Pairing: Ultimate Scott/Warren
Archive: Anyone who has my Ultimate series can have this series too. Others, please ask.
Author’s Note: Rating for frank discussions of sexuality and use of bad language. *ooh, bad llama* Warren's turn to wig out a little. The dance continues. 10/14/01
Series: Angel’s Way - follows “The Place Beneath”
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.
The Visionary Hand
Ah, in this world, where every guiding thread
Ends suddenly in the one sure centre, death
The visionary hand of Might-have-been
Alone can fill Desire's cup to the brim
James Russell Lowell
Warren Worthington III stood alone in the upper hallway of the Xavier mansion, leaning against the railing and looking out through the tall windows into the garden below. The same hallway. The same garden. But instead of the Wolverine stalking and catching a teasing Jean Grey below, there were two women in the garden limned by the slowly fading evening light. Talking quietly. One with arms crossed defensively over her chest, wary. The other more relaxed, open, gesturing around the garden and the grounds as she spoke.
Ororo Monroe. Tall, dark, exotic. Everything that appealed to him in a woman. Voluptuous and knowing, and, apparently, damnably loyal. For she had no interest beyond flirtation. Her interest was firmly fixed on the broad, mostly affable, hippie-ish McCoy – he of the inexplicably blue hair.
Perhaps there was some kind of extreme pigmentation aspect of the x-factor gene he’d been previously unaware of, he mused as he stared out the window into the garden. He crossed his arms over his chest. There was Ororo with her white, McCoy with his blue, and then the other woman in the garden below.
With her famous pale lavender tresses. Lavender that he could see flashes of dampened to violet by fearful sweat. Tangled and entwined around her throat. Stuffed into her mouth to stifle her screams as he pounded and pounded relentlessly into her body. . . he gritted his teeth and blew his breath out in a short puff, the sound low and tormented, as he forced the memory away.
He didn’t remember all of it. Just those occasional flashes. Blessed oblivion denied all because of his own foolish stubbornness. But not his fault, Scott had reassured him. No, not his fault, perhaps, but still his actions. He had done it because she took over his mind, forced him to. But he had still committed the acts, been the one to hurt her.
He was capable of it. So very capable of cruelty. But he already knew that. He’d raped before. With no handy excuse for that one, just from sheer arrogance.
That memory wasn’t dulled, bore none of the trappings of nightmare, except in content. It remained as sharp and cutting as the day it had occurred. Because he’d raped Scott in this very hallway. Forced him to submit, to pleasure him again as he’d dreamed of for so long. Because he had somehow felt it his due.
His wings moved, furling and unfurling against his back in small waves, an automatic reaction to his agitated mental state. But not a human reaction; a mutant reaction.
He looked down at the splint on his left hand, on the ring finger. And remembered the sharp agony that had exploded there when Scott’s elbow had slammed into his hand, given near-superhuman strength by his raw panic. He knew his bones were exceptionally tough, due to their unique structure. It took a lot to break them. It had taken a seven-story fall to break one of his bones before.
This had only taken the fear of rape. A very human reaction.
Reaching out, he stripped the protective splint away. Staring down at his bruised and still-swollen finger, he examined the red mark of the incision under the faint peeling of the bluish surgical glue they had used to seal the wound closed rather than use stitches. There would be no scarring, they had told him, if he kept the splint on and did not strain the wound. He flexed his hand defiantly, feeling the residual pain from the surgery only a few days before, then the sharp sudden pull as he tore part of the healing incision open. Blood welled sluggishly, but he ignored it. Maybe now it would scar. As a reminder. As his only real punishment.
He knew Scott avoided this hall. This was a back way through the mansion, a lesser-used passage. But still, at times, it would force him to make a choice, to take another path. The irony was not lost on him, nor the privacy.
He came here often now, since that night in the jet. A night that both relieved him and gnawed at him. Things said that he regretted, in ways, and longed for in others. Torn. Uncertain. Ashamed. And those were feelings that Warren Worthington the Third wasn't used to feeling. For years, there had been little that could affect him deeply enough. Until Scott.
