X-Men fan fiction
Chapter 1: Mayday
Chapter 2: Sunset Home
Chapter 3: Sunset Home, part II: Exam
Chapter4: Sleeping Rough
Chapter 5: The Bogarts
Chapter6: The Bogarts, part II: Glasses
Chapter 7: Xavier
Chapter 8: New Students
Chapter 9: Eve of Grey
Chapter 10: Grey Christmas
Chapter 11: Dilemma
Chapter 12: Confrontation
Chapter 13: Jack O'Diamonds
Chapter 14: Escape
“Come, take a walk with me, Scott,” Professor Xavier invited.
They found themselves in the last days of a blistering New York summer. Scott had had the mansion mostly to himself for the last month while the house and grounds had been busy with final preparations for this fall and the start of the school term.
The professor and Hank McCoy had also been busy, but most of their time was spent in the mansion’s lower levels. Scott had spent a great deal of time there, in Hank’s company, while Hank had been studying his optic blasts, but after Scott had recovered his sight he had gotten the impression that the lower levels were normally meant to be off-limits to students. And while there had been more than enough for him to see and do between the mansion and its expansive grounds, Scott couldn’t deny harboring more recent curiosity for the professor and Hank’s ongoing project in the lower levels.
“Where are we going?” Scott asked conversationally.
“I want you to meet the first of your peers, and your remaining instructor. They should be arriving shortly.”
Scott walked out onto the massive garden patio that expanded in every direction from the mansion’s rear entrance, and he stood there at Xavier’s side. He had expected that they would be meeting a car, or perhaps even a helicopter, he realized when it became apparent that the professor’s interest was in the sky above them.
“I was starting to wonder if I was going to be the only student here,” Scott offered lightly after a few moments of silent waiting.
Xavier smiled. “I will admit, the recruiting process has been a bit more challenging than I initially expected. I was able to use my telepathy to locate you, along with the aid of a device Hank has helped me to develop. While that prototype proved successful, we found it not nearly powerful enough to meet our long-term needs.”
“So that’s what you’ve been working on in the lower levels.”
“Precisely. It’s a machine, called Cerebro, that amplifies my telepathic abilities. I hope that it will allow me to locate mutants across great distances. Today should give us our first indication of its ability to do just that.”
“So then, if Cerebro works, you can recruit enough mutants to fill the school?”
“That is my hope, Scott, eventually, but for now I think it best to start with smaller numbers.” He turned to smile at Scott, who was watching him, wondering if that decision might reflect reservations on the professor’s part. “Quality over quantity,” he clarified. Scott grinned.
“Who’s the instructor we’re waiting on?” he asked next.
“Warren Worthington III. He’s a young man, not many years older than yourself. Warren has been as great an asset to me in handling the practicalities of establishing this school as Hank has been. And, like Hank, he expressed an interest in taking on a teaching position.”
“In addition to recruiting,” Scott kidded.
“I asked if he would mind collecting Miss Munroe. I think you’ll find him better suited to that task than myself.”
Scott gave a puzzled look. The professor certainly hadn’t been prevented from finding Scott, and Scott could still see or hear no evidence that anyone was about to join them.
“Ah,” Xavier murmured, pleased, “here they are now.”
Scott followed his gaze, and blinked in disbelief. If the arrival of two people dropping down from the sky wasn’t awe-inspiring enough, Scott had never seen the like of this particular pair.
Warren dropped lightly to the ground and folded his massive wings against his back, leaving only a gossamer sheen to surround him when the sun caught him in silhouette. He looked exactly like an angel fallen to earth, and it was hard not to stare in wonder at the sight. To call him handsome would have been an understatement; the only fitting description Scott could think of was a Greek god come to life. His chiseled features were strong and masculine, yet beautiful enough be an artist’s creation, complete with shoulder length blonde hair that managed to fall in delicate curls despite being unceremoniously pushed back from his face.
