FIC: "Brotherly Love: Introductions" PG-13 (3/4)
- See part one for disclaimer, etc...
"Alex? Are you all settled in?" Alex Summers looked up from the brochure he had been reading at Jean's gently phrased question. The brochure for Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters was wrinkled and creased. The color of the mansion photograph was worn by the numerous times that he had run his fingers over it.
"Yeah, pretty much. I don't think we've met, Ms..."
"Grey, Jean Grey." She entered to shake his extended hand. A fleeting thought escaped his mind, and she subdued a smile. *I don't see why Scott dislikes him. These two are more alike than I think either of them wants to admit.* The reaction Alex had was not uncommon; though by no means vain, Jean was aware of how physically appealing she could be.
"Nice to meet you, Ms. Grey." For no reason she could identify, she did not jump to tell him to call her Jean. It seemed...inappropriate, especially given her lover's dislike for the man. "I suppose you already know who I am." Jean nodded.
"The Professor informed us that you are Scott's brother. I must confess, I had no idea he even had any siblings." Alex's laugh was sad and mirthless.
"Not surprising. Scotty and I...we haven't really been close since he...since his...um...since..."
"Since his powers first manifested? Scott has told me about that unfortunate incidence more than once. I feel lucky that my own gift is much more easily concealed." Alex blinked, staring blankly at her.
"And what is your gift, Ms. Grey?"
"I'm a telekinetic and a telepath." Alex nodded as if he were unimpressed. The sudden suspicions that he projected suggested otherwise. *He thinks I'll read his mind every time I talk to him...and worse.* She immediately knew she had to reassure him that such would not be the case. "I am not as experienced as Professor Xavier, but I'm learning. I think you'll do wonderfully here. This school has helped me tremendously."
"I don't think I'm welcome here." Jean averted her eyes. Yes, she knew all too well just how much one X-Man in particular wished him gone. A thundering rumble from the clouds outside told her that Ororo, too, was still upset. She tried to cover for them.
"Nonsense. The Professor is most eager to help all mutants learn to control their gifts. He is concerned about how late yours developed, however, that's all. As for the others...most are curious about new members here. Nothing more."
"Tell that to my brother."
"Why don't you talk to him?"
"Because I don't think he'd like that. And I...I don't think I could face him." Jean bent down to be level with his line of sight as she telekinetically forced him to look at her.
"I can't tell you...please...it's too...I'm too..." Jean stretched out with her telepathic power to lift the word that he could not say. It was at the tip of his tongue, which made pilfering it that much easier.
"Ashamed? Embarrassed?" Alex nodded. "Why? What is it that you've done? Or that Scott has?" Alex sighed and shook his head. So far, he was no more helpful than Scott had been.
"Ms. Grey, I'm sorry, but I can't..."
"Would you at least allow me to look?" His brow wrinkled and his nose turned up slightly; he did not understand the question nor did he entirely trust her intent. "I could scan your memory to see what happened. I don't think it would do any of us any good to bury this. It will only hurt everyone more, Alex." The younger Summers brother nodded.
"The Professor already...looked, I guess is the word. He said that Scott would be all right. He was wrong." Jean frowned. The Professor was by no means infallible, as she had bluntly pointed out to him just this afternoon, but for him to so misjudge his favorite student was alarming. Alex kicked at the carpet and refused to meet her gaze. He wanted nothing more to change the subject.
"So, have you been here long?" It sounded nearly like a pick-up line, but Jean understood it to be merely a fumbling effort to divert her attention away from the troubles between Alex and his brother.
"I was the second student invited here," she paused and then tactfully added, "after Scott, of course."
"Of course." Alex was radiating doom; he knew that she would not relent, not give up on this bone. "So, you know him pretty well, huh?"
"Scott? You could say that." Jean smiled despite her attempt to remain neutral. How hard it was to say she merely _knew_ him! The depths to which their souls intertwined defied description. She managed to keep from laughing outright only by remembering that Alex had no idea of the seriousness of their relationship.
"Is he still...upset with me?" Jean did not need to even ask her love for that answer.
"Yes, but he won't tell me _why_." The sorrow in her tone must have wakened some recognition in Alex. He searched her face, looking for some betraying emotion to seep through. Though she tried to hold herself impassive, Jean had never mastered her lover's stoicism.
"You and he...you're..." Alex looked shocked and worried at the same time; she heard him wondering if that was not her ulterior motive for coming. "You two are..." Jean's lips twitched into a caring smile as she nodded.
*Yes, Alex, we _are_.*
"Jeez, if I had known that there were gals like you here, I might have come sooner." Jean's brow dipped angrily. The compliment had not angered her. It was something else she could not identify.
