Fic: Perfect Ring of Scars 8: Smashed
- double feature tonight (ulterior motive: RL time deadlines). enjoy, and no,
it's not any happier. in fact, one of my fave scenes is in this one. :)
Title/Part: PRS 8: Smashed
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.
"smashed up what I believed in, smashed up what's left of me, smashed up my
everything, smashed up all that was true, gonna smash myself"
In the creation of the soul, the capacity to be a martyr has been ingrained
from the start. As history marched forward and brought the advent of
machinery that could do man's work for him, it removed some of the elements
that would make him willing to die for something outside a selfish cause,
and the soul suffered.
But in the mind of Jean Grey, who knew herself all too well in the recent
past, machinery could only make her complexes worse. She needed to feel the
burden of doing everything herself to be whole again.
Or at least that was what she thought.
By the time she had gotten off shift that night, she had successfully
started herself down a path of destruction. Going in early and leaving a
few hours after her shift's technical end-- because the chief of staff
ordered her to-- she had wore herself to the bone and managed to not eat.
Despite the fact that she had changed two times at the hospital, she still
managed to crawl back to her apartments with traces of other's blood on her,
her gifted senses throbbing in agony over the continual tide of pain, fear
and misery that she had been surrounded by. It was all too much and she was
taking it without protest, as if she was expected to suffer, to endure for
the sake of others.
As if she was the martyr in the tale.
The riot was a harsh trial for all involved. For the ones that were brought
to the ERs, theirs were the wounds to tend, the brutality rained down upon
them because they were different. The doctors, "Cath" and others, had to
heal these victims, telling them to hold on so they could fight for the
lives of an endless sea of strangers, knowing them by their injuries, and
not their names, or where they grew up.
And then there were the rescuers. They needed no names or background, and
when they came, they ended the public fight dealing with morals, ethics and
And started a new fight solely based on the personal with a single knock on
Telepathy could never be mistaken as a gift when the person didn't truly
In her dreams she saw the faces of the mutant youth she had treated for
injuries, their eyes wide and pleading for her help. They needed her,
needed her talents, needed her experience in how to live in the human world,
her sympathy and guidance.
And her connections, no matter how much she tried to deny them.
The knock on the door was tentative at first, one of caution and pure
hesitation. They intended to talk to her after visiting Saint Michaels and
finding out that a Doctor Grey had been one of the doctors in the trauma
centre that night.
They could never be faulted for being unintelligent, not that there was
really any doubt whom they were chasing.
By the time they had knocked thrice, it had finally connected to her
exhausted body that someone was interrupting her sleep.
Her gifts were off as a protective measure. When she had gotten home, she
had showered and changed into something comfortable, fighting off the
migraine caused by all the psychic energies acting like a massive hammer
banging repeatedly on her brain.
But in order to silence the voices, she had sacrificed her ability to know
who was waiting on the other side of her door.
With her robe wrapped around her body, the sloppy braid barely holding her
hair, she opened the door, looked out to the party of people waiting for her
with palpable hesitation, and blinked.
The silence was enough. Time ceased for a second as Scott Summers, Remy
LeBeau, Ororo Munroe and Rogue observed the condition of their former
teammate, her green eyes heavy with exhaustion and irritation over their
sudden presence at her door.
And then courtesy returned to her. "Come on in."
Ororo, grateful for the secret correspondence that had been going on between
her and Jean, smiled a little and stepped in, knowing what to expect from
the life the doctor had set up for herself. Rogue, lingering nervously
next to the taller presence of Scott, waited for a sign that everything was
Remy strolled past the southern girl, nodding to their hostess with near
chivalry. "Nice place you have set up here, cherie."
Shrugging, taking in a quick glance and balancing out her impression of the
lean, young man with the way Ororo described him, Jean headed for her
From this point on, their visit apparently not a short one, she was likely
to get little sleep until she literally passed out, meaning one thing:
The last two in the hall seemed to linger, afraid to broach new territory.
Finally, as if something kicked him into action, Scott stepped in, smiled to
his other teammates and watched with rapt fascination as the woman he almost
married made an entirely mundane pot of coffee.
"We found out you were here through the hospital you work at. I thought we
might stop by and make sure you weren't harmed in the riot."
Her smile to him was cursory. Polite. Professional.
But his voice cut right through her like a knife. Scott was still Scott,
and even with a slight upward glance from the filter and measuring cup, she
could read the tension in his stance.
