Pairing: Ultimate Scott/Warren
Archive: Eiluned, as always. Anyone else, please ask first.
Author's Note: Adult stuff. Hard issues discussed. Mind games. Events in Ultimate X-Men certainly won't go this way, but hey, that's why its fanfic.
Follows in sequence: "Ultimate . . Choice, Flight, Designs, Denial, Tasks, Mercy and Thoughts" 7/27/01
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.
Sore from both his recent workout and his confrontation with Jean, Scott Summers wasn't fully prepared when a slim shadow detached itself from the late evening darkness of the main landing and threw itself at him on the stairs. His arms went up defensively as, in a swirl of flowing fabric, Betsy Braddock latched herself to one arm with clear desperation.
"Oh, Scott, where were you?" she gasped, dropping her forehead against his shoulder and clutching him tightly. Her body trembled. Alarmed, he pulled her close, slipping his free arm around her and looking around suspiciously. But there was no one else nearby.
"What's the matter, Betsy? Did something happen?" he asked, lowering his voice and keeping his tone as gentle as possible.
"No, no, I'm sorry. Nothing, nothing happened. I just don't want to be alone," she said quickly, as if she had to get it all out before her nerve failed her. She burrowed against his chest. She was acting nothing like the brave, determined woman who had dazzled them all at the dinner table. Which, he suspected fully now, had only been a front. A public face. She obviously wasn't as comfortable yet as she'd seemed.
"Okay, let me take you to your room," he said softly, leaning over her solicitously. She gave a soft sigh and seemed to relax fractionally, feeling obvious relief in his presence. Turning them both toward the right-hand flight of stairs that led to the women's wing, Scott caught sight of Jean standing down below in the wide front hall, watching them together, her arms folded tightly over her chest. He looked at her deliberately, holding her gaze for a long moment before turning back to the trembling woman on his arm. Jean remained silent, to his relief, and Betsy didn't notice her watching them. They walked slowly up the stairs
"Which one did they give you?" he asked Betsy as they reached the dim upper hallway. She looked up, frowning slightly.
"Oh, the third door on the left, I think," she said. A room that looked into the inner courtyard rather than out at the grounds, he knew. And beyond Jean's room. He led her to the door and inside the room, the movements awkward because of the way she clung to his arm.
It was dark inside, so he flicked a switch, spilling warm light in small, comforting pools from the bedside lamps. Someone had brought up her suitcase for her, apparently, because she had changed into a long flowing nightgown with a matching wrap. He led her over to the bed, then sat the both of them down on it carefully.
Once they were seated, she turned toward him, throwing her arms around his neck and burying her head under his chin. Her unbound hair fell over his arms like silk or the brush of feathers, making him tremble slightly. She was warm and soft and smelled temptingly of lilac and woman.
"Thank you, Scott," she murmured, rubbing her face against his chest in small motions, almost like a cat. He stifled a groan. It shouldn't feel this good to comfort her like this. She was only looking for reassurance, stability. And she trusted him. That alone was enough to constrain his growing distraction.
"Betsy," he said huskily, hand stroking her shoulder, lips against her hair. "You should try to sleep."
"Will you stay with me?" she asked, her voice like a little girl's again. "The dreams . . . the dreams are becoming too real. I'm afraid they'll hurt me again. All these bruises. . . they frighten me. They weren't there when we left home."
His blood chilled at her words and he couldn't help himself from stiffening up. His tension was transmitted to her and she whimpered, her hands clutching at him harder.
"No, no! Just forget I said anything. I'm not insane, really," she moaned. "I was wrong - they were there when I left. I just forgot. . ."
Horrified by her words, by her assumptions, he didn't know what to say for a few breaths, then he forced himself to relax, to stroke her back comfortingly with his hands, feeling the fine trembling in her body.
"No, they weren't and you're not crazy, Betsy," he whispered into her hair. "You did get hurt."
"How?" she cried. Not knowing just what to say, he held her for a long moment, mind racing frantically. How much damage could he do by lying? Against how much more with a partial truth? Or just failing to convince her either way? As with Warren, he walked a precarious path between help and harm, and he felt so woefully unprepared for the task. But there was no one else.