If the man was classically beautiful, then the girl standing next to him was his match in exotic beauty. She was tall and slender, with amazingly burnished ebony skin and delicate facial features. Her singular beauty was only further exaggerated by a mane of bright white hair, reaching nearly to her waist, and electric, sky-blue eyes. She looked around herself as though everything here was foreign and unexpected, but she held herself with unmatched grace and dignity as the professor approached the two of them.
It is a great pleasure to have you here, Ororo. I’m Professor Charles Xavier.” We met once before, many years ago, but I won’t be offended if you don’t remember the occasion.
She offered no more than a surprised expression when Xavier touched her mind, communicating with her privately and directly, then reminding her of a long-forgotten memory.
Next he turned his attention to Warren. “Warren,” the two men shook hands, “thank you for making the trip. I hope it wasn’t too taxing.”
“Not at all,” he answered pleasantly. “But you were right about her location, all but inaccessible, except by air.”
Xavier nodded. “Hank will be pleased to learn the final adjustments to Cerbro have paid off so successfully.” He backed up a bit, returning to Scott’s side. “I’d like you both to meet Scott Summers. He will be joining Ororo as one of our students.”
Warren shook Scott’s hand. “Welcome, Scott.” Then he glanced toward Xavier. “It’s beginning to feel like we’re finally getting somewhere with this place.”
Xavier laughed. “Wait until you see what Hank has accomplished in your absence.” The two men started inside before Xavier paused and returned his attention to his newest student. “Please, join us indoors, and make yourself at home.”
The girl took a deep breath and looked around the patio, her gaze lingering over its decorative pools, lush flowers, and the tall trees that surrounded it.
“I– would prefer to remain outside for a moment.”
Xavier nodded agreeably. “Very well. Perhaps Scott can keep you company.”
Scott nodded at the prompt. From his perspective, Xavier was simply acting as a solicitous host, and Scott had no problem helping out to that end. He was more than agreeable to learning more about his future classmate. But since Scott had never had a friend his own age, that aspect of Xavier’s intentions went right over Scott’s head.
He followed in her path as Ororo Munroe slowly walked around the patio’s perimeter, studying everything around them, and Scott felt almost as though he was in the presence of royalty, something beautiful and mysterious. He was fascinated by her equanimity, the stately manner with which she carried herself, but there was nothing haughty or pompous in that; it was simply her way. Ororo took her time, seemingly soaking in the garden’s atmosphere, before she seated herself on a bench in the shade and stared graciously up at the trees over her head.
“Where did you come here from?” Scott finally asked as he sat down beside her.
“Kenya is my home,” she answered quietly. Her voice was as graceful and dignified as her manner, and beautifully accented. Yet her answer indicated that she felt completely out of place here. It was a feeling Scott understood. But there was also a longing in her voice for the home she had left behind.
“What made you decide to leave?” he asked.
She smiled unexpectedly. “Options become somewhat more limited when you’ve ceased to be a goddess and become a mere mortal.”
“And were you born a goddess?” Scott questioned, hiding a mischievous smile.
“No. Before that I was the best pickpocket in Cairo.”
Scott grinned. She was as proud of being a thief as a goddess, uncompromising in her identity, and Scott liked her immediately.
“If I had had to survive as a pickpocket, I’d never have made it,” he confessed with a shake of his head. “I was never any good at picking pockets.”
She fixed him with sidelong glance that was both measuring and amused. “No. You’re a charmer. I can tell that. A pickpocket must remain virtually invisible, and a charmer is quite the opposite of a pickpocket.”
Scott’s grin widened as Ororo watched him appreciatively. Both of them knew they would get along well.
“And, aside from being an expert pickpocket, what is it you do that drew Professor Xavier’s attention?” Scott asked next.
Ororo closed her eyes, seemingly concentrating for a couple of seconds. Scott didn’t really know what to expect when a light breeze blew through the trees overhead. The clear sky above them coalesced into a light mist. There wasn’t quite enough moisture in the air for raindrops to form, but as Ororo opened her eyes again the sun was creating a rainbow through the mist.
