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FIC: The Gates of the Soul (A Time to Every Purpose 4/10)

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  • Mo
    “You don’t like me because I’m a whore, right?” Scott Summers had been sitting on his bed, grading papers, when he’d heard a knock on the door.
    Message 1 of 1 , May 3, 2005
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      �You don�t like me because I�m a whore, right?� Scott
      Summers had been sitting on his bed, grading papers,
      when he�d heard a knock on the door. Seeing who was
      there � and what she was wearing - he�d suggested they
      move to the study alcove of the bedroom. Given the way
      the conversation had gone since then, he was glad he

      He sighed. �RoseAnn, we�ve been through this before. I
      do like you, and you�re not a whore.�

      �You know what I am. You picked me up on the street.�

      �I know exactly what you are. You�re a bright,
      fourteen-year-old girl who has been through a very
      difficult time. You�re a student in my Shakespeare
      seminar. You�re a very powerful mutant who�s still
      learning to control your powers. You�re a wonder with
      anything mechanical and the star of the Car Club.
      You�re the noisiest kid in your dorm and you sing
      off-key. You�re a talented actress and I�ll talk you
      into being in the school play if it�s the last thing I
      do. And you�re overdue on turning in your Othello
      essay.� RoseAnn rolled her eyes. �I didn�t �pick you
      up on the street.� I came to remove you from an
      unhealthy situation when Professor Xavier found out
      the distress you were in. Look, RoseAnn, you�re not
      the only kid here who was homeless before coming to

      �I know that.�

      �Well, know this: kids on the street do what they have
      to to survive. Most of what they do is illegal. That�s
      the way of the world. There aren�t a lot of legally
      available occupations for underage teens. So, if they
      have to support themselves, what kids generally do is
      prostitution, or theft, or they�re involved in some
      way in the drug trade. For some it�s a little of
      each.� He was looking right at her now, RoseAnn knew
      it. She felt like he was staring at her, even though
      she couldn�t see his eyes. Mr. Summers continued
      talking. �It doesn�t mean anything about what the kids
      *are* who do those things. It doesn�t mean they�re
      whores, or thieves or pushers. It�s what they did, not
      who they are.�

      �Yeah, right.�

      �Listen to me. I�ve been doing this a long time,
      taking kids in off the streets. I know what it means
      and what it doesn�t. I�ll tell you what it means: it
      means kids shouldn�t be on their own at fourteen.�
      Scott reached out and held her by the chin. �You�re
      not a whore. You�re a student at this school. You are
      under our protection. And that�s the way it stays.
      Through high school or as long as you need us. I�ve
      been here since I was sixteen and I haven�t left yet.
      This is your home, as long as you want it to be.�

      �If it�s not because I am � was � a whore, then why
      don�t you like me?�

      Scott sighed again. �I do like you.�

      �Don�t you think I�m pretty?� He didn�t answer. �I
      just want to make you happy.�

      �Good. You want to make me happy? Write your Othello
      essay. That would make me very happy.�

      �What � are you gay or something?�

      �As a matter of fact, I am gay.�

      �I�m sorry! I won�t tell anyone, Mr. Summers. I
      promise. I didn�t mean to...�

      �It�s fine. I don�t mind telling you. It�s not a
      secret. It�s just not as relevant as I think you�re
      concluding it is,� he added with a smile. �Xavier�s is
      a coed school, as I assume you�ve noticed. There are
      boys here, too. I�m not sleeping with any of them,
      either. And I�m not going to. And there are men
      teaching here who aren�t gay. And guess what? They�re
      not going to sleep with you, either, even if you show
      up in their bedrooms at night, too, when you were
      supposed to have a meeting in the office, during
      office hours. That�s not how it works here. This is a
      school. Teachers don�t have sex with students.�

      RoseAnn snorted. �You�d be surprised what goes on in a
      school. Particularly when teachers know stuff about
      the kids they teach.�

      �Or maybe I wouldn�t be so surprised. I do know
      something of what goes on out in the world. But I know
      more of what goes on in here. I have more control over
      what goes on in here. This is *my* school, RoseAnn
      Mendez. Okay, not mine alone. I know it says Xavier�s
      on the door, not Summers. But it was my idea, did you
      know that? It wasn�t a school when I first came here.
      The professor and the other X-Men and I built it
      together. I�m really proud of that, proud of what we
      do here. This school is my life�s work, as much as the
      X-Men is, as much as the Foundation is. Xavier�s is a
      school full of mutant kids, many of whom don�t have
      any other homes.�

      �I know that.�

      �Well, so do I. I know more than you think I do. I
      know what it�s like. I was one of those kids without a
      home, just like you. That�s why I wanted to build a
      school like this. This school is built on trust. And
      safety. Trust and safety come from appropriate
      boundaries. No one working here � faculty or staff �
      is having sex with any of the students. If anyone did
      � or even tried � well, he wouldn�t be working here
      any longer. Got it?� She nodded.