Warren wanted to be near him all the time, to bask in his essence, to wrap him in his wings and protect him from harm. But he didn’t. He couldn’t. Not his prickly, infuriating, tempting Scott. Who was a leader and a fighter and firmly determined to take care of everyone and everything else. Except for himself.
And who also happened to be a man. A man he desired.
A man, not a woman.
He’d never done more than idly admire other men before Scott came into his life. Certainly had never lusted as he now did, nor felt compelled to act upon it. Women had held his full interest. Being with another man had been nothing more than a curiosity to him. A diversion, perhaps, if he became bored enough, jaded enough. As he had been in Soho. The first time. Even then it had been little more than a curiosity, a game. But something had shifted inside him when they met again at the fundraiser – for Scott, he was suddenly willing to be someone other than who he was accustomed to being.
They had come to a kind of tentative accord earlier today. With words and even with deeds. Scott was surprisingly sensual. He licked his lips as his mouth dried out at the memories. Of strong hands on his wings. Of the rare pleasure of catching his gaze through his glasses. Of finding the same desire he felt echoed there. Then heat and sweat and pleasure; over it all the heady taste and feel of Scott.
And Scott was in love with him. He didn’t know why, he didn’t know how, but he could feel it. In the subtle tenseness, the uncanny physical awareness they shared, the sometimes almost wordless connection. There was something breathtakingly rare and precious about capturing the affection, the desire of the man behind the formidable mantle of Cyclops.
Despite what they'd already done, it wasn’t something he was comfortable with yet. The idea that he desired another man, even loved another man. With Scott himself, somehow, immanently comfortable. But the world and it’s subtle stigma?
He wasn’t ready to be ‘outed’.
As mutant or as a. . . his mind shied away from the word. He clenched his hand, making the healing finger throb with pain. Blood ran slowly down his hand as he stared at the re-opened wound. Annoyed. Disgusted.
Bisexual, at the very least. Homosexual, at the worst. Because of Scott. Because of something about Scott that drew him, entangled him, ensnared him with a power that was beyond his experience. And it frightened him too; made him angry – made him cruel. Wanting the things he'd always had in the past with his women, yet unable to tolerate the imagined backlash of having them with a man.
To pamper him, to care for him, to shower him with gifts and delights and the benefits of his wealth.
To show him off, to touch him freely in public.
To kiss him whenever and wherever he wanted. He sucked in his breath at the very though, staring at the ribbon of blood already drying on his hand, tormented and panicked all at once.
Never, ever did Scott treat him differently in public. And he knew he never would. Privacy and restraint were bywords for Scott. Which strangely irritated him despite his own misgivings. His possessive, demonstrative nature, struggling against the unconventionality of their relationship. Mutants and vigilantes and men . . . and lovers. Lovers without, so far, sex as he understood it. . . but already far more than he was truly comfortable with.
He doubted that anyone - other than Jean or the Professor - knew, or even suspected yet. Jean would die before betraying Scott’s confidence. And the Professor? Something in Xavier’s icy blue gaze never failed to unsettle him. He moved in his own ways, Warren knew. And he suddenly flashed back to his second encounter with the Professor.
“You are a mutant, a physical mutant,” Xavier had said to him, glancing significantly at his wings. There, in his father’s remote retreat on the Maine coast, the Professor had come to recruit him, somehow knowing where to find him when no one else could. His father had hidden him there, whisked him away when the Sentinels came to the city. Sent him up there under guard. His only joy had come from being able to fly freely. The dour residents had seemed to take his appearance in stride, commenting only with quiet wonder and appreciation. Particularly after he had rescued some local fishermen from drowning when a sudden squall swamped their boat.
“You didn’t come all this way just to state the obvious, Professor Xavier,” he had replied coolly to the older man’s observation. “What do you want from me?” Xavier had steepled his fingers before his face, sitting there in his wheelchair, his icy blue eyes narrowing as he apparently re-assessed his approach.
“There is much work to be done to keep mutantkind from further, fatal persecution. Not everyone has your resources, your advantages,” he had said, looking around the remote location appraisingly. It might have been on the secluded Maine coast, and virtually his prison, but it was still a mansion in its own right. Filled with the latest amenities, devoid only of company.
