- I'm looking for a few good betas :-). Folks on these
lists have come through for me before and been
wonderful betas, who have greatly improved the
stories. I'm grateful for that help and I thought I'd
try again now.
I mostly write story series, with each story being
from 1500-4000 words. My series have ranged in length
from 4 stories to 18 and from 12,000 words to 55,000
My fiction is X-Men movieverse and I'm currently
writing an X2-based series. For readers of my previous
fiction, it is the third and final series in my
version of the Phoenix Saga. It bears little
resemblance to the Phoenix story within the comics,
but is a "Jean comes back from the dead" series and
uses some phoenix imagery as a nod to the comics. The
first two series were called "After the Fall" and
"Returning Spring." The working title for this one is
"Summers in a Sea of Glory."
I've written about 7000 words so far, in three stories
and expect this series will be around 8-10 stories and
around 20,000 - 25,000 words when finished. It's
NC/17 slash but it is not focussed solely on sex and
relationships and it's not devoid of heterosexual
characters and heterosexual relationships. There's an
X-Men adventure/action plot that's the public story
and a Scott/Logan/Jean triangle story that is the
I like process betas, who will read stories as they
are written and answer questions like "What do you
think happens next?" as well as do the more
conventional proofreading and copy editing. This
helps me to see whether my foreshadowing is too
heavy-handed, too subtle, or just right. I ask
questions about how the beta is reacting to the story
and what s/he'd like to see happen or done
differently. I don't always take that advice but I
profit from it. I'm looking for the kind of impact
the stories have on a few readers. It's not required
that you have read my previous stories.
I don't usually post WIP, but I'm posting a draft of
the first story in this series, to give a sense of
what you'd be getting yourself into. Of course, if
you've ever beta'ed for me before, you know what
you're getting yourself into, and I'd be happy of your
First story follows my signature. It is followed by
the questions I would ask betas to answer for this
story. If you are interested in beta'ing, write me
offlist. Thanks in advance for your attention and
I was going to tell Jean. There was never any
question about that. Not in my mind, anyway. And
there shouldnt have been any in Logans, either. Id
told him long before anything had happened between
him and me that Jean and I didnt keep secrets from
each other. I would have told her about Logan and me
even if wed just been fuck buddies. Which, of
course, was all we had been when it started.
Now it felt like we had something a lot more than
that. Id told him I was in love with him and Id
meant it. And Id believed him when he told me he
felt the same.
Id thought Jean was dead at the time, thought that
wed had an imposter in our midst. Id since found
out otherwise, now knew that she had been invaded or
possessed or something. Whatever had taken over her
body and her mind was gone now. Jean was back, really
back this time.
That didnt change anything. Not for me, not for my
feelings for Logan. Ill always care about Jean, Im
sure. Weve been friends since we were kids and we
were lovers for years. Wed planned on marriage. In
some sense Ill always love her, but Id known for
some time that I wasnt in love with her anymore.
I wasnt going to try to live a heterosexual life
again. It had taken me some time to clearly
understand that the relationship Jean and I had tried
to build was a mistake, but I did understand it now.
It never would have worked, I realized. I hadnt been
true to my nature. Now that I was in love with a man,
Id learned something essential that had always eluded
me before. Now I understood that deep love and
intense desire could have the same object, and it was
a life-changing realization. It was very clear to me
that there was never going to be anything but
friendship between Jean and me. This was information
Jean had a right to know and I was definitely going to
Still, it was something I needed to do carefully, not
just blurt out. Jean was in no condition to hear news
like that without some preparation. Logan should have
understood that. He knew what had happened to her.
Well, as much as any of us knew, which wasnt a whole
Id called Charles as soon as I could, as soon as we
were sure that *thing* was truly gone from Jean. As
soon as wed established that the inhabitants of the
Vermont house it hadnt killed were safe and well, as
soon as I was sure the house was secure. Id
explained to Charles what had happened to Jean and
about the deaths of the FBI agents assigned there. I
dont know what hed told the G-Mens superiors, but
he assured me that Jean would not be arrested for
their deaths. Then he and Hank joined us in Vermont,
to run interference with the FBI as needed, as well as
to try to get a better sense of what had gone on there
and to formulate a plan for what to do next.
