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FIC: Truest Friend and Noblest Foe (Summers in a Sea of Glory, 6/10)

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  • Mo
    When something’s hard to talk about, it only gets harder the longer you put it off. That’s a lesson I should have learned long before this. Logan was
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 10, 2006
      When something’s hard to talk about, it only gets
      harder the longer you put it off. That’s a lesson I
      should have learned long before this.

      Logan was right and I was wrong. I should have told
      Jean at the outset that he and I were lovers. I
      realized that now, but the realization had come too
      late. Waiting had only made it harder to say
      anything. I’d let ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’
      and it hadn’t worked any better for me than for the
      poor cat in the adage. It had only consolidated the
      distance between us, only left me feeling like I was
      deceiving her.

      I’d told Logan I was putting it off for her sake, but
      I think now it was for my own. I didn’t want to
      disappoint her more than I already had; I didn’t want
      to have to face her sadness. I didn’t want her to
      feel like I’d betrayed her. Maybe I didn’t want to
      face the fact that I had betrayed her. After all, as
      I’d said to Logan, it would be harder news for her to
      hear I was involved with him than it would have been
      had it been anyone else.

      It would have been harder news, I mean. It wasn’t
      news at all. It was a moot point now. There was no
      reason to tell Jean about Logan and me, since there
      was no Logan and me, not any longer. Logan wasn’t
      willing to have anything to do with me. I’d tried to
      tell him that he’d misinterpreted what was happening
      with Jean-Paul, but he wouldn’t listen. “Logan!” I’d
      said as soon as we were alone, “It wasn’t what you

      “How do you know what I think?”

      “Oh come on. You were looking daggers at me and

      “It’s nothing to me what you do with him. Or anybody

      “I’m not doing anything with him. He was showing me
      the transmitter Hank made him.”

      “He’d’ve been showing you a lot more than that if I
      hadn’t interrupted.”

      “Believe me, Logan. I’m telling you the truth:
      nothing was happening.” I tried to put my arms around
      him but he stalked off.

      And that was pretty much that. Northstar and Pyro
      left the next day, off looking for Magneto. Their
      part of the mission was to find him and infiltrate,
      convincing him they were joining the Brotherhood and
      finding out what his plans were and why he needed that

      We were continuing the investigation on this end, too.
      Logan was in on all the team meetings and spoke to me
      as necessary when we needed to talk about a mission.
      But that was all. I tried to get through to him for a
      few days before I gave up. I looked for him every
      chance I could to speak to him alone – following him
      to the Danger Room, to his bedroom. I found him at
      the pool at night. It didn’t matter where he was – he
      wouldn’t speak to me, wouldn’t touch me, wouldn’t
      listen to me. When I tried to make him listen, he
      left. Logan made clear that outside of team business
      he was going to have nothing to do with me. I don’t
      know who he was spending his time with, but he was out
      a lot, particularly at night. I didn’t ask where he
      went. As he’d said, we had no claim on each other.

      On the team, though, he was still a full participant.
      I don’t know if anyone noticed the tension between us,
      but I did my best not to let it show and I think he
      did, too. Charles had no reason to warn me again that
      we needed Logan, so I’d best not alienate him. He was
      fully an X-Man.

      Jean was working up to being fully on the team, too.
      She wasn’t yet involved in combat missions, but she
      was in on team meetings and taking on some
      assignments. She volunteered to go to the zoo and
      talk to the veterinarians and zookeepers in order to
      find out what we could about the animal Magneto had
      snatched. Her medical background and ability to pass
      for normal made her the obvious choice. I didn’t want
      her going alone, though. She said she’d be fine, but
      I couldn’t be sure. I insisted that Logan accompany
      her, for protection. He had no objections. When it
      came to X-Men missions, he was listening to me.

      I took Jean aside after the meeting where it was
      decided that she and Logan would continue the
      investigation by going to the zoo. I’d decided that I
      needed to make up for my silence, as much as I could
      at this point. “Can we talk?” I asked. She nodded
      but said nothing.

