Pairing: Ultimate Scott/Warren
Archive: Eiluned, as always. Anyone else, please ask first.
Author's Note: Eek! MORE bad words! Events in Ultimate X-Men certainly won't go this way, but hey, that's why its fanfic.
Follows in sequence: "Ultimate Choice", "Ultimate Flight", "Ultimate Designs", "Ultimate Denial" and "Ultimate Tasks". 7/25/01
New Improved Disclaimer: Characters belong to Marvel Comics. This story is not sanctioned by them. Nobody makes any money here, so your over-priced and bored lawyers should just consider this free advertising. However, I might actually convince someone (besides me) to buy an issue of your silly marketing ploy thinly disguised as a new title. . . even if it's just so they can make SURE none of this happens.
Scott Summers woke in a brief panic, disoriented because he found himself in his own room, sprawled across his own bed. Even though he clearly remembered lying down to sleep in the medlab under the Professor's telepathic influence. He sat up with a jerk, bracing himself back on his hands as he tried to slow his racing heart.
Someone, obviously, had carried him up here. He looked down at himself. And stripped all his clothes off, though he usually slept in shorts. They'd also put his sleep goggles on him. Outrage warred with embarrassment.
He hated to be vulnerable around others. And sleep was the most vulnerable time of all.
A flash of motion seen out of the corner of his eye sent him twisting in bed, rising to a knee, foot braced to leap, to dodge. His hand rose to his sleep goggles, ready to lift and blast if necessary, quick fear pounding in his veins.
"Do it," came a cold voice. "Can you? Would you?"
"Christ!" he said, voice shaky. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"Watching you sleep, if you can believe it," Warren Worthington said from his place in the window seat, his wings folded tightly against his back and barely visible in the shadows. He stared at Scott, his eyes strangely flat. "You don't even snore."
Scott forced himself to relax, to lower his hand. And then to casually, so very casually, slip back under the sheets. Half naked was better than all naked. He never seemed to hold any advantage long around the other man.
"What are you doing in my room?" he asked again through gritted teeth. Warren ignored him, leaning forward to look at him more closely.
"Cyclops. Everybody trusts Cyclops. Even after you rabbited off to Magneto - they might be mad as hell at you, but they still trust you. They all still look to you. They lean shamelessly on you. Why is that do you think, Scott?"
"What's this about, Worthington?" he asked sharply. The other man flinched back, brows lowering as he frowned at him. He shifted, seemingly ill at ease, crossing his arms tightly over his chest and staring down at the floor.
"I've been having . . . strange dreams," Warren said, the mockery fallen away he now seemed almost hesitant. "Yesterday, since Jean and I came back from London, is all hazy. I seem to remember some very . . . disturbing. . . things, about the new girl . . . and about you." He looked around the room, vaguely uneasy, with pale shadows apparent under his blue eyes. His gaze landed finally on Scott again.
Scott stiffened, carefully schooling his features to neutrality as he mentally swore a blue streak. For some reason, Warren was still recalling original parts of the altered memories. Dragging them up in sleep and apparently worrying at them like a sore tooth. Something would have to be done to get him past it, to give the implanted memory changes time to settle as the Professor had said. He took a deep breath.
"Do you trust me too?" he asked abruptly. Warren's gaze snapped up to his, visible, he knew as a soft glow behind the wider lenses of his sleeping goggles. Warren stared at him for a long while, searching his features, silent, his face pinched and strained.
"Yes. I trust you." The words came stark and clipped, the expression that accompanied them strangely guarded. So hard to say, it seemed, yet said anyway. Then why should they give him such a lift inside?
"Then let it go, Warren," he said firmly, deliberately using the other man's first name. Warren blinked at him in surprise, struggling to gather himself it seemed.
"You do know my name," he said with a short bark of pained laughter, looking away briefly. Then he sighed deeply. "You know what happened, don't you?"
He almost held his breath, mind racing, rapidly weighing the possible repercussions of an admission either way, but Warren continued before he could come to a decision.