“No, they don’t,” he had replied, striving to be unmoved. But he had seen the carnage on television, heard of the mutant casualties so blithely dismissed as unimportant. As if it were the extermination of vermin, rather than the deaths of individuals being reported on. Individuals whose only crime had been to be born. Like him. But they were still only numbers to him, not people. No one he knew. And the huge robots would not come for him. He was safe, protected. By his father's vast wealth.
Yet he had witnessed on television - along with the rest of the world - the Sentinel’s battle with a group of outlaw mutants in New York City. Seen the seemingly unstoppable robots fall at the hands of powerful mutants who dared to resist the purge. Even more surprisingly, to him, the black-clad group also went out of their way to preserve the lives of ordinary humans endangered by the very robots they had so mindlessly sanctioned.
He had casually noted the young man with brown hair directing the rebellious mutants. Then, suddenly, recognized him, despite the golden visor on his face rather than red glasses. And felt a mixture of possessive need and stark fear shoot through him.
From the fundraiser, he knew his name now. It was there where he had finally recognized the boy from Soho, older. Scott Summers. The beautiful boy who had inadvertently given him such pleasure. The player he had observed with weary disdain and no small amusement as he worked the art gallery, the scene for as long as he could. And quite possibly, he had thought then, only a jaded young rich boy like himself seeking out dangerous pleasures, taking scandalous risks, playing games. To stave off boredom, perhaps, or just for the thrill – the very same reasons Warren had indulged with him in the first place.
Only when it was far too late did he understand just how wrong his assumptions had been.
Scott lead a team of mutants called the X-Men. And fought Sentinels on the streets of New York City. Fought to save the life of one skinny mutant boy against apparently massive odds. And had somehow lead his strange team to victory.
Xavier had simply watched him as the memories rolled through him, undoubtedly, he now knew, scanning his thoughts. At the time, it had seemed almost like simple fate. Xavier had just understood.
“I have recruited others. You may have seen them on television? Scott is my team’s field leader. My most faithful student, and a powerful mutant in his own right.”
“Scott?” he tried for disinterest, but knew it was poorly done. He’d recorded the broadcasts, watched them over and over again. Felt his heart stutter with dread each time the gigantic robot picked the young man up in it’s massive hands. Waited breathlessly for the red blast that destroyed it’s control centers, then watched helplessly, wings twitching in instinctive response, as the black-clad form plummeted toward the ground. Only to see him slow somehow and land gracefully on the street before rushing back into action, apparently none the worse for the brush with death. He knew now that Jean had caught him telekinetically, the team protecting each other and working together to defeat the threat.
“I believe you met him at the fundraiser. The young man who attended with me, in the red glasses?” Xavier had said with casual aplomb, playing the game well. He knew Warren remembered him, had seen his flinch at the name. Xavier had apparently observed his fascination with, no, his attraction to Scott there. His sheer inability to keep his eyes off the other man for long once he recognized him. Even his empty-headed date for that evening had noticed his preoccupation, if not his exact focus. “Scott works closely with me at my school to advance the cause of mutant/human coexistence. We must act to preserve mutant lives, but never at the wanton risk of human lives. Our ultimate goal is to demonstrate to the average human that we can be a force for good, that we can coexist peacefully. I would like you to join my school. To help us work toward this goal.”
“Noble, but misguided. Humans will always fear what they don’t understand,” Warren had said, folding his arms over his chest. Remembering various reactions to the emergence of his wings. His mother’s quiet slip into drug-assisted madness, his grandmother's outrage, his father’s remote denial and driving need to conceal first his pampered son’s shortcomings, then his embarrassing mutation. But how, truly, had it been any different beforehand? The appearance of his wings had only exacerbated the negative aspects of his life. His one true shot at an independent life, at an achievement solely by his own merit and skill had been snatched away when his wings first erupted from the odd growths upon his back and prevented him from swimming again. From competing. Growths his long-time doctor had been unable – or unwilling – to explain, yet had seemed so very fascinated with.