Two more grim-faced FBI agents showed up shortly after
Hank and Charles, looking almost exactly like the ones
who had died. They interviewed us all and took
extensive notes. Neither of them betrayed any
emotion, even when Logan and I described finding their
colleagues dead, hearts pulled from their bodies and
placed neatly on the hall table. Logan and I
exchanged glances when they muttered about satanic
cults and ritual murder, but didnt try to correct
The G-Men left with the bodies of their fellow agents,
and no local law enforcement showed up. I checked
local newspapers as long as we were in Vermont, and
nothing about two gruesome deaths interrupted the
articles about school funding and ski tourism.
We stayed on for a few more days, in order to look for
clues as to what it was that had taken over Jeans
body, and in order to interview our Alpha Flight reps
and Cassandra, our Mutant Protection Plan resident.
They were the people who had been on the spot and knew
best what had happened. Logan and I had come into it
too late to have the whole picture. Both Sasquatch
and Cassandra had been attacked by Jean and we hoped
we could find out more about the being that had
invaded her from them.
Sasquatch was no help to the investigation. Wed
found him unconscious, but without a mark on him. He
awoke a couple of hours after Jean became herself
again, but with no memory of anything that had
happened that day.
His memories before jibed with the rest of ours, but
added nothing. Hed noticed a difference in Jean
from when hed first arrived in Vermont to work with
her. She had seemed changed, unlike the woman hed
known for years. He and Northstar had compared notes,
speculating that she might be an imposter, a
shape-shifter taking Jeans form. That she was Jean
but possessed by some inhuman entity had never entered
By contrast, Cassandras memories were clear and
complete. She was able to tell us exactly what shed
experienced. Her mutant power for predicting
catastrophe had warned her that shed be attacked by
Jean. As soon as she had the vision, shed tried to
escape, planning to return to Westchester. Jean had
tried to stop her and Cassandra had taken refuge in
the panic room. Wed had to coax her out of there
afterwards. It took some doing to convince her that
Jean hadnt really been the one who attacked her, and
was no threat to her now.
After wed learned everything we could on site, we
returned to Westchester. We brought Cassandra with
us, and also Ethan Leeds. Charles had asked him to
take a few days off to join us. We needed his
expertise and his established therapeutic
relationships with both Cassandra and Jean.
Hank examined Jean carefully and did pretty much every
test modern medicine had available to assess her
physical and mental state. Charles examined her
telepathically, and assessed her mutant powers with
Cerebro. Ethan Leeds interviewed her at length,
bringing his professional expertise, his experience
with mutant psychology, and his long professional
relationship with Jean to the table. The three of
them were a formidable team. If anyone had been able
to figure out what had happened to her, it would have
been that trio. Still, with all the expertise,
intelligence, and mutant power brought to bear, we
werent clear on just what had invaded her body or
what that being had done to her. We were referring to
the invader as the Phoenix a reference to the
fiery, bird-like shape that seemed to be coming out of
her body when Jean became Jean again. But giving it a
name wasnt getting us any closer to figuring out who
or what it was.
As far as they could tell, Jean seemed physically
unaffected by more than a year of having her body and
mind under Phoenix control. It also seemed that it
hadnt diminished her mutant powers at all. If
anything, it seemed to have intensified them. Her
telekinesis was exponentially stronger than it had
been. And Charles said her telepathy was now so
strong it was rivaling his. It wasnt clear how that
had happened. Had possession by the Phoenix had an
intensifying effect on her gifts? Or was it a natural
progression that had just coincidentally happened at
the same time as the possession? I tended to think
Ever since wed fought Magneto at Liberty Island
Jeans powers had seemed to be growing by leaps and
bounds growing faster than her ability to control
them at first. During more than a year of Phoenix
possession, perhaps they continued to grow, and to
stabilize, so that she was now in better control, now
that she had her body back.
So, physically Jean was perfectly well, surprisingly
so. And her powers were stronger than ever. Still,
that didnt mean she was emotionally healthy. It
didnt mean she was ready to take what was bound to be
hard news without some preparation.
