Pairing: Ultimate Scott/Warren
Archive: Eiluned, as always. Anyone else, please ask first.
Author's Note: Warning: Conversations with Minisinoo can give your rabid plot bunnies fuel! [Thanks, Min!] More mucking about in Cyclop's head. Events in Ultimate X-Men probably won't go this way, but hey, that's why its fanfic.
Follows in the footsteps of "Ultimate Choice", then "Ultimate Flight". PWP can spawn other things sometimes. 7/23/01
Disclaimer: Just joyriding with Marvel's creations. They'll get home in one piece, probably.
Scott Summers sat silently on the steps in the rec room, back leaning against one of the huge windows that let in the afternoon sun, one arm dangling over a raised knee. He just watched as the rest of the team engaged in a spirited and impromptu video game competition. Many shouted accusations of cheating, cries of frustration and name-calling went back and forth, the din only growing louder as participants were eliminated. Until, to everyone's surprise it had come down to Bobby and Ororo. But then, it was Diddy Kong Racing. Ororo, apparently, couldn't resist cars of any kind, even virtual ones with silly cartoon characters driving them.
He would have been conspicuous in his brooding silence if anyone had bothered to look at him, but they were all engrossed in the action on the big screen. Even the jaded socialite Worthington. Who was firmly ensconced on the couch beside Jean, his arm lying casually along the couch behind her shoulders. The golden head would dip occasionally to share some observation with the girl beside him. This would prompt her to laugh, or just toss her head, roll her eyes and push at him with her open hand, a friendly, casual gesture. His white wings were draped neatly over the back of the couch, long feathers trailing across the carpet. Not half a dozen feet away from him.
Twenty-four hours ago, his personal world had fallen apart because of this man. And now the bastard was flirting with Jean.
It had taken an unknown amount of time, but eventually he'd crawled to his feet in the back bathroom of the boathouse. Shivering convulsively. Chilled and stiff from sitting naked on the tile floor so long. His head had ached like it had in the early days of his power manifesting: as if shards of glass had lodged themselves behind his eyes. Refusing to glance into the mirror, he'd climbed into the shower and turned it on hot, warming himself desperately. Even taking off his goggles to let the water beat directly on his face, his closed eyes, longing for any kind of relief from the pain. It eased him only slightly.
Once warm again, he'd dried himself thoroughly then wrapped himself in a big towel. Staring for a long while into the smeared, steamy mirror before gathering his courage to leave the bathroom.
But it had been anticlimactic. Worthington had been gone. Only a single white feather on the floor outside the bathroom door had given any evidence of the other man's recent presence, aside from the chaos remaining in his mind. After retrieving his long-dried clothes from the dryer, Scott had dressed and made his way slowly back to the mansion through the dark of evening. His right arm aching from the wrenching it had received when he pulled himself out of the Angel's grasp in mid-air. But he refused to favor it. The pain was a reminder to himself, a warning.
Upon reaching the mansion, he had received a curt telepathic summons from the Professor. Reluctantly standing before him in the library shortly thereafter, he had glared furiously at the man who had saved his life just a short eighteen months ago, arms folded over his chest.
"Why did you tell him?" he had demanded, feeling a little angry and a lot helpless. Wasn't anything privileged? Would everyone know soon? How could he lead them then?
"I told him little, Scott," Xavier had replied calmly, stroking his cat slowly, icy blue eyes lifting from their focus on the creature's battered ears to watch him shift restlessly from foot to foot. Little about human nature seemed to shock or surprise Xavier. "Only that you were an orphan, and forced to make your way alone on the streets for several years."
"He says he knew me, from before."
"I am aware of that," Xavier had replied calmly, before dropping his next bomb. "It was one reason he agreed to join us."
He had let his arms fall to his sides then, shocked and scared and infuriated. Xavier in his inscrutable wise man mode was sometimes terrifying. And since his own hasty departure for the Savage Land, he was wary of even his own thoughts around his mentor. What was still his own in there any more?