“Yet the people of this coast seem to accept you,” Xavier had said then, expression relaxed, thoughtful. “They have even welcomed you, and far more quickly than they accept most outsiders.”
“They accept me because I have proven useful to them,” he had replied shortly, “and because I resemble a treasured myth.” Not beyond dramatics, he had then spread his wings wide, fanning them above, displaying their full, daunting breadth. Xavier’s angled brow had risen as he snapped his wings closed again, sending a stiff rush of wind through the room. Rustling papers, swirling curtains wildly.
“But you made the effort, you demonstrated how their lives could be enhanced by accepting the x-factor rather than fearing it.”
He had shaken his head slowly in refusal.
“I believe Scott would admire what you have done here,” the Professor had continued, watching him closely. Implying so much in that simple emphasis. Warren had stared into those icy blue eyes, seeing in them someone much like his father, and, in many ways like himself, even as his heart sped up, his body reacted. Xavier was someone who knew all the subtle ways to manipulate others, and who would use any advantage, exploit any weakness to achieve his goals. And right then, with his blood pumping hotly in his veins, he didn’t care.
“All right then,” he had said, still staring into Xavier’s eyes. “I’ll join.”
Then he had arrived in Westchester, eager, longing to find Scott waiting for him. Only to find him instead standing in this very hallway and watching passion unfold in the garden below. And he pined so obviously, yearned so desperately that it had enraged Warren. Had driven him to cruelty and rape to capture his attention, half expecting, even inviting the fatal red beams to end the torment of that strange, desperate moment. But Scott had just submitted.
And then Scott had left. Fled the mansion. And Xavier. And him. Taken the jet and joined Magneto in the Savage Land. With seeming disinterest in the loss of his team's leader, the Professor had taken the rest of the team to Washington D.C., to meet with and set the groundwork for the first mutant accords with the President after rescuing his daughter. While Warren remained behind, summoned by his own father to an acrimonious and ultimately futile meeting over his decision to join Xavier’s school. He was staying. His father did not approve, but would not protest as long as the Worthington name was kept clean.
Then Washington DC withered under the savage attack of Magneto and the re-programmed Sentinels. But the Professor, Wolverine and some said Magneto’s own son turned the tide. The Master of Magnetism fell. Destroyed. Freeing Scott to return.
Which he did. Aloof and wary and avoiding the others for a while as he tried to re-settle into the school. Xavier had taken the time, finally, to tell Warren a little of Scott’s past. How he was an orphan, a runaway forced to make his way on the streets from a young age. And he knew then, with a sinking in his heart, a guilty churning in his gut, just how badly he had hurt the other man.
Scott hadn’t been a bored thrill-seeker. He’d been a real whore. But for survival, not for kicks.
Simply being in Scott’s presence, however, stoked his anger, his guilty shame. He could have told him, Warren had rationalized, warned him so he wouldn’t make such a fool of himself. Then he’d seen the scars on his back. Thick and ugly and indicators of true pain endured, some nightmare survived. And he realized he knew nothing, nothing of the true Scott. Nothing of the real person inside. But he wanted to. He craved it, but Scott continually denied him. Until the trip to London.
There Warren shivered, lost in fragments of darkness, of compulsion, of horror. The sole bright spot, the nagging draw to remember had come from the feel of Scott’s mouth on his own, kissing him, his arms sliding around him of his own accord. Holding him. Giving of himself to someone in need. Giving comfort and forgiveness to the man who had raped him. . .
He was drawn from his thoughts suddenly by the sound of footsteps on the stairwell below. Footsteps that paused, then continued more slowly toward the landing.
“Warren?” came Scott’s voice, edged with a hint of concern. He stayed silent, staring out the window again. Looking to where Betsy and Ororo had settled onto a bench, the lavender-haired woman sobbing now on the taller woman’s shoulder in the deepening shadows of the garden. Ororo had her arms awkwardly around Betsy, patting her on the shoulder. Comfort from unlikely sources. He let a tiny cool smile touch his lips.
“Why is your splint down here?” Scott called up from below. He looked down, down into red glasses that forever cut him off from Scott’s eyes. Glasses that frequently left him guessing, grasping for any hint as to his real mood, his real feelings.
