can�t think he or Walter would plot
      against our mission. We�ve worked with Alpha Flight
      so often. They�re very reliable and committed to
      joint missions.�

      �Not this time. They�re trying to take her away from

      �That�s the whole idea of this mission. At our status
      meeting yesterday, we heard she should be ready in
      another two weeks.�

      �They�re not waiting two weeks and they�re not taking
      her to... where was she supposed to be resettled?�

      �Where do you think they�re taking her? When do you
      think this is happening?�

      �I don�t know where. I only have the sketchiest
      information. But I know they�re planning on sneaking
      her out tomorrow, without telling her in advance, and
      without informing me or the FBI. They don�t mean her
      well, �Ro, I�m sure of it.�

      �What do you want to do? What do you want me to do?�

      �You have to help me. We�ve got to get her away from
      here. Before they do.�

      �Jean? Please calm down. We can�t just do this on
      our own. We need to talk to Charles. If you have
      concerns about the Alpha Flight team members, he�s the
      one to bring your concerns to. Jean? Jean? Are you

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