Scott watched in amazement. “Now I understand the part about being a goddess.”
She had looked serenely happy while she had been at work, but her expression darkened significantly at Scott’s words. The rainbow mist dissipated back into the summer heat.
“A goddess deposed.” Her eyes flashed with anger. “When I was able to help them, they worshiped me. But when I could not control it– if not for Professor Xavier’s intervention, they would have destroyed me.”
Scott swallowed hard. “But what you did just now was incredible. At least you have the capacity for something truly worthwhile. I can only create destruction.” He motioned toward the glasses he wore. “Without them, I would demolish anything that I look at. As long as my eyes are open,” he gave a shrug, “it’s physically beyond my control to stop it. All I can do is shut my eyes.”
She watched him curiously. “There must be a way.”
“In addition to the glasses, Hank was able to fashion a visor for me.” Scott shrugged again, looking down. “So, artificially, I do have a means of controlling it. But it’s still a destructive force,” he concluded heavily. “I’m not ungrateful, believe me,” Scott quickly amended his musings. “I know that if Professor Xavier hadn’t stepped in to help me... well, I wouldn’t have any kind of a life right now.” He fell silent long enough to take a deep breath. “I guess I don’t quite know why he brought me here,” Scott admitted, “unless it was simply to protect me from myself.”
“He must have great faith in you.”
Scott tilted his head, puzzled by her statement.
“If he was concerned only with your protection, he could have stopped with just the glasses. Instead he offered you the freedom to decide for yourself how best to use your own power.”
Scott nodded. He’d never thought of it in that way, but she was exactly right.
“He offered me the same freedom,” Ororo explained a moment later. “That is why I chose to leave behind everything that I know and come here, so I may learn to be something more.”
Ororo had a couple of days to settle in before the school term was scheduled to start, and she spent the majority of that time out of doors, feeling far more at home among the grounds than she did within the confines of the mansion. At the moment she was walking barefoot through the orchard, where she had spent the better part of the afternoon perched in the branches of an apple tree.
Professor Xavier had expected that the transition would be challenging for her; culture shock didn’t quite begin to cover such a drastic and complete change in lifestyle and environment... but he was certain that she would adjust to her new surrounding given a little time. And he was pleased that Ororo and Scott had quickly become friends. Their backgrounds were very similar, as were their personalities. Both were strong-willed and determined individuals who had seen more than their shares of hardships. Given those characteristics, both would embrace the opportunities offered them with fierce strength and tenacity.
Xavier waited for Ororo to return to the mansion, then asked her to join him when he went out to the front drive to meet his third student. A car had just pulled up to the mansion’s entrance. One of Charles’ oldest friends emerged from the driver’s side and came to greet him.
“Charles, it’s good to see you again.”
Xavier warmly shook hands with Dr. John Grey. “It was good of you to bring Jean. I would have been glad to send someone for her.”
“We wouldn’t hear of it. We both wanted to see this school of yours, and Elaine wanted to see that Jean was settled in alright. We’ve already sent Sarah off for her first year of college,” he added more quietly. “I don’t think Elaine’s quite as ready to let go of her youngest daughter.”
“I’m certainly not,” Elaine agreed pointedly, but she smiled at Charles none-the-less. They also had been friends since their college days.
“I’ll take good care of her, Elaine,” he reassured her. “Right, Jean?”
Jean emerged from the fray lugging a suitcase. She nodded, and fixed her attention curiously on Ororo, prompting Xavier to introduce the two girls.
Scott stood watching from just inside the mansion’s entrance. The professor had contacted him mentally and asked that he be here; that part wasn’t so unusual. Scott had gotten used to telepathy as a form of communication, and the professor had assured Scott that any telepathy he employed would involve no more than straight-forward communication. He would respect Scott’s privacy and independence, and Scott had long since accepted that Charles Xavier was a man of his word.
