Pairing: Ultimate Scott/Warren
Archive: Eiluned, as always. Anyone else, please ask first.
Author's Note: Eek! Bad words! And I'm walkin', oh yes I am, I'm walkin'. . . just where I don't quite know [but they seem to . . .] Events in Ultimate X-Men probably won't go this way, but hey, that's why its fanfic.
Follows after "Ultimate Choice", "Ultimate Flight", "Ultimate Designs" and "Ultimate Denial". 7/24/01
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. . .
"Wow, I didn't think the fearless leader actually slept. . ." The sotto voce comment, of course, woke Scott Summers immediately. The side of his face hurt from sleeping, however briefly, in his combat visor. His sleep goggles were softer, more flexible. And up in his room.
But he wasn't in his own room. He was in the medlab. Apparently he'd fallen asleep on the bed Jean had used. He blinked his eyes hard behind his visor, clearing them the best he could before he turned his head to look at the speaker.
"What are you doing in here, Bobby?" Scott asked, his voice little better than a husky croak. The thin teenager actually jumped, leaping against Peter, his current partner in crime. The big ex-Russian mafia enforcer was surprisingly patient with the homesick boy, perhaps out of nostalgia for his own absent siblings back on the farm in Siberia.
"We wanted to see how our newest member was doing," Peter said calmly, watching Scott struggle up from the bed with an amused, raised brow.
"Did you clear it with the Professor?" Scott asked, scrubbing his hands carefully over his face. Careful not to dislodge his visor of course. He needed to shave. With an inaudible sigh, he slid off the bed, finding his feet carefully. He was still very tired. Glancing at the clock he winced inside. Two hours sleep. No wonder.
"She's a supermodel, you know," Bobby breathed, awe in his voice. Scott felt his lips turn up ever so slightly in an involuntary smile. Ah, the truth at last.
"Yeah, she's a supermodel on a bad hair day too, so you two better scram before she wakes up," Jean said, appearing in the doorway, her hands perched on her hips. She was fully dressed now, in her usual incredibly tight, low-cut jeans and a barely decent tee shirt.
"Hey, why does Cyclops get to stay?" Bobby whined. Peter just shook his head, clamping a big hand around the boy's upper arm and tugging him inexorably toward the door.
"Because he's the team leader, of course," Peter said calmly. "We're going. And we'll intercept Hank before he gets down here with the video equipment."
"You'd better," Scott growled, just in case he was serious. Hank did have a thing for the young and beautiful and voluptuous. All of which categories Elizabeth Braddock definitely fell into. He looked around the room, only then noticing that the third bed was empty.
"Where's Warren?" he asked Jean sharply.
"Out," she said with an unconcerned shrug. "Said he had to go flying to clear his head or something. There's no reason for him to hang around here, is there?"
He sat in silent thought for a moment, watching as Jean puttered around the other woman's bed, checking monitoring equipment and taking the other woman's vitals. Noting them into the terminal so the computer could built a profile on her. He caught himself staring at the lavender haired woman, mind lost in unpleasant memories. He shook the dark mood away sharply. No sense tipping Jean off right off the bat, he thought. Mentally cursing his unusual morning grogginess - granted it was scarcely morning as far as his body was concerned - he sent an urgent mental query to the Professor.
//Professor, is everything all right with the Angel?//
//I see you ignored my instructions to get proper rest, Cyclops,// the Professor said testily by way of reply. //And Warren seems in acceptable spirits this morning. As does Jean.//
//Since I was there when she woke up, I already knew that,// he answered dryly. //I was simply concerned about the other member of our little conspiracy.//
//Then I suggest, Scott, that you go see for yourself,// the Professor said sharply. //I will call you when I am ready to awaken Miss Braddock.//
Reminded of the memory manipulation that was still necessary for the ailing psychic beauty, Scott sighed heavily and signaled his assent to the Professor.
"I'll be back later, Jean," he said as he headed for the door. She rolled her eyes at his back as he left, he knew, and her sarcastic, "I'll try to manage without you, buddy," followed him into the hall. It almost made him smile. Almost.
Scott went up through the secret levels of the mansion, up to the main floor and finally outside, into bright sunlight and a clear sky. Somehow the beautiful day seemed incongruous after the dark emotion of the past night. He stood in the inner courtyard of the mansion, looking out over the back of the vast property, toward the lake. A flash in the sky caught his attention, making his heart pound slightly faster. Knowing that he could delay this confrontation no longer, he walked forward, down the curving path to the lake, hands thrust into his pockets.
The Angel was flying.