      �RoseAnn, I like you a lot. I think you have a lot of
      potential. I don�t think less of you in any way
      because there was a time in your past when you had to
      get by doing something illegal and degrading and
      scary. A whole lot of the kids here have been through
      the same thing. A whole lot of us adults here went
      through the same kinds of experiences when we were
      kids. It affects us all in different ways. It never
      goes away, but it gets better. We learn to see it as
      part of our pasts, not who we are. We learn to live
      with it.�

      �Well, it�s not easy.�

      �I know. I�m not saying it�s easy.�

      �I feel like everybody�s looking at me, pointing at
      me. I feel like I�m pretending to be something I�m
      not, like I�m impersonating some high school kid.�

      �You *are* a high school kid. A particularly gifted
      one. Not just mutant-gifted, academically gifted.
      You�ve also been through over a year of hell. I know
      that. I�ll do what I can for you. So will Professor
      Xavier and Dr. Grey. It�s your business who knows what
      you were doing before you came here, RoseAnn. I didn�t
      tell anyone except Dr. Grey. She�s not talking to
      anybody about you but me. She�s bound by
      doctor/patient confidentiality. And she�s not a
      gossip, anyway. Neither is the professor.�

      RoseAnn smiled a little. �I didn�t think they were
      talking about me.�

      �Well, there�s nobody else to talk about you, because
      nobody else knows. Say what you want, when you want.
      And don�t ever feel like you don�t belong here. This
      place exists just for kids like you. Okay?�


      They smiled at each other. �So why did you stand me up
      this afternoon, when we had an appointment?�

      She shrugged. �I had this big seduction scene planned.
      I figured I had a better chance in your bedroom,
      didn�t think you�d be the type who�s into bending a
      girl over the desk.�

      �Well, now that you know it isn�t going to work, can
      we go back to meeting in my office?� She nodded and
      stood up to leave. �And RoseAnn?� he added, as she
      approached the door.


      �Write that essay.�


      �How is she?� Scott sounded anxious.

      �She�s fine.� Jean looked at him, reassuringly. �No
      addiction, I�d say. No withdrawal symptoms to speak
      of. She was self-medicating to suppress her powers.
      Now that she doesn�t need drugs to do that, she can
      let them go.�

      �And the medical tests?�

      �All the biggies came out negative. No HIV, no
      hepatitis. Some scarring on her tubes from PID. She
      might need help if she decides to conceive at some
      later time. Some much later time, I hope.�

      Scott nodded in agreement. �Any prior pregnancies?�

      �Two. Both terminated early.�

      �She�s fourteen years old!�

      �I know. It�s awful. The second one was just a few
      months ago. Some john � no way to know which. The
      first was her stepfather. That�s why she ran away from
      home in the first place. She had no inkling she was a

      �I wondered. She told me about the stepfather
      molesting her, but I didn�t know if her powers had
      started manifesting, as well.�

      �No, not until a couple of months ago. She didn�t know
      what was happening at first. When she figured it out,
      she was afraid to tell anyone. She thought Nick � the
      pimp � would be disgusted if he knew she�s a mutant.�

      �So she ran away from home to get away from the

      �From him, and from her mother.�

      �The mother knew?�

      Jean nodded. �Yeah, called her a slut.�

      �Some people shouldn�t have kids.�

      �We know that. Anyway, she ran to the big city. Old
      story. She met Nick. He offered to pay for the
      abortion, took care of her afterwards. She asked how
      she could repay him. And he told her how.�

      �Bastard.� Scott thought a little more. �Have you told
      her about the results of the tests?�

      Jean shook her head. �I�m meeting with her later
      today. Do you want to be there?�

      �No, I think you should talk to her privately. She
      might feel less inhibited on some topics talking to
      you alone.�

      �She really likes you, you know.�

      �I know. And she�s only beginning to learn there are
      ways to express liking someone without sex.�

      �You�ll teach her.� Jean smiled at him. �How�s she
      doing other than medically? Socially? Academically?�

      �Very well, considering. She�s smart. When she applies
      herself she does really well academically. I think
      she�s finding that hard, though, the discipline of
      school. Well, you know how it is.�

      �Sure, there�s always an adjustment period when they
      come in out of the cold like that.�

      �The other kids seem to like her. She�s the only girl
      in the Car Club, you know. The boys were all kind of
      drooling over her at first. Now they�re awed by her
      mechanical ability.�

      �Mutant power?�

      �I don�t think so. I think it�s just raw talent, that
      she�s just good with that stuff. I wish I could teach
      her to drive. It seems silly that she can take a car
      apart and put it together, but she�s too young to get
      behind the wheel.�

      �A less law-abiding type would teach her anyway, just
      stick to the estate for the lessons.�

      �I break the law for better reasons than that.� He
      thought a little more. �I�m glad RoseAnn�s settling in
      as well as she is. It�s a good sign that she�s getting
      into extra-curriculars. She�s really not ready to use
      her mutant power; she�s content knowing how to
      suppress it. I�ve been having a hard time getting
      Charles to back off, though.�

      �I know. He told me about it. I think he was looking
      for me to talk you into letting him at her.�

      �Damn him! He told me he�d wait. He has no business
      trying to get at me through you.�

      �It didn�t work. I told him you know her best, that he
      needs to listen to you.�

      �Well, thanks. What is it with him lately? He�s so
      *impatient* all the time. He�s always had a bit of a
      blind spot when he thinks someone�s power is useful to
      him, but for Christ�s sake! She�s fourteen years old.
      Since when do we make the students use their powers
      for the X-Men?�

      �Not since you and I were kids, anyway.� She smiled

      �Where has Charles�s compassion gone? RoseAnn was
      raped by her stepfather, exploited by a pimp, abused
      by countless johns. How can he think that being forced
      to do something she doesn�t want to do could be good
      for her?�

      �And forced by yet another man,� Jean agreed. �I told
      him just that. I said I thought he needed to have more
      empathy for what she�s been through.�

      �Thanks,� he said again. �I just don�t get it. I could
      just shake him.�

      �He�s worried about Cerebro. He�s the only one who can
      use it now. He wants me to, as well. It will have to
      be a lot more stable before I can handle it. He�s
      excited to find someone with Magneto�s power and wants
      to use that.�

      �I understand all that, but she�ll be just as much use
      to him in a few months. She�ll *want* to help in a few
      months � she�ll be eager to use it. He can get what he
      wants without traumatizing her.� He shook his head.
      �Sometimes I think he�s losing it, Jean. Maybe he�s
      too distracted by all the political stuff he�s doing
      and he can�t attend to the kids with his mind on the
      White House meetings and all that. But he�s different
      lately. He�s losing his empathy for the kids. He just
      doesn�t care about them like he used to. Maybe he�s
      just been doing this too long.�

      Jean took a deep breath. �That�s not it. There�s
      something you don�t know. I keep telling him he should
      tell you.�

      �What?� She didn�t answer at first. �Jean, you�re
      scaring me. What�s going on?�

      �He�s sick, Scott. He�s really sick. I�m so scared.�
      And then she was crying hard. Scott held her for a
      long time before she could say anything more.

      �You wanted to see me, Dr. Grey?�

      �Yes, come on in, RoseAnn. Sit down.� Jean motioned
      the girl over to the seating area in her office, then
      closed the door and sat down across from her. �I�ve
      got all your results. I�ve discussed them with Mr.
      Summers, as your advisor. Now I want to talk to you.
      For the most part, they�re very good. Your body has
      been through a lot, but you are young and healthy and
      resilient. And lucky.� Jean picked up the chart from
      the table. �HIV test negative, hepatitis negative �
      all kinds, gonorrhea, syphilis. You don�t have any of
      them.� RoseAnn sighed. �Relieved?�

      �Very. Mostly about AIDS. I knew so many girls who got
      it...� She thought a little more. �You said �for the
      most part�. What do I have?�

      �Nothing that�s threatening your life. Or your health.
      But there is some scarring on your fallopian tubes.
      Evidence of PID � pelvic inflammatory disease. It�s
      possible that it could interfere with conception or
      implantation, should you choose to get pregnant at
      some point.�

      �I don�t want to get pregnant. I�ve mostly worried
      about how not to! And how to get rid of it when I

      �I know. But you�re young. You�ve got your whole life
      ahead of you. At some point � some point many years
      down the road, I think � you may want to start a
      family. And, just to be clear, I�m not saying you
      won�t be able to. The scarring is not that much of an
      impediment. At worst, you might need some
      intervention. It�s just something to watch for.� Jean
      put on her glasses and looked through the chart.
      �Beyond that, everything looks good. You�re young and
      strong.� She looked up at RoseAnn. �I do think we
      should talk about sexual activity, about how to stay

      �I�m not having sex,� RoseAnn answered quickly. �I�m
      not planning on it.�

      �Good. I think that�s an excellent choice at this
      point in your life.�

      �It hasn�t always been a choice, you know.�

      �I know. That�s a terrible thing that happened to you,
      RoseAnn. It�s not going to happen again. You�re safe

      �That�s what Mr. Summers keeps telling me.�

      �Smart man, that Mr. Summers. Listen to him.� She
      turned back to what they�d been discussing. �Like I
      said, I think not having sex is a very good choice
      right now. Delaying sexual activity is good for your
      growth, for both your body and your mind. But you will
      likely want to at some point. Most people do. When
      you�re older, when you�re in love, maybe. And I want
      you to approach sex responsibly, to know that it�s
      important to think about staying healthy, and it�s
      important to think about the emotional consequences,
      too.� She paused. �So when you think you might be
      interested in becoming sexually active, come talk to
      me. Don�t assume you know everything just because
      you�ve been on the street. I want to arm you, to give
      you the knowledge � and anything else you need � to
      keep you healthy.�

      �Do you provide condoms and stuff to kids here?� Jean
      nodded. �So you think it�s okay for them to have sex
      in high school?�

      �I don�t know if it�s okay or not. I don�t think it�s
      my place to decide whether or not it�s okay. I think
      it�s a very individual decision. I do think it�s
      better for kids to wait until they are mature enough,
      but I don�t think there�s a set age when that happens.
      People feel ready at different times in their lives.
      My main concern is that no one here feel pressured or
      coerced into sex, and that those students who are
      sexually active take precautions to keep themselves
      healthy. So I try to give them the information � and
      the materials � to make that happen.�

      �You�re real big on this health shit, right?� RoseAnn
      was smiling, sardonically.

      �Well, they kind of tend to stress the health shit in
      medical school, what can I say?�

      RoseAnn laughed. Then she scowled. �What you said
      about when I�m older and in love I�ll want to have
      sex? I�m in love now. Well, I think I am. But you
      don�t have to talk to me about �precautions.� It�s not
      going to lead to sex. He has no interest in me.�
      RoseAnn looked down at the last part.

      �That�s hard, I know. Few things are more difficult
      than unrequited love.�

      �Not wisely but too well.�

      �Are you reading Othello in Mr. Summers�s Shakespeare

      RoseAnn nodded. �Yeah, but you�d think if he loved her
      so well, he wouldn�t have killed her.�

      Jean laughed. �Well, it�s a wonderful line. Seems to
      apply to most people�s lives at one point or another.
      Usually without murder and suicide. I�m sorry you�re
      going through that now. Although,� Jean added, �I
      don�t know that you can be sure he�s not interested.
      Boys your age often have trouble letting girls know
      when they like them.�

      �I know. The boys here are such... children! Anyway,
      he�s not a boy, the guy I�m in love with. He�s a man.
      Mr. Summers. I really do think I�m in love with him.�
      She looked down. �Is that stupid?�

      Jean sighed and smiled sadly. �No, it�s not stupid.
      He�s a wonderful guy. And having a crush on your
      teacher is so common an experience as to be almost

      �This isn�t just a crush.�

      �I�m not saying that to suggest your feelings are
      trivial. Scott Summers is a very special man. Hey,
      I�ve been there. Believe me, I understand the appeal.
      It�s not stupid. If I thought you were stupid, I�d
      have to think I was, too.� She laughed at RoseAnn�s
      questioning look. �Yes, me. Scott and I lived together
      for years. We were going to get married.�

      �But he�s gay!�

      �Now where were you ten years ago when it would have
      been really useful to know that?� She smiled, and then
      RoseAnn did, too.

      Mofic Website: www.angelfire.com/comics/mo

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