When he had first come here, Scott had already been well-practiced at listening to the world around him, but Xavier had made a habit of touching his mind lightly whenever he had approached Scott, something akin to letting Scott see him coming. Scott had found that gesture a welcome a relief; it had been a great strain on him, constantly trying to detect what was going on around him without the use of his eyesight, having to maintain that level of vigilance all the time, and Xavier had likely sensed that in Scott.
But even after Scott regained his eyesight, the habit stuck. Xavier had apologized initially, and he had clearly been surprised when Scott admitted that he didn’t mind. Scott was still very self-contained; that was what he had been used to for most of his life, and letting others in was something that would take time for him, require the building of deeper trust.... For that reason, it was surprising to the both of them that Scott actually welcomed the closer connection between himself and the professor. But, from Scott’s perspective, Xavier had earned that level of trust and more. Xavier was more to Scott than a wise teacher or even the most generous of benefactors. He was a role model. He was someone Scott admired to the point where Scott wanted to be more like him. And that was an entirely new and unexpected circumstance for Scott.
At the moment Scott stood frozen at the mansion’s entrance, and he couldn’t quite explain the reason for his hesitation. At first, maybe it had been the strangeness of normalcy in watching the Grey family’s arrival, but at the moment Jean Grey had his full attention.
She was certainly beautiful... tall and slim, and undeniably feminine. Her long, wavy hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Its vibrant shades of red were perfectly offset by fair skin and vividly bright hazel green eyes. Her girlish face was slightly rounded, exaggerating her dimples when she smiled, and Scott had a hard time taking his eyes away from her. He wanted to take in every detail... and at the same time, she seemed so familiar to him, like he already knew her... even though he was certain the two of them had not met before.
“Scott,” Professor Xavier called him over. “I’d like you to meet John and Elaine Grey, and Jean.”
Scott shook hands with the adults, polite and charming to a fault, but when Jean looked at him he could hardly breathe and couldn’t begin to speak. Jean, likewise, seemed unable to do much but stare back at Scott.
Professor Xavier sensed the connection, unlike anything he had seen before or could have expected to see... and he had to confess himself intrigued by the unexpected pairing. He didn’t know what the future would hold for these two, but it was clear that there was something of great significance drawing Scott and Jean together.
“Well, I think the luggage can wait. Now that we’re all introduced, please allow me to show you the Institute.”
Jean and her parents went on ahead while Scott and Ororo followed behind the professor.
Scott took a deep breath, trying to clear his head. He couldn’t explain what had just happened. He thought that Jean was the most amazingly beautiful girl he had ever seen in his life, but it went far beyond that... and he couldn’t understand why just standing there with her had affected him the way it had. He had never wanted to look away from her, and yet he had been utterly terrified to speak to her, and almost to keep looking at her.
Maybe it was because he felt so intensely attracted to her, like a moth to a flame....
If Scott had learned anything in the past three months, it was the enormous risk he presented to anyone who got too close to him. And he didn’t want to put anyone else in danger. The solution to that dilemma seemed a painfully simple one. He would have to keep his distance, not let the people in his life get close enough to be hurt by him.
About an hour later the indoor portion of the tour had been completed.
“I think Scott and Ororo can continue without me from here,” Xavier decided. “They probably know the grounds better than I do by now.”
“You lot go on ahead,” John offered. He and Elaine wanted some time to speak privately with Charles more than they wanted to tour the grounds.
The three young people didn’t linger very long. Jean and Ororo went out the door side by side, already in deep and enthusiastic discussion. Scott turned to give Xavier a nod before he followed along in their wake, hanging back from the others but watching everything around him alertly, just as he had done throughout most of the tour.
“They seem like good kids,” Elaine offered.
“Yes,” Charles agreed. “I think that they are, all three of them.”
“Very unique glasses,” John noted of Scott.