Like some strange huge bird, the winged man soared and dived through the air, a kind of joy pulsing from him. An exultation in his own form, his own function. He could fly, to the envy of man throughout the ages. Scott watched in fascination as Warren spun lazily through the bright morning sky, arms spread wide, wings beating with deceptive ease to keep himself aloft. He made it look so natural, so effortless that a brief envy stabbed through Scott for the odd quirk of the x-factor gene that had given one the sky and the other deadly responsibility.
It wasn't until he reached the edge of the lake that Warren spotted him, so lost had he been in the rapture of the sky. Scott saw the difference in him immediately, the tensing of that long frame, the arching turn, the swift dive down before he back-winged to hover above him, a twisted smile on his undeniably handsome face.
"What happened last night, Scott?" Warren said, his eyes hard and cold as he glared down at him. No hesitation at all, just straight to the attack. Scott stumbled to a halt, staring up at the flying man in dismay. A dismay thankfully hidden behind his visor, he hoped.
"What do you mean, Warren?" he asked, as casually as he could manage. If only he wasn't so drained from lack of sleep.
"We were tired last night, exhausted. That Braddock woman turned into a raving psycho bitch half-way across the Atlantic - and I'd just rather forget all that - but I clearly remember you kissing me at some point," the other man called down, a strange expectant expression on his face. "Now why would you do that, Scott, since I know you can't stand me?" Mentally he cursed the Professor for either not catching this particular memory, or at the very least, for not warning him that he was going to leave it behind. He had to think fast.
"Well, the woman is a telepath, Warren," he said calmly. "Maybe she put it there."
With a hard rush of air and a quick folding of his wings, Warren dropped lightly to the ground in front of Scott, arms crossed over his chest.
"Maybe," he said, scanning Scott with a hard blue gaze. "I might even have accepted that explanation, if you hadn't already called me 'Warren' twice now. It's been 'Worthington' or 'fuck off' since I arrived. Why the change now, Scott?"
He froze, caught, as he realized the other man was right. He was tired, and not thinking as sharply as normal. The other man's name had just slipped out.
"Fuck off," he said, trapped, his hands closing into fists at his side.
Warren gave a tight, mocking smile. Then he stepped forward, arms and wings reaching out to draw Scott against his body, to hold him there, rigid. He pressed his mouth near Scott's ear and spoke with quiet intensity, "I fucked someone last night; I could tell this morning. Was it Jean? Was it you? Why don't I remember?"
"Let it go, Warren," he replied, voice harsh. Pulse jumping; breath short. The wings were holding him loosely, strong and supple. But the arms around him were harder, much harder.
"I can't," the other man said, tone anguished, breath hot against his neck. Then Warren tilted his forehead until it rested against Scott's throat, against his pounding pulse. Nothing hidden now. "If I fucked you last night, I certainly want to remember it. More importantly, I want to know how I managed it so I can do it again. . ."
A deep shudder seized Scott and he bit his lip to suppress a moan. Remembering the desolation and utter self-loathing in Warren's face, the sharp smell of his vomit, his regret over the way he'd treated him and finally the demand for Xavier to purge him of the memories. He remembered the Angel brought low, humanized. But Warren recalled none of that, of course.
//Professor!// he found himself crying in his head.
//Yes, Scott,// the Professor answered calmly. //I heard. Bring him to me. This is why I am hesitant to do memory manipulation, it can be stored in so very many ways. There can be endless loose ends.//
Scott felt the Professor break the connection. Then he shifted in Warren's hold, rolling his shoulders back. The other man responded by lifting his head, staring into his visor from only inches away.
"Your eyes glow, you know," he said in an abrupt non sequitur, staring into ruby quartz. "I can actually see them through this thing."
"Yes, I know," Scott answered, swallowing hard, made strangely anxious by the close inspection. Warren's gaze shifted to his mouth, staring hungrily at it. Scott tensed in anticipation. But Warren's hold slowly loosened and fell away, allowing him to pull back and put space between them, held only in a circle of white feathers now.
"I'm straight," Warren said with a glare, his tone hard, his face still. "I like women. And I've had plenty of them. Never really looked at another man that way before, actually, but there's something about you, pretty boy, that makes me want you."
"Like a new toy?" Scott said, suddenly aching. He was tired, reserves drained, or the comment wouldn't have drawn a response. He'd heard much worse before, and from Warren's own lips.
"That's probably it," Warren said with a slight sneer, a flash of something else, something like pain maybe, deep in his eyes. But he couldn't be sure. Wings flexed against his back, rocking him on his feet. Almost pushing him toward the other man again, but not quite. He just stared solemnly at Warren, feeling confusion and disquiet and muted anger whirl through his tired mind.
"The Professor wants to see us," Scott said finally. With a nod, Warren stepped back, wings falling away. Scott turned and silently led the way back to the mansion.