They were checking on her. Making sure, after all this time that she was
alive and well.
How quaint of them.
She couldn't fault her last true friend from the school, Ororo; she would
have gone on a mission and followed along for the sake of being a team.
Remy seemed like a good enough guy, and his natural charm was pleasant even
to her. Rogue was still learning; she was the student hero of the party,
But Scott... he should have known better. The mention of his name alone
could open fatal wounds in her given the right circumstance.
Or the very moment they were all trapped in.
Cool. Collected. You owe them nothing. "I'm fine, I just got to treat
fifty percent of the riot's victims. Being tired is only the start of how
"We woke you up, didn't we?"
She smiled at her only true ally in the room. Yes, Storm, the Weather
Goddess, would be the only one who actually realised that schedule.
"S'alright. Just means I'm working on 14 hours of sleep within a 72 hour
period. I'll live."
The silence descended again until she crossed into the main room, hot cup in
hand. Taking an obvious moment to size up the twenty year old girl standing
in a doorframe, she noticed that even a year had matured her more than last
time she had seen her.
Which was not to forget the deferential look she gave the red glasses clad
man. He was her leader. Her mentor. Her friend.
And something more possibly. Her eyes narrowed as she studied Rogue's brown
irises, half tempted to unshield her powers to see if the deeper thoughts
mirrored the inescapable surface ones. "Did you come because of the riot?"
Apparently the strongest voice in the room was Ororo. "Yes. With all the
recent anti-mutant sentiment here, the Professor was monitoring the
situation closely. We got here as soon as we could, but obviously couldn't
prevent any of the violence."
"Like the two mutants that died. One on the table and the other a few hours
after coming in."
Her voice must have been harsher than she thought it was, because the others
looked like they had been slapped. Well, it was a proper reaction. People
died. Ones that didn't ask or deserve it.
And she had to felt both of them slip away.
Why the hell had she cancelled breakfast with Nigel? She could use his
comforting, his laughter able to distract her from the nastiest of shifts.
"We shoulda gotten here sooner an' stopped them from killin'."
"How, chere? Lock up de salopards and hope dat rat mayor don't stir up his
"Something like that." Scorning the bottom of her coffee cup, Jean upped
her initial opinion of the Cajun. "It's been coming for a long time, I'm
just sorry it had to happen this way."
Scott's silence in the conversation bordered on monumental. It was almost
like he wasn't in the room, not that she, the outsider in the party now, was
making an effort to welcome him.
It was her home. Not theirs.
"There weren't any warning signs you ignored, were there, Jean?"
The way he said her name. Familiar, but challenging. They hadn't shared a
bed, much less a civil conversation in over a year, and here was the proof.
He was doubting her.
"And what could I do? Tell everyone here that I'm a mutant superhero come
to spy on their city?"
The words were said by Rogue, but they mirrored the glasses-marred
expression. Did they have any idea what she had done in order to be safe?
Did they have any concept of what she was now?
Anger bubbled up inside of her. "No, I couldn't. No one knows I'm a mutant
here, not even Nigel or my friends. I've been lying since day one to get a
job, a home and a little happiness in my life and you ask me whether or not
I can still traipse about in black leather trying to save the world?"
If shock had a physical tremor to it, it rumbled beneath her feet. Their
Jean didn't do this, didn't fight and get defensive over her own actions.
But their Jean was gone. Their Jean died the day she hopped on a plane and
fled the area like a whipped child.
"Forget it. I'm sorry to have wasted you time. It was good to see you
again Ororo, Rogue, and nice to meet you Remy, but it's time for you to go.
I need sleep and I have a life here. And as for you, Scott, next time you
want to wound me, do it without an audience. I was loyal to you, and you
drove me away. Don't ever expect me to come crawling back."
By the time they had left, her rant the last words said by any of them, she
closed the door, bolted it and crawled back into her bed, clothes and all.
And then she cried in the dark. It never ended. She could never be free of
what she was and what she had done.
That realisation hurt more than anything that had happened before.
Next: Ran Away (nearing the end here)
...with a serious Logan fetish
"Life isn't worth living. It's to be taken and beaten and wrestled and
formed in your own image. That's where the meaning lies. In what you can
twist life into. For those who just endure life, yeah, it is a very nasty
joke. But those who form it with their will, the joke is on those who get
in the way." Ares, X:WP