Warren didn’t answer him, just stared down at him. Then Scott was charging up the steps, whirling around the end of the railing to slide to a stop at his side. Splint in his hand, glaring at him. He could feel it even through the glasses.
"Christ, Warren! You're bleeding," Scott said, glancing urgently from his hand back to his face. Brows lowered in a stormy frown. "What the hell did you do?"
"I deserve the pain," he heard himself say, horrified by the self-pitying words but powerless to retract them now that they'd been said. Staring into Scott's glasses. Unable to glimpse his eyes because of the glare from the setting sun. Scott stiffened, mouth clamped in a tight line.
Then hard hands were on his shoulders, spinning him away from the railing, the windows. Back into the corridor. To the very place. He swallowed hard as Scott pushed him against the wall, his wings rustling as he leaned against them. They spread along the walls flat, when what he really wanted to do was to wrap them around the man in front of him, and what he should do was push him away. Scott's face was set and angry.
"Let it go, Warren," he said tightly, hands flexing on shoulders, pinning him.
He didn't reply, just let his eyes close, his hands fall loosely to his sides. Feeling the throb of dull pain in his broken finger.
"Stop punishing yourself," Scott said, a slight catch in his voice. "You're punishing me too."
His eyes flew open at that and he glared back. "No."
"Yes, damn it," Scott said, fiercely now. "I though we worked this out earlier – I forgave you, Warren. Don't make me do it over and over again."
Hard hands on his shoulder, a face pinched with angry concern. He knew Scott was right. Knew he had to find a way to let it go or it would all fall in on them. . .
"I can't get by it," Warren breathed. "I hurt you."
"Yes, damn it, and you'll probably hurt me again," Scott said, glaring again. Apparently he'd learned to read the subtle lines of his face around his glasses better than he thought. Scott was exasperated and annoyed, but not really mad. Not yet. It was far easier than when he wore the visor. "I'm a realist. We're two stubborn, thick-headed guys. It certainly isn't going to be wine and roses."
"Do you want wine and roses?"
"Fuck no," Scott spat in disgust, rolling his head back briefly before leveling his red-veiled gaze on him again. Then he ruefully shook his head. "Don't make me kick the shit out of you, Warren."
"Maybe you should," he said, remembering the boathouse and the strange relief he'd felt when Scott finally fought him. Scott's hand's flexed angrily on his shoulders.
"Don't you get it? I don't want to beat you up," Scott hissed, flushing slightly. "This afternoon was. . . shit. . . well, it was nice. Really nice. I liked it. I want to do it again. And if that isn't enough, I want to fuck you too, Worthington."
For an instant Warren felt dizzy. He closed his eyes again, head tipping back against the wall in reaction to both the bald statement and the stark need in Scott's voice. He shuddered, simultaneously aroused and alarmed.
"But I know you aren't ready for that yet," Scott continued, then he gave a shaky laugh. "Honestly, I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet either."
Scott released his shoulders and took a step back. Before he could stop himself, even before he really thought about it, his wings arced out and surrounded the other man. Scott stopped in the rustling circle. Not moving further, not fighting. Warren swallowed hard and opened his eyes again. To see Scott standing calmly inside the embrace of his wings. Neither panic nor concern on his face. He flexed his wings against the other man's back experimentally, prodding Scott forward a step. An eyebrow rose, but that was it. He wasn't afraid of him at all. Not even here, like this. Instead there was a look of patient disgust on his face.
"Shit," Warren said, feeling faintly foolish now. Hating that feeling, but knowing that Scott wouldn't beat him over the head with it. "You're a better man than I, Gunga Din."
He straightened away from the wall, moving toward Scott even as he pulled him all the way forward with his wings and into his arms. A tiny smile tugged at the corner of Scott's mouth. He stared at it from inches away. Hungry. Relieved.
"You're looking awfully damn smug, Cyclops," he said, gaze dancing between Scott's mouth and his glasses. Catching the soft red glow behind the lenses staring right back at him.
"Are you going to kiss or talk, Angel?"
The silence was broken only by a soft sigh and the rustling of wings.
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