Charles Xavier looked gravely up at Scott, his icy blue eyes piercing in their regard. Warren knelt beside the Professor's chair, wings relaxed and furled against his back, his eyes closed. The Professor's hands rested on his golden hair again. The winged man seemed to be in a kind of trance-like state, not precisely asleep, as he had been last night, but not cognizant of his surroundings either.
"I didn't realize things had become so strained between the two of you," the Professor said, expression curiously sad. "You need to settle things, Scott."
"I can't," Scott replied, choking the words out, then shaking his head slowly. "I can't do what he wants."
"That is not what I was implying," the Professor said sternly. "I chose you as team leader for many qualities, Scott. Most of which were amply displayed during last night's crisis. Apply those qualities to your personal life as well. Do not let it affect the team."
Stung, Scott stiffened and crossed his arms over his chest, hiding the fact that his hands had clenched into tense fists. Xavier looked down at Warren and puzzlement briefly crossed his face before his usual impassive expression returned.
"His recent encounters with you I have altered into fantasy. To explain his body-memory of sex, I have given him the vague sense of an encounter with a willing maid at the Braddock residence," the Professor explained. "Since your interactions with him are so emotionally charged, you must take pains to avoid him for the next day, Scott, until his mind can fully integrate these changes." He took his hands away from Warren's head and the man rose slowly to his feet, his eyes slipping open partially. Warren walked slowly out of the room, glancing neither left nor right, ignoring Scott completely. The door closed behind him with a quiet click.
"Once outside, he will return to a normal state, none the worse," the Professor said with a sigh at Scott's sharp glance. "Jean has indicated Miss Braddock is showing signs of awakening. You will accompany me to the medlab."
Scott glared at his mentor for a long moment, then finally nodded once. The needs of the team, of the new recruit were paramount. He was Cyclops once again.
Throwing Jean out of the medlab had been strangely fun.
"Argue with the Professor, Jean," he'd said, hand firm on her shoulder as he guided her out into the hall. "I'm just following orders. Him and me only."
"You don't have to like it so much," she'd shot back, green eyes gleaming at him over her shoulder. He'd grinned back, so tired that his usual reserve was shot. She'd blinked at him in shock, as if stunned he'd actually smiled at her.
"Why not?" he shrugged. "How often do I get the last word with you anyway?"
"Cute, Summers," she'd groused, then obediently strolled away. He'd closed and locked the door behind her. His forehead thumped against the door as he leaned against it briefly. Tired. So tired. Was he up to this now? He had to be. Straightening, he turned back to the main part of the medlab.
The Professor was seated close to the head of the occupied bed, hands folded in his lap, cat perched watchfully on the back of the chair. His eyes were closed. Scott, recognizing this as one of the Professor's meditative states he entered prior to a strenuous telepathic session, walked silently up beside the bed, looking down at it's occupant curiously.
Now that that he'd been away from her for a while, he found was actually able to look at her without flashing back to the nightmarish scene in the cockpit. Or perhaps the Professor's shield on his memories was helping in that regard, muting it. She was truly lovely. With delicate, almost elfin features and clear, pale skin in the rare English fashion like misted rose petals. Her striking violet hair was natural. A minor x-factor mutation, one that was becoming more and more common in the general human populace. It extended, he was vaguely surprised to note, even to her eyebrows and eyelashes. The odd tint of it obvious even to his red veiled gaze. He knew, also, that she had violet - true violet, not pale blue - eyes to match.
He'd seen her face a hundred times before, on the covers of magazines and on billboards. It was familiar in that regard. But now, her eyes were shadowed by dark circles, bruises marred her face, her arms. Her fingernails were broken and dirty as if she'd fought, leaving bloody evidence beneath. He vaugely remembered seeing scratches on Warren's shoulders, and even a few on Jean. He'd have to remind the Professor to edit memories regarding them. He could see then why memory manipulation was so tricky. So many details. So many different ways to trigger memory.
The Professor cleared his throat and Scott looked over at him.
"Are you ready, sir?" he asked. Xavier nodded and Scott touched a button on the panel beside him. The system released a small amount of a mild stimulant into Elizabeth Braddock's intravenous drip and after a few moments, she began to stir.
With a moan, her eyes fluttered open, locking first on Scott. She flinched slightly, wary shadows entering those incredible eyes. Her hands rose, clutching protectively at the thin blanket covering her, pressing it close to her throat.
"Oh, who are you?" she asked, her voice a breathy whisper, eyes darting around frantically. "Where am I?"
"Scott Summers, of the Xavier Institute in New York, Miss Braddock," he said, keeping his voice low and reassuring. "How are you feeling?"
"Xavier Institute? The black plane. . . and the angel of death, was he real?" Her eyes were wide with slowly dawning terror. Scott glanced over at the silent Professor who was watching the young woman with narrowed gaze.
