Title/Part: PRS 7: Stain of Time
Series: Perfect Ring of Scars
Author: Shana Nolan
Genre: angst!! (J,L,S,R)
Rating: strong R (implied sexual sitches, language, violence, drug usage)
Archive: the usual suspects, and others will ask first
Summary: to quote a line from a later part: "the year from hell"
Disclaimers: Fox and Marvel Entertainment Group have the X-Men and their
movie. Stan Lee, I worship at your feet. I don't own anyone and I don't
intend to sell this. no money, no sue, no powers. but my CB handle was
Phoenix (great, date yourself, why don't you).
Comments: are welcome. Flames, however, are only accepted from a mutant
named Pyro and even he knows better.
PRS: Stain of Time
"i wear my crown of shit on my liar's chair, full of broken thoughts i
cannot repair, beneath the stain of time the feeling disappears"
The idea that moving on and letting go is easy was probably the worst
concept, in retrospect, for her to take any faith in.
It was a concept that could have killed her had she such inclinations.
She had no idea what she had left behind when she departed New York in the
pre-dawn hours, nor could she let herself care anymore.
So running, something she was becoming all too good at, was what she did.
When she finally stopped in Toronto, she thought she was free.
Hope truly clings to thin threads.
Saint Michael's was a good hospital. She had been there for a year, and
being in need for something to keep her occupied, she had offered herself to
the ER, selling the last vestiges of her sanity for a twelve hour night
shift that left her so tired every morning that she could sleep through a
A year. It was lifetime to her on certain days, and other times the day she
left felt like it was the previous week. For a year now, when people called
her, they asked for Cath, not Jean. She went by Catherine Grey, a thirty
something American doctor that came up to the biggest city in Canada to seek
For a year she had played human, not even telling Nigel, a human man she had
dared to let near her heart after so much scarring, that she was a mutant.
It was a matter of practicality. Whereas she had once stood in front of the
US Senate and openly opposed the mutant registration acts, she now kept to
herself, reserving her opinions for her daily news that came on before she
went on shift.
And, like they often did, the politico were once more up in arms over the
whole issue. Lassman, the city's mayor, had gone entirely right wing,
trying to declare Toronto as a future mutant-free metropolis.
Her words for that news story were less than kind, the threat of government
sanctioned prejudice a very bad omen.
So she hid who and what she was. At work she was considered a mutant
sympathiser, doing her best to help the individuals that came into the ER
needing help and instead receiving prejudice. She couldn't do as much as
she could back in New York, using her skills and the resources of Xavier's
school to try and better the world, but it was something.
But there would be a time when she would be exposed. It was inevitable.
One day, either at work or out in public, something would happen and she
would be in a situation where the only other option besides using her mutant
power would be someone, maybe even her, dying.
And she wasn't going to let that happen, given the option.
So she played human. After a while, she could almost forget what she was,
living among so many Homo Sapiens, interacting, playing the charade for as
long as she could. Not even the treatment of mutants at the hospital
brought out her former kinship with mutantkind from the Westchester days.
But every time the lunatic mayor and his cronies went on about their 21st
century Utopian City and the persecution of an entire race with an
evolutionary gene, she felt her blood boil and the self-erected walls around
her mental gifts shudder.
Then, like a bright light, there was Nigel. A little older than her, he had
walked into Saint Michael's five months ago, managing to somehow pick her
shift, presenting her with his shattered wrist and bruised rib to fix
despite the fact that she was usually shoved with the more difficult
patients and kids.
Nigel claimed that it was fate. That he was meant to meet her. Initially,
she disagreed, picking up on the quickly warming mood of a man she had just
given narcotics to, but over time...
His company was far better than any empty apartment. And despite the fact
that she hadn't told him about her gifts, she was finally beginning to feel
like she could maybe, eventually, tell the truth.
That was before the day from hell changed everything.
The riot in Queen's Park was being covered live on the news when the
pounding on her door woke her up. Curled up under the covers in the
darkened bedroom, her sleep dreamless and deep, the incessant knocking
finally invaded her mind.
And considering it was only four in the afternoon, her alarm set to go off
at five, she initially had no intention of getting up. It was a month away
from the first snow, and the temperature was dropping fast. A warm bed was
higher up on her priorities than the Jehovah Witnesses that had taken to
soliciting her the last few weeks.
"Cath! Wake up, it's only an hour you're losing!"
With a groan Jean rolled onto her other side and tried to ignore the female
voice at her door. Lisa, her next door neighbour, had become a good friend
since she and her new husband Ben had moved in. The blonde woman knew
Jean's schedule better than she did, dragging the redhead out for dinner or
a movie when she could in an attempt to socialise the other.
It was a noble attempt, considering.
"You can owe me one, okay? Just get up!!"
Throwing off the covers and grabbing her robe, she sighed, stalking across
the apartment floor and opening the door with a quick unlatching of bolts
and turns of locks.
"Turn on the TV, there's some kind of riot in Queen's Park."
The doctor inside her stirred, but not before she wandered over to turn on
the coffeepot ahead of the timer. Caffeine was what kept her going after
all those nights, and she made no effort to hide it. "What kind?"
"It's a pro-mutie thing. Guess someone finally noticed that Lassman is
trying to be the next Mussolini with all this removal crap."
Certain words still affected her. No matter how many times she heard
someone say it, especially if it was a human, she absolutely detested the
word "mutie." Many, like Lisa, didn't mean it as an insult, but for one
trying to live behind a mask of normalcy, it hit all the wrong buttons.
"Yeah." By that time Lisa had sat down on the beige couch, turning up the
television's volume so it could be heard in the kitchen. "Coupla people
were sent to your hospital for injuries, guess some guy with blue skin got
the shit kicked out of him."
"And... shit. Maybe you better see this, too."
The coffee cup in her hand was still empty when she wandered out into her
own living room, leaning over the couch to watch what the blonde was
pointing out. In brutal living colour, a set of upstarts outside the throng
of chanting people had erected a large dummy lashed to a pole; at the moment
they were taking gasoline and barbeque lighters to it.
On the dummy's chest, scrawled in ragged red letters, was the word "mutant."
The anger that Charles Xavier had so long ago taught her to funnel into
other uses rose up in her like a fire. "Bastards. They're killing their own
families over being a little different than the rest of us."
Lisa, though 100% human, gave a sympathetic nod.
She really had no idea.
"I'm going call work and see if they need me to come in early."
"You better call Nigel and cancel breakfast then."
"You owe me one for waking me up. How 'bout you call him for me?"
The sigh was audible all the way in the bedroom.
...with a serious Logan fetish
"Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."
The Princess Bride