"On the trip over, you became. . ." he hesitated, trying to choose the perfect words. "Agitated. Kind of wild. You fought with Jean and Warren in the plane. That's where the bruises come from. They have some too, but mostly because they didn't want to hurt you."
She shuddered against him for a moment and he almost held his breath, hoping against hope that she would accept that scanty explanation and not press for more. He wasn't sure he could come up with anything else on the spot like this.
"It's so hazy, but I do remember that a little. I think - I think I panicked," she said finally, her breath leaving her on a long, shuddering sigh.
"The Professor put you all to sleep when you arrived, so you could rest. He may have blunted the memories for you a little so you could rest easier," he temporized. She sighed deeply again, relaxing further against him, her hands finally easing their desperate grip around his neck.
"Thank you, Scott," she breathed. "I was so afraid I was losing it."
"No, you're going to be fine now, Betsy," he said, a promise he would do his best to help her fulfil.
After another half hour of coaxing and whispered reassurances, he finally managed to get Betsy into her bed and settled for the night. She clung to his hand for a while, her face working with mixed gratitude and anxiety. But finally, still exhausted from her ordeal, she had slipped into sleep.
Scott crept quietly out, turning off all the lights and closing her door as carefully as possible behind him. Weary and drained, he left the women's wing, ignoring the low murmur of both male and female voices that came from behind the door he knew belonged to Storm. Not his business. If the Professor chose to object, that was another matter. He didn't have the energy.
He crossed the landing again, heading for the men's wing and his own room, intent only on sleep. His body aching from the earlier exercise, he slowly worked his shoulder as he walked, rotating it to ease the twinge in the abused joint.
But the sudden dry rustle of wings made him pause at the top of the stairs, looking back down warily.
"Putting Betsy to bed, were you?" Warren said softly, a dangerous edge to his voice.
"Yes," he replied stonily.
"Is that all you were doing with her?" The question was bitten off angrily. Followed by the quick rise of a chin, the ominous lifting of wings.
There was a sharp clap, a furious flash of white, a rush of wind and Warren was suddenly dropping gracefully through the open air over the staircase toward him. Startled, he pressed against the wall, giving the winged man plenty of room to land, but he was still buffeted back by those incredible wings.
"Looks like I need to start a no-flying rule in the house," he said, only partially serious.
"Is that an order, Cyclops?" Warren snapped back, glaring at him over his shoulder as he settled his wings, blond hair tumbled over his eyes from the brief flight. Scott straightened up and pushed his way past him, pausing beside him to look him directly in the eye.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, it is."
Warren nodded once, curtly, in acknowledgement, then grated out, "You didn't answer my question."
"It's none of your damned business."
Warren's hand shot out and caught his arm. His sore arm. He pulled it away with a sharp jerk.
"I'm tired. I'm going to bed," Scott said distinctly through gritted teeth and simply walked away. He got half way down the hall, nearly to the haven of his own room, before a low question stopped him short.
"Do you want me to give you a blow job?"
Staggered him was more like it. He actually stumbled against the wall, catching himself with an out-thrown hand. His eyes closed and he swallowed heavily, heart thundering. He didn't dare turn around. The moments crept past as he struggled with himself.
"No," he said, finally. And he was proud of himself. His voice didn't even break.
Then he moved on to his own room, opening the door and going inside to close the door behind himself. All the time conscious of the other man standing, silent and unnaturally still, at the top of the stairs.
Scott spent the next day working with Betsy and the Professor. But he was little more than witness and moral support during the exhausting sessions in the Professor's library where he helped her sort through her mind, her trauma. All with the goal of being able to release her telepathic talent. He taught her to refine her already tight shields, to lower them when she wished. To automatically transmute emotional distress into her shields rather than as an attack. And explored the range of her talent in a controlled fashion inside the telepathically shielded library.
"Your talent is quite unique, Betsy," the Professor said at one point. Scott had taken to pacing the perimeter of the room, working out the residual soreness of his muscles, when they were deep into their link, but he came close whenever they spoke aloud. At times he would intervene when the steady flow of tears down Betsy's face became too much for him to bear, demanding that the Professor let her rest. Surprisingly, Xavier would agree, bowing to Scott's sensitivity in that regard. He would kneel beside her, letting her hold onto him and cry until she felt strong enough to go on. Until she was once again pushing him away with a grateful smile and facing the Professor with a determined expression.