//Really, Scott, I thought I taught you better than that,// Xavier had then scolded him mentally. //I do have better things to do with my energies than peek into every mind around me. Unless they are shouting at me as you are. Control yourself. Warren is no threat. And as leader, it is your job to ensure he integrates with the team as soon as possible, do you understand?//
"Yes, sir," Scott had replied through clenched teeth. And then he had left. Stalked out, actually. And spent a restless night trying to sleep. His headache had finally eased with the use of several icepacks and large doses of aspirin.
His attention returned to the rec room abruptly when Bobby let out a whooping cry of triumph, leaping to his feet to pump his skinny arm in the air victoriously. On the screen, the character that Bobby had been controlling was circling the track, the words '1st Place' glowing over the image. Ororo tossed her controller aside in disgust, rising to her feet gracefully to shake her head at Bobby. Behind her, Hank threw himself back flat on the floor, groaning in dismay, a big hand plastered over his eyes.
"She lost! I can't believe it!" the blue-haired man groaned. "She had him on the last turn. . ."
"It was that super magnet Conker zapped me with that let you win, Drake, and don't you forget it," the tall white haired girl said, glaring down at the boy as he went into a strange kind of victory dance, shaking his skinny body around wildly and waving his clenched fists back and forth. "The game's rigged - the computer characters gang up on you!"
"The Iceman is the Ruler of Diddy Kong Racing! All challengers fall before my awesome skill!" Drake just screeched triumphantly. "Even the car goddess can't touch me! And Hank owes me a case of Dr. Pepper!"
Jean and Warren, their heads bent towards each other, looked over and laughed uproariously. Peter just leaned back on the other couch, shaking his head at Hank with smug amusement, arms crossed behind his dark head.
"Yeah, but he owes me a hundred bucks."
The words, even coming from Peter and not directed toward him, made Scott flinch and rise suddenly to his feet to leave, attracting Bobby's attention. The boy, always eager for validation, pointed both index fingers at Scott and crowed, "Did ya see that, fearless leader? I am invincible!"
Half the heads in the room swiveled around to stare at him in surprise. Their field leader didn't often hang around in the rec room with the lot of them and most of them hadn't realized he was there. Only Jean and the still-groaning Hank didn't look amazed. Feeling like a bug under a magnifying glass, Scott froze.
"Great job, Bobby," Scott managed to say, hoping his voice sounded half-way normal. Worthington's sardonic gaze scalded him.
"The mighty Cyclops deigns to join us," Ororo said harshly, crossing her arms over her chest and narrowing her eyes. As if he had somehow been responsible for her defeat at Drake's hands.
Taking refuge in what he knew best, he straightened his spine and thinned his lips, glancing around the room sternly. Well, they couldn't see his eyes, but the 'look' worked anyway. Most of them stiffened; Peter surging up on the couch, Bobby's hands falling down sharply, Jean leaping to her feet, an irritated frown on her beautiful face.
"When was the last time any of you did any training?" Scott snapped, scanning the room and seeing only guilty or defiant faces.
"What? Haven't we earned a break?" Ororo said, her expression almost comical in her indignant outrage. She waved her elegant hand between the two of them. "We just got back from Japan for christssake!"
"Three days ago," he said, falling back into the role of trainer and team leader without any further thought, arms crossing over his chest automatically. "That's what I thought - I want everyone into uniform and out on the back lawn in ten. We've got a new recruit we need to break in." At that, Worthington climbed slowly to his feet, a slight smile on his face. Hank bounded up as well.
"Guess we better find out just what bird-boy here can do," the big mutant said with a dramatic roll of his eyes. "Other than flirt with all the women, of course."
"Unlike some, I do it well," Worthington said, his tone heavy with bored amusement, one elegant brow rising as he scanned Hank's bulky form derisively.