"If you know, and if you believe I should let it go, I think I might be able to," he said quietly. Scott felt the burden of the other man's trust slam into his conscience. How could he make this decision for him again? Should he? But he'd been witness to the frantic anguish, the tearing guilt and the self-loathing. All because they'd tried to help another mutant, a woman in pain who happened to be a telepath. He stiffened his resolve.
"I know, Warren. It's for the best," he said. A haunted gaze searched his neutral expression.
"It is bad then," the winged man said, voice hushed. "I suspected."
"Just let it go," Scott repeated. Warren slowly closed his eyes, his face still, then finally he nodded once, jerkily. Taking a deep breath, he opened his eyes again and surged to his feet. Walking over to Scott's dresser, he yanked open the top drawer and pulled out a pair of underwear. Then he lobbed the wadded up fabric over his shoulder toward the bed where Scott was able to catch it easily.
"Better get dressed," Warren said, shutting the drawer slowly and with exaggerated care. He turned around just as Scott finished tugging the underwear on over his hips, a dull flush on his face. An amused smile, small yet, crossed Warren's lips. "Oh, I looked my fill when you were sleeping, pretty boy. There's no sense being shy now."
"Fuck off," Scott said, sliding quickly out of bed, but the words lacked their usual sting. A golden brow rose and a single wing extended toward him, giving him a gentle push toward the bathroom.
"Go get human again, fearless leader," Warren said, amusement in his tone. Scott dodged away, slipping into the bathroom and closing the door behind him with a firm click.
In a near eerie repeat of events a few days ago, Warren was gone when he emerged from the bathroom, leaving only a single white feather gleaming on the carpet. He picked it up, staring at it for a long moment before carefully placing it in the nightstand drawer beside the other one. Showered and shaved, he felt almost normal again. Refreshed. Even though it was nearly evening again. His schedule was all fouled up. He had just finished dressing, slipping on his regular-wear ruby quartz glasses, when the telepathic call came.
//Scott?! Oh, good, you're up! Get down to the medlab right away, I need you here.// Jean's mental voice was distracted and anxious, but not frantic, so he didn't run. But he did walk quickly. The hall outside the medlab was crowded with the rest of the team, except for Jean and Warren and the Professor.
"Hey, Cyke! What's the story with this woman?" Hank asked, catching at his shoulder.
He shook off the other man's big hand, then paused and looked around at the anxious faces. They knew something was up, from the Professor's and his unusual actions the prior night.
"Don't know yet," he said, choosing his words carefully. "But she's a telepath who has some emotional issues, so the Professor had to block her powers temporarily. She became distressed on the flight over, but she should be better now."
"Warren and Jean both looked like crap this morning," Bobby said anxiously. Peter put an arm around his shoulders, squeezing him reassuringly. "She really whaled on them on the ride over, I guess. Is she, like, dangerous?"
He looked at them all: Hank standing in his usual crouched fashion, eyes thoughtful behind his rectangular glasses; Bobby looking worried; Peter stoic; and Ororo leaning against the far wall, arms crossed over her chest, a carefully aloof look on her face. Looking to him for reassurance.
"We're all dangerous in our own way," he said seriously. "We just need to help her get used to her new powers. And to living in a new country. Everyone okay with that?"
Each of them nodded agreement, one way or another, and looked slightly more relaxed.
"You all probably have better things to do than hang around out here. . ." he said, as he turned and keyed the medlab door open.
Piercing feminine screams rang out, previously blocked by the soundproofed door. He whirled and raced inside, unable to spare any more thought for the team's morale. The door closed automatically behind him.
Over in the bed, Betsy Braddock was writhing wildly, her lavender hair tangled, her face contorted with fear. Jean stood a short distance away, clearly concentrating on holding her on the bed telekinetically so she didn't harm herself. At least all the intravenous lines had been removed - or maybe she'd yanked them out. But he didn't see any blood. The Professor, unfortunately, was nowhere to be seen.
