Pairings: Scott with several others.
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Four fucking months.
Forgive me, my son.
Scott didn’t, couldn’t reply. Not right then.
The Professor started his healing process soon as he reached the inside of the Blackbird and later sub-level 5 of the X-mansion. Inhibitors were peeled off and his mind gradually mended though the physical damage would take longer to repair. But the collar was another story altogether. It still wielded the immense power of the Dark Phoenix and despite all of Xavier’s best efforts… he failed to override it.
Phoenix. Tell me about Phoenix.
Xavier was reluctant, Scott could sense as much.
Life had moved on. The Democrats were back in power. A new world order was in place, and yet another new one was being attempted to be established by Magneto and his growing confederation of supporters. What was he trying to do?… the X-Men barely knew. But Storm said it had something to do with the Sentinels.
A secret government project that was partially developed as part of Stryker’s offensive program against mutants but like Stryker’s all operations, was cancelled right after Alkali Lake – all the robots dismantled and recycled. Magneto had been working to revive and control the damn things for the past five months.
What’s Phoenix got to do with it?
Xavier sighed, almost painfully.
Just like the Cerebro, Sentinels need a powerful telepathic mind to activate them. And Phoenix is…
Scott swallowed, he had heard this before.
…the greatest telepath on this planet next only… to you.
Xavier looked away.
Perhaps greater than me.
How did he bring her back? How could he when you couldn’t?
I’m not quite convinced it was him.
Scott could sense Charles was holding back on him, but knew how futile it would be to prod. He would just have to wait.
So he left?
Big surprise that one.
He went after her… ever since she… dear God Scott, we thought you were dead!
The Professor finally allowed himself the relief of tears. Scott forgave him.
He wasn’t about to forgive Wolverine however.
Forgive him for what?
For going after Jean? Again? For not… not coming for…
He requested another couple of aspirins for his headache.
By next morning Scott had gathered enough strength as well as courage to come out of his hiding hole and face the rest of the school. He donned the standard dark grey sweats of the X-Men, zipping the collar right up to his chin so no one would see his humiliation wrapped around his neck. Then made up to the first floor where some of the seniors (more somber and more… grown up than he remembered them to be) were gathered around the TV set. He stood against the back wall so quiet the kids never knew he was there.
Seven states of The US of A including Washington and California suffered massive power blackouts following last night’s attack on the Northern grid thermal power station… once again by giant robots… what we now know are called the Sentinels…
Bobby couldn’t stay quiet anymore.
“Magneto finally cracked the Sentinel code and we’re just sitting on our hands doin’ nothing to stop him!”
The outrage was a shared sentiment in the room.
“The only way to stop the Sentinels is to stop the telepath who controls them.” Kitty added.
“And now that Cyclops is back he would never allow…”
Peter raised a hand to quiet the boy with spiked hair, a boy Scott didn’t recognize. The newswoman droned on as everyone turned to look at what had caught Peter’s shocked and somewhat guilty attention.
Marie at least was happy to see him. No that’s not true. Of course everyone was, Scott chided himself. And they were surprised to see his unshielded eyes… a rare sight indeed. But they were also worried.
Worried that now that he was back, the conflict they all faced would grow and ultimately be decided not in the X-Men’s favor. Scott knew now was the time to say something. Painfully… in ways more than one, he cleared his throat.
He smiled at the huge boy who had, in his absence, clearly emerged as the leader of the brat pack... the boy who'd carried him out of his prison of four months.
Peter respectfully smiled back.
“Dude, you grow six inches taller every time I see you.”
Everyone softly laughed. The ice broke. Scott swallowed, dug his hands in his pockets and came to the center of the room. He bit his lip, not knowing how to start.
The boy with the spiked hair tried to make amends.
“Mr. Summers, I was just…”
Scott waived the unnecessary explanation away.
“I understand. Really. But there’s one thing you guys need to know.”
“That telepath… with Magneto… she… is not Doctor Jean Grey. I don’t know who she is, but I know she… is NOT. Her.”
“At least… not anymore.”
The kids looked at each other, not sure how to respond.
“Trust me. But even if she was… we are still the X-Men. And we will still do what we’re supposed to do. What we must do. And that’s an order.”
“Uh… I’m still second-in-command around here, right?”
It was only half a joke but they all smiled and nodded anyway.
Scott turned to see Storm and Professor had come in by then, probably having heard his entire speech. Xavier’s eyes brimming
with empathy for the thousand deaths he just died inside. As did the eyes of two of Scott’s oldest friends who came in right behind. Warren Worthington, Dr. Hank McCoy.
I am proud of you, my son.
Scott did not... could not reply, and quietly removed himself from the room. Only to be followed by the man with the wings of an angel.
Scott turned, silence followed as they took a moment to study the lines on each other's face.
"I just condemned her..."
No more words were needed, Angel knew exactly what his dearest friend of ten years was going through. And not just his, Warren was their friend... Scott-and-Jean's friend. Desperately, they embraced. Gripping each other tight… in preparation for the toughest battle of their lives.
Barely an hour later, the war began.
Breaking News… attack on the United Nations headquarters right as we speak… site for the international convention where the cure for the mutant gene is about to be unveiled for the rest of the world…
The Professor insisted he sit this one out. Scott, to everyone’s shock and suspicion, agreed. But they were also relieved, after all, the man was still in love. Seeing her… Phoenix... standing against him, against everything Jean once believed in and fought for to her demise… would probably be too much. Besides he was still much too weak to fight.
Warren squeezed his shoulder.
“You gonna be okay?”
“Hang in there buddy, I have a feeling this will all be over before night is through.”
He watched as the X-Men flew off in his jet, on the most critical mission of their lives, without him. Softly, detachedly, he hummed to himself.
If you won't take me with you, I’ll go before night is through.