Psychologically well, it would take time to know
just how badly hurt she was, but she had clearly been
traumatized by the experience. Ethan reported that
she was suffering from acute anxiety trouble
sleeping, having panic attacks, nightmares when she
did manage to sleep. And the way she had clung to me,
shaking, when the Phoenix finally left her body didnt
leave me thinking that it was a good time to tell her
I had a new lover. A man. A man shed thought had
been in love with her, thought Id been jealous of.
Jean certainly knew something was up. In Vermont
shed been assigned a room by herself. Shed looked
at me questioningly when Walter said hed show her
which room was hers, but said nothing. When we
returned to Westchester, she asked Ororo where she was
staying, not looking at me. Ro took her to the room
that shed lived in under Phoenix possession for
the last several months. All of her things were
already there. She had no need to come back to our
room, and didnt. I wasnt finding myself alone with
her. If Id wanted to explain about Logan and me
and I really didnt think it was a good idea to do so
yet Id have needed to ask to talk to her privately.
She didnt spend much time with me, in general. I saw
her at faculty meetings, in the dining hall, at team
meetings. She didnt sit with me and she didnt look
It wasnt to me that she turned to find out what had
happened while shed been possessed. She gave an
overview of her experiences of the past year at the
first team meeting after her return. Or more
accurately, her non-experiences. It feels like I
fell asleep at Alkali Lake and woke up the next
morning in Vermont, she said. I know over a year
went by, but I only know it intellectually. I have
some moments of memory at Xaviers and in Vermont
but its like little bits of a dream. Incomplete,
hazy, only barely remembered. Ill look to you, she
added, turning from me and towards Charles and Ro,
to fill me in on what I did during the time after I
came home. She shrugged. I hope none of you will
hold me responsible for my actions.
Everyone quickly assured her that she was in no way
responsible for her Phoenix-controlled behavior.
Charles added, Well do our best to fill you in on
what happened while you were with us, Jean. Its also
possible that Ethan and I can help you fill in some of
the time before you showed up here.
How? Ive really tried to remember. I know that may
well be the key to finding the Phoenix, or at least
figuring out what its intentions were. But theres
nothing there, no matter how hard I try.
Dr. Leeds weighed in. Its possible there is
something there, just not accessible to you. Maybe
the experiences were too traumatic to remember. Maybe
the Phoenix has walled off the memories, hidden them
from your conscious self. Maybe both are operating.
I think that with a combination of hypnosis and
telepathy, Charles and I may be able to help you
recover them. He paused, as if unsure whether to
continue. It wouldnt likely be a pleasant process.
Ultimately I think youll find that the more you know
the better, but revisiting trauma is never easy, and
can often be re-traumatizing.
I want to do whatever I can to get answers, shed
replied without hesitation, for all of our sakes.
She smiled weakly. Ill count on you to pick up the
pieces, if necessary, Ethan. As always, I admired
her courage, persistence, and commitment to the team.
I tried to talk to Jean after the meeting, following
her to her office. I began by expressing that
admiration for her fortitude and telling her I wanted
to do what I could to help her. I told her to let me
know when she felt ready to rejoin the team, but that
she shouldnt feel under pressure to do so right away.
She didnt say anything for a long time. When she
spoke, it wasnt in response to what I said. Its
over, isnt it? she asked.
I nodded. Im sorry.
She shrugged, smiling sadly. Nothing to be sorry
about. We always knew it was a long shot.
Jean, Ill always
Dont, Scott. Dont finish that sentence. I dont
think I can take hearing that right now. Maybe some
day. She turned her head away. I think I need to
be alone now.
How could I have told her then?
1. If you have not read the series that precede this,
could you tell what was going on? What, if anything,
was confusing? If you have read the others, was there
too much recap? In particular, it's essential that
the reader understand who Cassandra and Ethan are,
since they will be major players in this series. Is
there too much info about them, not enough, or just
the right amount?
2. How do you think Logan has been behaving towards
Scott during this period?
3. Why is Scott so defensive about his decision to
not tell Jean about his relationship with Logan yet?
4. What do you think happens next?
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