"What happened?" he demanded between terrified shrieks from the bed. Jean just shook her head, biting at her sore lip, concentration narrowing her brows, //She woke up quietly enough, then started yelling about someone named Jamie. The Professor doesn't want me messing around in her head so I can't find out who he is or why she's screaming. Besides, she's got shields like you wouldn't believe.//
"Oh hell," Scott muttered under his breath, then cautiously moved to the woman's bedside. Wincing with each ragged scream. She was tiring, it sounded like, but who knew how long she could keep it up. He looked down into lavender eyes wide and glassy with terror.
"Hey, Betsy, calm down. It's okay, nobody's going to hurt you here," he said, lowering his voice to make it as soothing as possible. Her next scream transmuted into a kind of whimpering cry and her eyes blinked, struggling to focus. She turned her head toward him.
"Brian?" she called, voice rasping.
"No, I'm Scott, Betsy, I was here with you last night," he said, then belatedly remembered the Professor's advice. But that had been when the Professor needed to get her to drop her shields. He didn't want to promote that misunderstanding without cause. The sooner she adjusted to them, the better. Her thrashing motions stilled and she blinked harder. Then suddenly those shimmering eyes locked onto him.
"You're Scott," she breathed, staring, searching his face. "I remember you. Red eyes. Fire eyes. You held me before Brian came." She lifted a pale hand from the bed toward him. He reached out and took her hand, cradling it gently.
"Uh, yes," he said, not feeling it necessary to correct her misapprehension about her brother. Her hand strained in his hold, so he took a step closer, seating himself beside her on the bed. She lunged up as soon as he did so and wrapped her arms around his chest. Her lavender head burrowed against his neck. He cautiously closed his arms around her in return, feeling faintly surprised and embarrassed by the intensity of her reaction.
"Oh, you were so kind, so patient, so strong. Thank you," she breathed into his skin. A shudder raced through her body. He lowered his head over hers, laying his cheek against her hair, trying to reassure her with contact. It seemed to be the right thing to do. She snuggled closer, slender arms holding him tightly.
//Well, well, well,// Jean said in his head, acidly. He tried not to stiffen. //Looks like the little English miss has found her knight in shining armor. Whoa, Scott, must have been some night last night, sorry I missed it.//
//Did you call the Professor?// he shot back, ignoring her pissy attitude. He heard her shuffle her feet behind him, then snort in disgust.
//He has an important meeting right now, he'll get back to us as soon as he can. He suggested I get you down here. To help calm her down. Looks like he was right.//
//Maybe you should leave us alone for a little while,// he sent, feeling fine tremors race through the woman in his arms. //Let me try to talk to her.//
//Okaaay,// Jean sent. //You're the boss-man.// Then he heard her light footsteps retreat and the door slip open. Heard also the brief burst of questions focused on Jean from the team still gathered outside. Silence fell again as the door slid closed.
"There are other people out there," she said quietly. He wondered if that would set her off again into panic, but she just held on to him tighter.
"Yes, other mutants, like us. This is a school for mutants," he answered just as quietly.
"Mutant. Like your fire eyes."
"Not fire," he said, willing to talk about the little things as long as she wanted. "They emit force, kind of a hard pressure."
"Yes, that's it. That's what I saw," she said with a kind of wondering curiosity. "So strange. Until Ja. . . until the voices in my head started I'd hardly paid any attention to mutants."
"What about your hair?" he asked, stroking a tangled lock of it tentatively.
"It's just hair. As long as it looks pretty, people don't care," she said, then breathed in on a quick sob. "Pretty and quiet and good, that's all people want from a girl anyway. . ." Her voice rose slightly on the last and he started to become concerned, shifting his arms around her and making soft shushing noises. She burrowed even closer to him, finding some strange solace in grasping his upper arm.
"It's okay, Betsy," he said softly, even rocking her back and forth slightly. It seemed like the right thing to do. He'd been lucky so far and he knew it. But he could only go with what he felt would work. What he'd once wished someone could do for him.
"You're so strong, like Brian," she said, her voice a breathy quaver. "So much muscle and your arms are so hard. He's always so busy. He just couldn't be there all the time. But you can protect me, can't you?"
"I can protect you, Betsy," he agreed with a slight shiver. She sounded so childlike and frightened suddenly. "You're safe here."