Hank grinned toothily back at the tall blond man, a surprisingly fierce expression given his usually jovial demeanor. "Let's see how well you flirt with your face buried four feet under ground, bird-boy," he said with easy contempt. Worthington's smile grew sharper, his gaze harder. And Scott found himself moving automatically to break up the tension in an effort to promote team harmony. The impulse to lead was stronger than the fear and the uncertainty after all, he realized with some relief.
"Save it, Beast," he said sharply, jerking his head toward the hallway. "Get in uniform. Let's move, people. And Marvel Girl, make sure the Angel has a uniform too." Jean scowled at him, her lower lip sticking out in the pouty way that frequently made him melt inside. This time it just left him cold. He knew it was his job to see that the male members of the team were properly uniformed, but that was more than he could handle right then. He turned and stalked out of the room, blatantly ignoring her mental, "Scott!", and knowing full well that they would all do as he said.
He was Cyclops.
Cyclops waited on the back lawn, arms folded over his chest. Wearing his own uniform shirt, pants and boots, without the coat, he waited in the mid-afternoon sun for the resident members of the team to appear.
Wolverine was still off on his own, at the Professor's sanction; he had been due back before their return from Japan but had yet to show up. The Professor had told him not to concern himself with Wolverine at this time. But it still annoyed him. The team was his domain. Beast, Colossus, Storm and Iceman had already arrived. Storm was grumbling still, but Beast seemed almost eager. Only Marvel Girl and Angel had yet to appear.
Then Iceman was pointing back toward the mansion, his face slack with surprise. Colossus and Storm turned as well, astonishment plain on their faces. Beast looked up, did a brief double-take, then gave a snort of disgust, hunching further over his big feet.
The Angel was flying.
Blond hair rippling in the wind of his passage, body encased in the shiny black of a team uniform, white wings moving strongly above him, he flew with incredible grace toward them, circling in for a landing with Jean - Marvel Girl - cradled in his arms. She was grinning at him like a loon, her arms wrapped around his neck, green eyes staring awe-struck into icy blue.
Wolverine was in for another surprise when he got back, was all Scott could think in disgust.
The Angel landed lightly, letting Jean slide down his body in a deliberate way, their gazes locked. Then Jean pulled slowly away, rolling her eyes back at him in a coquettish fashion.
"Wow, First Class," Jean said, trailing her hand slowly down his broad chest. Worthington smiled a cool, remote smile back at her, his blue eyes gleaming. "Thanks for the lift, Angel."
Cyclops folded his arms over his chest, glowering at them. Jean's blatant flirting made him feel almost physically sick. And he knew she was acting that way partially as revenge because he'd ditched one of his jobs on her, but only partially. She'd been shacked up with Wolverine until just recently, too, and here she was flirting with Worthington. Another man she knew nothing about. Scott felt an unaccustomed surge of antipathy roll through him. He stifled it firmly.
"Cut the crap, Marvel Girl," he said, tone harsh. She shot him a surprised look, sensing his hostility for the first time.
//What crawled up your ass and died, Cyclops?// she shot into his mind snottily.
"Keep it public, Marvel Girl, we're training. I expect your cooperation," he said, giving her a 'slap' with his mental shields and glaring back at her. She winced. His shields wouldn't keep her out if she was really serious about getting into his thoughts, but they were a definite warning that he'd fight her. And that would be painful to them both. The Professor had taught them how to resist telepathic probes - personally. Then he turned to face the Angel.
Arms crossed over his chest, he met the other man's stare, safe behind ruby quartz lenses.
"Well, we've seen you can carry Marvel Girl - what's your max?" he snapped. The Angel eyed him with a darkly sardonic look for an instant, and his heart pounded in sudden fear. Would he mention their tussle over the lake now? His shoulder throbbed as memory threatened to surge. He fought it down, waiting without change of expression. But the blond man just let the smile fade away into a thoughtful look.
"I'm not really sure," he said. "I haven't tried to carry more than about 200 lbs. before."
"All right - Colossus?" Cyclops turned to face the big Russian immigrant, running his gaze up and down his hulking form appraisingly.