      We walked to the enclosed garden. I felt it was time,
      past time, to tell Jean some of what I’d gone through,
      to make clear to her the changes I’d undergone, to
      apologize for disappointing her. There was no
      relationship to disclose, no involvement with Logan,
      but I felt like there was still much more to say to
      her than just “It’s over” and “I’m sorry.”

      “I don’t know how to begin,” I told her, sitting next
      to her on a bench, “but I feel like I have to tell you
      some of what went on when you were... gone.”

      “I’m not sure I want to hear about it. At least not
      all of it.” She turned away.

      “Fair enough. I’ll try not to over-share.” I took a
      deep breath. “I... I never lied to you, Jean. You
      knew I was gay from the start. I wasn’t hiding
      anything. I thought I could marry you, live that kind
      of life. I hoped I could, anyway. I tried for so
      long. I loved you so much I thought I could do it.”
      She didn’t say anything. I continued. “When you
      were... gone, when I thought you were lost to us, I
      was devastated. You can ask anyone. I totally fell
      apart. In the middle of a class, even.”

      That got a response. “Hard to imagine Scott Summers
      out of control,” she said, half a smile on her face.

      “It happened. I thought my life was over. Well, it
      was. The life we planned together was over. But over
      time, well, I knew my whole life wasn’t over. You
      were gone, but I was still here. And I had to think
      more about what I wanted to do with the rest of my
      time. So much of my energy had gone for so long into
      denying who I am, into hiding from who I am. I don’t
      think I realized just how much effort I’d put into
      that until some of the weight of grief and loss
      started to lift. It took a long time, but I came to
      feel like what we did – what we tried to do – it was a
      mistake.” I looked at her. Her face was turned away
      still, but I could see a tear on her cheek. I stopped
      talking, but she gestured to me to continue. “An
      honest mistake, a sincere mistake, a loving mistake.”
      I remembered describing my relationship with Jean to
      Logan, using almost those exact words. “But still a

      And now she was looking at me, tears in her eyes. “I
      believed you could do it,” she said.
      “I believed you could do anything.”

      And then I let her in. The mental shields I’d kept in
      place since she came back – first under Phoenix
      control, then as herself – came down and I let Jean
      into my brain for the first time since Alkali Lake. I
      let her feel all my sadness at hurting her, but all my
      resolve to be myself – my own queer self – as well.

      She smiled a bit through the tears. “You really did
      try,” she said. “I know it. I guess there are some
      things that even you can’t control.”

      “Can we be friends again?” I asked.

      She shook her head. “Maybe someday. I’m not ready
      for that yet.” She started crying again as she got up
      and left the garden.


      Jean and Logan went to the zoo the next day. Between
      interviewing the staff and Jean surreptitiously
      examining some of them telepathically, we found out a
      lot. There was no doubt that the gorilla Magneto had
      taken was a mutant. Mutant animals were rare, but had
      been identified a few times – always primates. The
      X-gene on this gorilla seemed to just be beginning to
      activate. It wasn’t clear yet what its powers were,
      but it seemed to be something that frightened the
      other gorillas. None of the other animals would go
      near it. The veterinary and zookeeper staff were
      being very cautious. None of them had touched the
      animal without protective gloves. But the baby
      gorilla had touched one of the attendants on the face
      while he’d been feeding it. They found him
      unconscious on the floor.

      “None of his colleagues had seen it happen,” Jean told
      us at a team meeting after she and Logan got back.
      “Their working hypothesis is that the animal has
      super-human strength. Or super-gorilla strength, I
      suppose,” she’d added, to chuckles from all assembled.
      “But he doesn’t remember being hit by the gorilla.”

      “And there’s not a mark on him,” Logan had added. “He
      doesn’t look like a guy who’d been in a fight with a
      gorilla, even a baby one.

      “Rogue’s powers.” I was the one who said it but the
      whole team had come to the same conclusion.

      Charles added, “And we know what Erik used Rogue for
      before – to power his mutagenic machine. Could he be
      trying to build a new one?”

      “Maybe,” I’d replied. “Maybe he figured out what was
      faulty about it, why it killed Senator Kelly. Maybe
      he’s ready to try again, that he’s perfected it so it
      doesn’t kill the mutants it makes.”