"Yes, safe here on the other side of the ocean," she said, her voice choked and thin, rising in anguish. "Away, away, flown out of reach." Then she turned her face against his shoulder again and began to cry. Great gasping sobs that shook her slender body. Nothing gentle or elegant about them at all. Just an ugly outpouring of pain and suffering. He held her, not knowing what else to do, until his shoulder was damp with her tears and he figured she'd pressed bruises in the shape of her fingertips into his arm with the way she was squeezing it. But he didn't shift her away or even protest, he simply held her, rocking her gently back and forth until the tears eventually slowed and finally, finally faded away.
It took a while for her to become completely quiet again. His stomach rumbled with hunger but he ignored it. He had even felt the Professor brush a soft inquiry across his mind at one point, but he warned him firmly away, feeling that she needed this purge more than any mind manipulation right then.
Finally she pulled away from him, wiping at her face self-consciously. Her eyes were red and swollen, her nose bright red as well, damp streaks on her face. But she was still a very beautiful woman. He gave her a tentative smile. To his pleased relief, she returned it.
"You've been so nice," she said softly, her gaze searching his face around his glasses. She reached up a faintly trembling hand and brushed it across his cheek. "Scott. You are a kind man."
He didn't know what to say that wouldn't sound conceited or arrogant, so he stayed silent, the smile still on his face. He just made it a little wider. Then his stomach rumbled again, and, to their mutual surprised amusement, hers replied.
"Hungry?" he asked with a grin. She frowned slightly, then nodded and looked down at herself. She plucked at the thin, light blue flower-patterned hospital gown she wore in dismay.
"Oh, yes, but do I have to stay in here? I'd like to get up and walk around," she said.
"Let me find out," he said, then fell silent as he darted a mental query to that effect to the Professor.
//I see no reason for her not to join us upstairs, Scott, if you think she can endure it. She was not badly injured, but she may be sore. That may prompt questions. Are you prepared to field those?//
//Yes,// he thought back firmly. //We'll be out in a few minutes. Can you ask everyone to clear out of the hall and come into the dining room one at a time? It may be easier for her to meet them that way rather than all at once.//
//Excellent suggestion, Scott. I will leave this in your hands for now then.//
He returned his attention to Betsy to find her staring at him with open curiosity and a trace of concern.
"What's the matter? You went so still," she said. He smiled as he slid off the bed.
"Professor Xavier is a telepath too," he said. "As students here, he established links with us that allow us to communicate with him as we need to."
"Oh," her violet eyes darkened slightly. "I remember that. He talked to me in my head. Promised me a haven here."
"And it is," he said, feeling slightly guilty. She'd have to work for this haven, just like the rest of them. But not until she was capable. He would see to that personally.
"Come on," he said, holding out a hand to her. She slid off the bed, taking his hand trustingly. First Warren, now this fragile woman. What was it about him that inspired trust in others? He filed the question away for later consideration, as he had other things to worry about right then.
"How'd you like to wash and then change into your own clothes?" he asked her. "Your suitcase is around here somewhere and there's a shower in the back of the medlab." A delighted smile broke out on her face transforming her from simply beautiful to stunning. And this was with her face still blotchy from crying.
He tamped down his reactions firmly. He would not scare her. He would not pressure her inappropriately. No way. She trusted him and he could handle this. Really.
"I would adore a shower," Betsy said breathlessly, a radiant smile on her face. "And real clothes!"
So he led her to the back, finding her suitcase stashed near the wall along the way. After helping her into the bathroom he walked out and sat on the edge of one of the medical beds and waited for her to emerge like a butterfly from its cocoon.
I. Choice by paxnirvana
II. Flight by paxnirvana
III. Designs by paxnirvana
IV. Denial by paxnirvana
V. Tasks by paxnirvana
VI. Mercy by paxnirvana
VII. Thoughts by paxnirvana
VIII. Hope by paxnirvana
IX. Need by paxnirvana
X. Resolve by paxnirvana
XI. Requiem by paxnirvana
XII. Tolerance is a Six Letter Word by paxnirvana
XIII. the Place Beneath by paxnirvana
XIV. the Visionary Hand by paxnirvana