"Yes, Cyclops?" the other man said, brows raised in mild amusement at being looked over so obviously. Storm snickered and Beast rolled his eyes.
"You weigh what, about two-fifty?"
"Yes, about that," the Russian said, smiling slightly, looking over at the Angel with dawning understanding.
"Game, Angel?" Cyclops said the code name sharply, keeping his mind fixed on the task at hand - training them to stay alive against whatever they might encounter. The best way to do that was to have each of them fully aware of the other's abilities. So you knew just what you could count on in a fight. And who.
"Whatever you say, Cyclops," the winged man said, his tone sharp. Then the Angel launched himself into the air with startling speed. One moment he was standing there, the next he'd crouched slightly, wings rising high, then he exploded into the sky. Iceman reeled back, mouth open in astonishment. Jean gave an undignified squeal of pleasure, hands rising to cover her grin as she watched the blond man's fantastic flight. Storm seemed impressed as well, though she fought hard to conceal it under a blasÚ fašade. Beast glowered.
Angel circled their small group once, then swooped sharply down and caught the startled Colossus under his arms, lifting him into the air. He carried the big Russian with seeming ease, rising with less speed, but still climbing with relatively little apparent effort. Cyclops noted that he'd stooped from the air rather than launching them from the ground. His tactical mind wondered if the Angel would be able to lift the other man without being in flight first. They'd have to test that later. The Angel circled higher, wings beating strongly, a faintly complacent smile on his face. Colossus was staring down at the ground below him, and the astonished faces of his teammates, in pleased amazement.
Then Cyclops glanced over at Marvel Girl.
"Tell Colossus to transform," he said sharply. She shot him a surprised look that swiftly changed to one of conspiratorial glee.
"Whatever you say, Cyclops," she grinned, then glanced up at the circling pair. With a shimmer and a flash of silver, Colossus obediently transformed into his armored form.
The Angel let out a shout of outrage, his smooth flight dipping perilously toward the ground. Then with a hard down beat, his wings straining, he struggled stubbornly to lift the metallic Russian back to their former height, over 500 lbs. of him.
On the ground, Beast was nearly rolling with laughter. "Good one, fearless leader! Almost planted that smug bastard face first!"
"Look out!" Colossus shouted as the Angel, laboring too hard to maintain height, simply let him go. The armored man plunged toward the ground. Below, the team scattered wildly, trying to get out of his way. Cyclops just glared, arms folded over his chest.
"Marvel Girl!" Cyclops snapped. And before the big man could hit the ground, or anyone under him, Colossus came to a sudden halt in mid-air, looking around in surprise. Jean gave him a little finger-fluttering wave and a smug look. He returned it cheerfully.
"Object lesson, people," Cyclops said gruffly as the huge, metallic man slowly floated to the ground, safely contained in Jean's telekinetic web. Iceman, Beast and Storm exchanged sheepish looks, getting to their feet slowly. "Never let your guard down for a moment and," he turned to look at the hovering Angel, who had a dark expression on his face, "know the limitations of your teammates."
Later that evening, Scott responded to another telepathic summons from the Professor. He arrived in the library to find Worthington and Jean waiting along with him.
"Scott," Xavier said with a small smile. "I wanted you to know I've found another recruit for the team, another telepath." Scott stopped beside the huge fireplace, arms folded over his chest. Worthington was staring at him, his expression still faintly irritated after the events of the afternoon training session. Jean stood behind the Professor, leaning against his wheelchair casually and petting the cat that lay across the high back of the chair.
"Good news, sir, I guess," he said with stiff formality, trying to keep from looking over at Worthington, or even acknowledge the flutter of unease the other man gave him now that they were out of uniform.
"Unfortunately, she's in London. And after your recent - ahem - activities there, I don't believe it prudent to send you along. So Warren has agreed to accompany Jean on this trip. Besides, I believe you are already acquainted with her, Warren," the Professor said, capturing the winged mutant's attention at last. Deep blue eyes met icy blue-gray.