“Kids express themselves in the strangest ways,” Elaine decided good-naturedly.
“In Scott’s case,” the professor explained, “it’s more function than fashion. Scott came to us about a month ago, unable to control a very powerful mutation which enables him to emit blasts of pure concussive force from his eyes.”
“Then you’ll help him to control it, like you helped Jean,” Elaine assumed.
“Scott’s case is quite different from Jean’s. He doesn’t possess the type of mental abilities that Jean does, and unfortunately he has sustained damage to the area of his brain that would normally allow him to control his ability. Otherwise he’s a normal and very bright young man,” Xavier assured them, “but Scott will have to wear glasses constantly, and probably for the rest of his life, in order to control his optic blasts.”
“This, blast, is like a laser beam?” John asked.
“Similar in appearance, perhaps, but not a combustive source of energy. It is a purely physical force which simply pushes through anything in its path, with enough raw power to punch a hole through a mountain.”
Both John and Elaine were briefly taken aback.
“And Ororo?” John asked.
A month ago she was being worshiped as a child goddess in Kenya because she was able to bring rain to the crops. Hers is a rather unique mutation which gives her the ability to affect all forms of weather. More recently her abilities were becoming a danger to her, given the still erratic nature of her control over them. She was unable stop the floods that came in answer to a drought, causing her to come under considerable hostility from the same people she was trying to help. Luckily, Warren was able to get to her and to bring her here.”
Dr. Grey took a deep breath. They had already met the other instructors, Hank McCoy and Warren Worthington III. “Then everyone here is–”
Charles Xavier nodded. “A mutant, yes. All possessing special gifts, which need to be controlled and used safely, just like Jean.
John nodded warily. Charles had told them all of this several months ago, when he had first approached them with the proposal that Jean enroll in his school for gifted youngsters. He had laid out the entire story then, how Jean, like himself, was a mutant capable of telepathy, and Jean was also capable of telekinesis.
Charles had also confided to them that when he had first “helped” Jean, as a child, what he had actually done was find a way to delay the premature onset of her mutant abilities until Jean’s mind was mature enough to handle them. Over the past few years those abilities had begun to steadily reemerge, a development which had greatly distressed Jean. Charles had been working with her sporadically, but he now believed that bringing her here was the next logical step. He had convinced John and Elaine that, with her enrollment in his school, Xavier could better guide Jean through this transition, help her learn to control her powers and live a normal life.
“What about their parents?” Elaine asked of Scott and Ororo.
“I’m afraid both Scott and Ororo were orphaned early in life. Scott survived a plane crash which killed his parents and younger brother; that’s also how he sustained his head injury. Ororo’s father was a journalist working in Egypt when she and her parents were caught up in the hostilities that he was covering there. They were killed when an errant missile struck near a civilian neighborhood. Ororo survived a catastrophic building collapse.”
“Do they at least have family?” Elaine questioned hopefully.
“Ororo was raised by a foster father, a kindly street merchant who watched over the band of homeless children who were like family to Ororo throughout most of her childhood. Scott spent a portion of his childhood in an orphanage following his parents’ death. Each of them later learned to survive on their own as teenagers when those circumstances changed. I don’t believe I exaggerate when I say that this school is likely the most safe and stable long-term situation that either of them have been fortunate enough to experience.”
John and Elaine both fell silent, saddened.
“I strongly believe that such difficult experiences grant us the opportunity to find strengths and resources in ourselves that we might otherwise never find; this certainly has been true in my own experience,” he added. “But in the case of mutants, it is often in the midst of these extreme difficulties and stresses that they first come into their powers... first realize the truth our existence. With the guidance and education we can offer those special young people here, nearly limitless possibilities can be revealed for them.” The professor paused, and then smiled warmly. “But perhaps most importantly, this place offers them the simple luxury of understanding and acceptance, without condition.”
So Let it Be Written Publishing © 2004