He hovered now behind her shoulder, a reassuring, if silent presence. The long day had only increased his respect for the beautiful Englishwoman's inner strength. Betsy wiped a stray tear from her cheek and met the Professor's gaze firmly.
"How so, Professor?" she asked, her voice calm.
"Your probes are extremely focused and very direct, as if all of your talent narrows and concentrates on a single point of entry. Like a knife. This makes your range and scope less, but increases your power dramatically," the Professor said, stroking his cat absently. The creature rolled contentedly under his hands, exposing it's belly and purring softly. "Average telepathic shields would be no match for your probe. It would take an extreme effort to resist you, and even then it would probably fail. However, you do need to be in proximity to affect this."
"So I won't be able to 'speak' to Brian over the sea, is that what you are saying, Professor?" she said, her beautiful face filling with a faint disappointment.
"Essentially. We will have to test your full range, but I suspect it is limited to approximately a hundred mile radius," Xavier said. Scott pondered the information as well, realizing then another reason why Xavier had allowed him to stay. The team leader had to understand the full limitations of his people. And Betsy would be a valuable asset, but not quite as they had initially hoped. "With time and training you may be able to increase that range."
Scott cleared his throat and raised an eyebrow at the Professor. They had taken a break for lunch, but that had been hours ago. He knew he was tired; he could only imagine how drained the two telepaths must feel.
"Are you through for the day?" he asked aloud. And added mentally, //Is it safe to release her talent yet, sir?//
The Professor smiled gently at Betsy who returned the smile wearily.
"Yes, I am very pleased with your progress, Betsy. How do you feel?" he asked, watching her closely. //Not yet, but soon. She is doing very well, better than I had anticipated. Your presence has helped tremendously.//
Betsy glanced between the two of them curiously, sensing their unspoken communication but unable to hear it. Scott put a reassuring hand on her shoulder, squeezing gently. She raised a hand to cover his, squeezing it in return.
"I feel better, Professor, stronger today," she said quietly. "Scott explained the plane trip to me last night."
"The incident was disturbing you and I encouraged you to forget it," the Professor said, his expression impassive, yet not unkind. "Not my usual practice, but I felt it best. And until you feel comfortable here, I will keep your talent under restraint for you. We don't want you overwhelmed by America."
She smiled back at him with eager anticipation. "I haven't seen much of America yet, but I hope to soon. I've only ever been to New York City. I'd like to see more."
"You will," the Professor said, glancing significantly at Scott and raising a dark brow. Reminding him of duty and strategies and complex plans in the works all with that one look. "The team travels extensively."
"You could say that," Scott answered with a humorless laugh, thinking ironically of Croatia and the Savage Land; Washington D.C. and Tokyo. And the Wolverine loose wandering somewhere between New York and Arizona.
Scott spent the evening much as he had spent his day. Being a reassuring presence. After a pleasant meal taken with the Professor, he and Betsy joined the rest of the team in the rec room.
The noise level dropped dramatically when they first appeared, but when Betsy smiled tentatively at everyone they soon returned to their usual sniping antics.
He sat beside her on the big couch, her hand holding his tightly. The Professor had slightly loosened his lock on her talent, so Scott could feel her genuine desire to learn about these people that she was to share a home with and face danger beside spilling over through their physical contact.
Bobby and Hank were apparently engaged in an ongoing war, friendly of course, over who was the best fighter pilot in StarFox; Fox or Falco. And currently dueling it out on the screen to prove it. The rest of the team had chosen sides, with Ororo cheering for Hank, of course, and Peter staunchly on Bobby's side. Jean and Warren, again sitting close together on the other couch, seemed to be cheering indiscriminately for whoever had the current advantage. It made for much friendly bickering.
Eventually he found himself watching Warren more than the others, thankful for the concealment of his glasses, as Betsy gained confidence and slowly drew away from him. She edged further and further out on the couch, watching the big screen eagerly, attention darting between Bobby's eager attempts to gain her favor and Peter's droll comments.