"Easy, Miss Braddock," Scott said. "You're safe here. No one is going to hurt you any longer."
"The angel and the woman with red hair . . . are they here?" she asked, a hitch in her voice. The monitors beside him began a soft warning beeping, telling him the patient's vitals were changing fast. Rising heartrate, breathing. But he could see that for himself. She was becoming hysterical.
//She is shielding heavily, Scott. I fear doing more damage if we cannot get her to lower her shields voluntarily.//
He sat himself down on the bed beside her, knowing that looming over her wasn't reassuring her at all. She followed his motion with apprehensive eyes, shifting away from him as far as the bed would allow.
"They hurt me; I hurt them, oh, it's so confused. . ." she moaned, tears welling in her eyes. "Brian, where is Brian? He sent me away, didn't he? He sent me away because I'm bad and everyone can see it. Brian!" She thrashed back and forth on the bed, her hair flying. Her terror was painful to see, even though he'd seen the results of her panic and shame when backed by telepathic projection. Now she was simply a woman in pain.
"No, you're not bad, Betsy," he said soothingly, instinctively trying to help. "Hurting, but we're going to help make the hurt go away." Then he moved forward and gathered her gently into his arms. She stiffened at first, rigid and resistant, then as she felt his muscled chest against her, she sighed and threw herself against him.
"Brian?" she asked, hesitantly, face buried against him, slender hands clutching the large muscles of his upper arms with almost painful force.
//Let her think so,// the Professor's instruction came suddenly. //Brian is her twin brother, and she might lower her shields for him.// Scott closed his arms securely around the trembling woman, dropping his face to her hair and noticing the sweet scent of her suddenly.
"Yes, Betsy. Brian," he said, voice little more than a rumble in his chest. She sighed contentedly and slipped her arms around his waist, snuggling against him trustingly. Almost like a small child.
"Brian! I knew you wouldn't let them take me away, I knew it!" Scott felt a strange tickling at the edge of his mind, then a surge of strength that brushed past him, concentrated elsewhere. The woman in his arms stiffened and cried out, then fell limp against him. Again he could sense the barest hint through the link of the Professor's prodigious mental energies focused fully on the woman he held against his heart.
He supported her limp head with one hand, cradling her close with the other arm. Feeling her heart fluttering against his arm; her shallow, rapid breaths. Watching the pain and anguish pass over her elfin features from close up. And he stayed that way for what seemed like forever, despite cramping arms and the strain in his back, reluctant to move and risk disturbing the connection the Professor had with her.
Finally, she shivered in his arms, her breathing smoothed out and she seemed to slip into a more natural sleep. Beside him, the Professor dropped his hand on his shoulder. A nasty psychic residue shot through him with the touch; pain, terror, confusion, violation. He gritted his teeth and, despite his weariness, shunted the feelings firmly away, knowing they came from outside. But they still felt real, immediate, stirring up memories of his own that he'd rather not deal with. Particularly now.
"That was - difficult," the Professor said, his voice shaking with weariness. The fact that he'd chosen to speak aloud said much as well. "And I'm afraid it was only a beginning. Her mind is badly frayed, but she is still stronger than I thought. I dare not release her telepathic talent until more progress is made. She is resisting me."
"Can anyone else be around her?" Scott said through gritted teeth. She was so slender and fragile-seeming in his arms, hard to believe she'd already been the source of so much pain. "Is she even safe?"
"I have altered her memories of the flight here into yet another of her nightmares," the Professor said, pinching the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger. Just like Jean did when she had one of her migraines. "Since her talent is constrained, she cannot inflict that on anyone else again. So, yes, I believe she is safe enough to be around the others. Whether that will be good for her recovery remains to be seen."
Scott laid the slim woman down again in the bed, smoothing the blanket over her gently. Then he stood up, swaying slightly on his feet. Emotionally battered and drained from the events of the last day, physically exhausted, he blinked cautiously at the clock on the wall. Almost two hours had passed. No wonder the Professor was weary.
"You should rest, sir," he said carefully. Xavier nodded, then glanced at him and frowned.
"Foolish young man!" Xavier said, then lifted his fingers to his forehead and frowned deeper. Scott felt a curious lightness invade his body and he felt himself walk over to one of the other hospital beds. To his bewilderment he climbed into it and laid himself down. Xavier had just taken him over and put him to bed like a little boy, he thought in weary astonishment, too drained to work up any real outrage.
//Cyclops is no good to the team if he overextends himself, Scott,// the Professor's mental voice continued more warmly. //You need to rest now too. Sleep, my boy. You have made me very proud today.//
Then everything - responsibility, pride, irritation, embarassment - disappeared into welcome darkness.
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