"Really?" Worthington said, golden brow rising briefly. His wings rustled on his back.
"Yes, Elizabeth Braddock."
"Whoa," Jean said, straightening up, her face paling suddenly. "Isn't she the supermodel with lavender hair? I heard she's just gone on sabbatical or some kind of garbage like that."
"Has she? That's odd. She is also the twin sister of Brian Braddock, owner of Braddock Enterprises, a competitor. Yes, we've met, once, briefly," Worthington said with a sardonic lift of his lips. The Professor just smiled back as his cat climbed down into his lap, abandoned by Jean. Scott knew that look. Something wasn't quite right over there in England with Miss Braddock, but then, he wasn't going along. Jean and Worthington would have to figure it out for themselves. Jean at least, knew what to expect, having done most of the recruiting for the school herself so far. He was confident she'd be able to handle Miss Braddock. It was Worthington he had some concerns about.
"You should leave as soon as possible tonight," Xavier said coolly and with clear dismissal. "I'd like the two of you and Miss Braddock back here at the school by tomorrow night. Scott will help you prepare the jet."
Dodging Worthington's stare, Scott turned and led the way out of the big, round room.
The Blackbird was prepped and ready to go. They were waiting on Jean, who seemed unaccountably nervous for someone on a simple recruiting jaunt.
Worthington had disdained to wear his uniform, counting on the Blackbird's natural cloak to keep him hidden from any mutant scanning devices that might be used on them in flight, but he had agreed to take it along in case it was needed. Great Britian didn't have the mutant-hunting Sentinel technology, but they had been known to randomly scan for and detain mutants with an activated x-factor gene upon entering their country. No sense taking any foolish chances.
Scott waited in the control bunker just off the hanger, patching into local air traffic control radar data to make certain their proposed flight path was unobstructed. Worthington sat in the cockpit of the jet, waiting for Jean to arrive. He hadn't been checked out in the pilot's seat yet, though Scott had been surprised to learn that he already had a pilot's license for small private jets. It shouldn't have surprised him as much as it did.
"Are you glad I'm leaving, even if only for a day, Scott?" Worthington said over the communications circuit, snapping Scott's head up from the system checks. He stared at the cockpit of the jet out in the hangar, not able to see the other man but knowing he was watching him through the reinforced windows.
"I'm glad Jean will have help on this trip," he replied carefully, not allowing the aprehension to creep into his voice. He didn't want to talk to him, not yet.
"Ah, yes, Jean. Lovely girl," the other man continued quietly. "Very friendly, unlike some I could name around here. And she's bounced the Wolverine out of her bed, too. What do you think, Scott, do I stand a chance with her?"
"None of my business," Scott forced himself to answer, voice cool. He didn't want to think of it, Jean and Warren together. The unattainable and the uninvited. His pulse pounded sickly in his head, another headache threatening.
To his relief, Jean chose that instant to breeze into the hangar bay, a small overnight bag slung over her shoulder, dressed in an emerald green sundress, strappy high heels on her feet. He felt himself staring, helplessly. She was beautiful. And she was going to be cooped up in the jet with Worthington for the next several hours. He felt a painful, confused lurching in his heart. Was Worthington interested in her for her own sake, or because of him?
"All clear, Scott? I want to burn some fuel. London, here we come!" Jean called, a bright smile on her face. From inside the jet, Worthington's laugh came through his headset, the sound low and darkly amused. He shivered.
"Clear, Jean," Scott called, voice suddenly hoarse. If she noticed, she didn't say anything, out loud or mentally, as she dashed aboard the jet. The hatch closed. He saw a brief flash, as of something white moving through the cockpit windows, then the hangar doors began to open in response to Jean's signal from the cockpit.
He sat, silent and alone, watching as the jet's engines roared to life and it slowly rose on pillars of thrust, up and out into the night, before speeding off into the distance, gone.
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