Warren looked like he always did. Elegant and cool. Reserved, but still participating in the general conversation. The winged man had refused to look at him at first, keeping his flirtations for Jean and occasionally Ororo, mostly in an effort to screw with McCoy's concentration. Which succeeded with predictable results.
"Knock it off, Worthington. Get your own woman," Hank growled at one point as his virtual fighter once more went down in flames amid crows of triumph from Bobby. At which comment, Ororo punched Hank playfully in the shoulder, frowning at him in mock annoyance.
"Who said I belonged to anyone, big guy?" she said with a teasing smile. "Watch those chauvinist tendencies or I'll fry this console and declare Bobby the champ by default."
"You wouldn't," Hank shot her a disgusted look. Ororo just smiled smugly.
"Try me, buddy." Everyone laughed, Bobby loudest of all. Only Scott didn't laugh. Warren took that moment to look over at him, above Jean's head, his blue gaze hard and searing. The breath froze in Scott's throat. He was suddenly plunged into the memory of the hall last night and a certain desperate offer. He could scarcely believe it had actually been made. Not to him.
And he wanted to get away, to be alone to consider what that offer had meant. To ponder it in the way he hadn't allowed himself to the night before, so desperate had he been for sleep and escape. But he couldn't leave Betsy. Jean inadvertently broke the moment by drawing Warren's attention away and Scott was able to breathe again. But no longer able to relax. He carefully avoided looking at Warren again.
Finally, Betsy tired out. Already worn from the long day working with the Professor, she snuggled back against him, eyelids drooping. Jean shot him a significant look and jerked her head once toward the door. Scott nodded his understanding and bent over the lavender haired woman. Her eyes were fully closed now, a faint smile on her face. It was good to see her so relaxed. He smiled at her tenderly.
"Time for bed, Betsy," he said. She just made a soft sound of contentment and burrowed closer. With a sigh, he shifted around on the couch, trying not to disturb her too much, and gathered her up into his arms. He rose to his feet carefully, catching the edge of Warren's narrow glare as he did so. The rest of the team watched curiously, some overtly, some surreptitiously, as he carried her out of the room.
Scott looked down into Betsy's expectant face, his heart thundering in his chest, lips tingling from the searing kiss she'd given him. They were sitting on her bed again, her arms still wound around his neck from when he'd carried her up from the rec room. The brief nap seemed to have refreshed her, for she seemed alert enough now.
"What was that for?" he managed to gasp. She looked searchingly into his glasses, seeking something there, anything. The small smile on her lips faded at his obviously stunned expression.
"I want you," she said finally, her voice husky and tentative.
"I - I don't think. . ." he began, but her face started to crumple into anguish and he simply drew her against him, pressing her head to his chest. Aware that his heart was beating hard and wild under her ear. He heard her choke back a sob as her arms slipped around his waist. She slid onto his lap, pressing closer, soft sounds of distress coming from her throat. He struggled to shift discreetly, not wanting his sudden erection to alarm her, but she pressed herself close anyway. He gave up and simply sat there, holding her slim body close as her shoulders shook.
"Christ, Betsy, I'm sorry," he said, feeling like a monster and a fool and four kinds of jerk.
"No, you're just being kind, Scott," she said, a hitch in her voice. "Being yourself. Putting everyone else first. Don't think I haven't noticed."
"You've been through hell, Betsy," he said gently. Trying to be understanding, trying to control himself, but she felt so good, so warm and soft in his arms.
"Yes, I've been through hell, but I'm still a woman, still alive," she said fiercely, pulling back and glaring up at him. "Is it so wrong for me to want to make the choice? To want to choose you to be normal with again?"
"Oh, no, that's not what. . ." he stumbled over the words, then found he couldn't continue. How could he convince her he was concerned for her, not disapproving? That he was afraid to hurt her again, even inadvertently? That he knew how bad memories could torment and that the urge to replace them with good was powerful? Her wide lavender gaze was searching his glasses desperately, trying to pierce through to his eyes.
"Don't you want me?" she asked breathlessly, tears welling. "Am I too damaged? Do I disgust you?"
How could she think that with the evidence hard under her slim thigh? But he just groaned, undone by her pain.
"No, Betsy, not at all," he said as he bent down, covering her lips with his own.
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