"You could have come anyway...to see Scott." Alex sighed, dropping his head an inch more. It took a moment for her to realize that he was close to tears. *What is this hidden thing between them? It's so painful to them both.* Her hand patted his. When he managed to compose himself, he looked up at her.
Jean was startled when instead of speaking, Alex opened his mind to her in an invitation for her to enter. Focusing and concentrating to the point of precision, Jean inhaled deeply and began to read the memory text in Alex Summers' mind...
Noontime that day...
"Ororo? Logan? What have you to say?" Jean crossed her arms and waited. She could determine only little from either of their minds and nothing at all from the Professor. *What's the point of giving them information about Alex if _I_ can't know what's wrong with him and Scott?* Xavier sensed her frustration and reached out to soothe her mind.
[[ Jean, what I tell Logan and Ororo is not personal to them, and look at how they react. I will not subject you to the knowledge since you are so much closer to Scott. ]]
[[ Forgive me, sir, but bullshit. ]] Jean snapped off her link to the Professor. She did as he asked, however; she examined her colleagues. Logan's brow was so furrowed with unmitigated fury that every last one of his bestial qualities stood out in clear relief. She shuddered in terror; if Logan, who could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be called Scott's close friend, was this upset...
Ororo was a mask of calm. The skies outside betrayed and belied her august demeanor. A loud clap of thunder rang out, and streaks of lightening streaked across the blackening sky. Briefly, Jean wondered if Ororo had experienced something similar when she had manifested her powers. *If not, then this is doubly bad.*
"Ororo, please, control." The Professor sounded so relaxed that Jean had trouble believing he was real.
"I am sorry, Professor, but I, too, knew such hatred, such fear when my powers surfaced. It is..._very_ personal for me."
"Then maybe you should speak to Scott, Ororo."
"_I_ should speak to him, _sir_. I think he has a right to know that you are revealing intimate secrets about his past without his knowledge or his consent." Jean's eyes narrowed as she issued her threat.
"Jean, we need to know what the problem is in order to fix it." Charles sighed. Logan growled, the tips of his claws itching to poke through his skin.
"Maybe old fearless is right. This guy's no better than that Kelly feller," Logan's sneer deepened as he spoke. Jean blanched somewhat; she had had to face off against that particular bigot in the Senate. It was not an experience that she relished repeating, no matter how necessary.
"Changing attitudes is essential to our goal of coexistence, Logan. We must work out Alex's demons and his own insecurities in order to help him." Charles hid how much the memory had pained him from his students, as did he bury the suspicions he harbored that Alex was still concealing something. Working with those who challenged you to avoid sinking to their level...that was the heart of his dream of peace.
"Then why can't I know about Alex's behavior?" Jean was insistent.
"Jean, please, don't push me on this subject. I only ask that you try and make him feel welcome."
"Don't you think I can do that while knowing the truth as well? Don't you have any faith in me, sir?" Jean was pouting and she knew it. Logan placed a hand on her arm, but she shrugged it off.
"What!?! Are you going to tell me to listen and sit out on this one, too, Logan?" The Canadian nodded.
"Yup. I've only seen some of what's there, and I feel like I been slimed. Look at 'Ro." Jean saw a single tear on Ororo's chocolate cheek. "She's been there, I can smell it. Me? I've seen enough to know I think I like Slim better for it, and that should tell ya something."
Yes, it did tell her something; it said everything. When she had asked Logan earlier, after Scott left to talk to Charles, why he and Scott were getting along, Logan had been candid in his answer. To Logan, Scott proved he was not a dick by acting like the commander he was trained to be: responsible, quick thinking, and not too stubborn or proud to let others take the lead when he could not. If Logan was considering giving Scott _more_ respect, then Alex's memories proved that Scott had endured enough to meet Logan's requirements for such respect. *Or pity, maybe.*
"Why can't I see, too?" Jean felt close to tears.
"Ya can, Red. You just have to get it from the source if you wanna know that badly. You have to make decisions as a few types of people, girlfriend, teacher, doctor, and whatnot, so you're harder to inform, right Chuck?" Xavier nodded grimly.
"Logan is right, Jean. This is more personal for you." He waved at them to indicate dismissal. *He must be more distracted than I thought.* Usually, Charles sent them out with an almost chipper farewell.
Logan grabbed her arm just outside the Professor's study.
"It's in a bad way between those two, Jeannie. There's something more that the bald guy ain't even telling us." Jean sighed.
"I feared as much."
"What are you going to do?" Logan's question was one that she had resolved in her mind. *Too bad it's the only one I know how to answer.*
"I'm going to go to the source."
To Be Concluded in Part 4...