      “Or maybe he doesn’t care if it kills them,” was
      Logan’s contribution.

      I paused. “We should tell Northstar and Pyro, let
      them know what they’re looking for.”

      But we couldn’t. Jean-Paul had contacted us a few
      times, with brief messages saying that their attempts
      to find Magneto and the Brotherhood hadn’t borne
      fruit. And then once, the day before Jean and Logan
      had gone to the zoo, saying that they thought they’d
      found him. He’d warned then that he might not be able
      to contact us for a while, but I’d hoped we’d hear
      from him.

      Days stretched into a couple of weeks, though, without
      any contact. If Magneto was planning a new assault on
      the non-mutant population, trying to use that mutant
      gorilla to power his device, we didn’t know where he
      was planning to launch it from or how. I hoped
      Jean-Paul and Johnny had successfully infiltrated and
      were gaining the intelligence we didn’t have, but the
      longer we heard nothing from them the more worried I
      was. “Should we activate the homing device?” I asked
      Charles, two weeks after the last contact we’d had.

      “Not yet,” he answered. “I’m worried, too, Scott,”
      he’d added, “but I don’t know if using it would
      endanger Jean-Paul. He can activate it himself if he
      needs us. If we do, there’s a good chance Magneto
      will realize what’s going on.”

      Jean pulled me aside after the meeting, but it wasn’t
      to talk about Jean-Paul. I didn’t know what she
      wanted but I was just glad that Jean seemed to want to
      spend time with me. So when she asked if I were free
      to go for a walk after dinner, I said “yes”
      immediately and then cleared my schedule to make it

      Things had been better lately. I do think talking to
      her that time in the garden had helped, even if it
      felt like it was just making things worse right when
      it happened. I hadn’t seen much of her since that
      day, but when I did she didn’t seem unhappy in my
      presence. In fact, she seemed much more engaged both
      with me and with the rest of the team, more involved
      with the others. I’d see her on the grounds or at
      meals, with Logan or Storm, speaking animatedly and
      much more like her old self. Although still not back
      to combat duty, Jean was very actively participating
      in team meetings and using her knowledge, skill, and
      mutant powers in our efforts to find and thwart

      Jean was pleasant to me in meetings, engaged in
      conversations that included me at meals, and generally
      seemed to be treating me like a colleague, and maybe a
      friend. But this was the first time she sought me out
      to speak privately since that day in the garden. It
      gave me some hope that we could begin healing the rift
      between us.

      We strode around the grounds a bit, just talking about
      school and team business. “I’m going to teach summer
      term,” she said. “Hank wants to just work on his
      research and I figure – with half the school going
      home for the holidays – it’s a good way to ease back

      “It’s a great idea,” I replied. “There are plenty of
      courses in the fall to keep both you and Hank busy.
      If you decide you want to keep teaching, that is.”

      “I do. I’m sure I do. I want to get back to normal,
      back to work. I’ve spoken to Brad Langer in Yonkers
      about going back to the clinic, too. And I’ll be
      ready to be back on the team soon, too – completely –
      including combat missions. I’m sure of it.”

      “I don’t want to rush you.”

      “I know. You’ve been great. It’s helped – I’ve felt
      like everyone has really been so understanding. It’s
      made a difference. I’ve felt welcomed, wanted, but
      not pushed. They’ve all followed your lead, Scott.”

      “I know how hard this has all been for you.” Looking
      at her expression, I added, “Well, I guess not really.
      I don’t suppose any of us can. But I appreciate that
      it has been extremely traumatic. I want to help. I
      don’t want to make things worse.”

      “I know. I mean it – you’ve been great. And I really
      do want us to, well, to be friends again. I thought
      we should talk a bit, clear the air. I know I wasn’t
      so receptive to it when you tried, but I’ve been
      thinking about what you said a lot. I want us to try
      to find a way to kind of move on, you know?”

      I nodded. “I appreciate that. Really.” Neither of
      us said anything for a minute. “Jean,” I said,
      finally. “I didn’t want to hurt you. But I did; I
      know that. I want to take responsibility for it, do
      what I can. But... well, I didn’t know how not to
      hurt you, if that makes any sense.”

      She nodded. “Yeah, it makes sense. Look, I’ve
      thought a lot about it, about what we were trying to
      do. Some of the time I’ve felt really mad, felt like
      you were just using me to play straight, like I was
      just your beard. That’s the term, right?”

      I nodded. “It wasn’t like that, really. I’m not
      saying that that wasn’t part of it – wanting to be
      respectable, acceptable, living a straight life. But
      a whole lot of it was loving you. You have to believe

      “I do. I don’t think I ever really doubted it. It’s
      just – well, realizing it was over and thinking you’re
      probably going on to some happy life with some guy and
      I’m just on my own... I got a little bitter
      sometimes. But I’m over that, I think. I know what
      we had was something real – not just a sham so you
      could look straight. We shared so much, had so much
      going for us. Love, respect, common experiences.
      Shared purpose and vision. It was easy to lose sight
      of why it couldn’t work.” I started to speak, but she
      continued. “And if your motives were mixed, well so
      were mine. I’d been hurt too many times by guys who
      didn’t really care about me. You – you were my
      friend. I knew you cared; I knew you’d take care of
      me. I may have been the safe choice for you, but you
      were the safe choice for me. We both should have
      known better than to play it safe.”

      I laughed. “Hey, maybe we just needed to have some
      safe zone in our lives, what with Charles sending us
      out to almost get killed all the time.”

      She laughed, too. It felt good – sitting, talking,
      laughing together. I said so.

      “Me, too,” she said. “When all’s said and done; when
      it’s all over – well, all the stuff we liked about
      each other is still there, isn’t it? We were friends
      long before we were lovers. I want to be your friend
      again, Scott.”

      “Nothing would make me happier.”

      And I felt happy. Relaxed, comfortable with her.
      Until she asked me, “Are you... well, involved with

      I shook my head. “No, not really. I was, or at least
      I thought we were going to be... whatever. It didn’t
      work out, I guess. At least that’s how it looks

      “I’m sorry, Scott.” She hesitated, as if not sure
      whether to say more. “I think I know a little of what
      went on. Not everything, but I know who it was. I
      saw you together sometimes. Plus, I read his mind, so
      I knew he was interested in you.” I was surprised to
      hear this – I know Charles had taught Logan how to use
      mental shields, and my impression had been that he was
      careful not to allow telepaths in his mind without his

      Jean continued. “I didn’t mean to – he broadcasts
      something awful when he’s around you. Someone should
      teach him about mental shields.”

      “Jean, I don’t know what to – ”

      “It’s okay. You don’t have to talk to me about it.
      And no, Jean-Paul hasn’t said anything, either. Just
      blushed when I asked him – right before he left with
      Johnny.” She looked down. “I’m sorry it didn’t work
      out. And now, with him off on a mission, well... I
      hope you didn’t part badly.”

      “Jean – “

      “No, I mean it. I know, he and I always kind of
      clashed, but that doesn’t mean I wish him ill. And I
      want you to be happy. So, if it’s what you want,
      being with him...”

      “It’s not. You’ve got it all wrong.”

      “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have brought him up.” I
      didn’t know what to say. She continued before I had a
      chance to figure that out and answer. “I’ve been
      seeing someone myself.”

      “Great!” I said, perhaps a little too heartily. “I’m
      glad to hear it. I had no idea.”

      “Well, it’s kind of new. And I’m trying to keep a low
      profile. You know how this place can be such a fish
      bowl. But I didn’t want you finding out from someone

      “I appreciate that. Umm, is it serious?”

      She paused in thought. “I don’t know. No, not yet.
      It’s too early to say it is. But I kind of hope it
      will be. He’s... different. Special. But maybe not
      cut out for a serious relationship. Still, maybe he
      could, if he really wanted to. I just know I love
      being with him.” She touched my arm and looked right
      at me. “Don’t tell anyone, please. Don’t even let
      him know that you know.”

      “He’s someone I know.”

      “Yes. Logan.”

      Mofic Website: http://mo.fandomnation.com/fic/

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