A mission gone horribly wrong leads Scott Summers to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his friends. But is he really dead? Or something more sinsiter going on? Scott/Jean, Kurt/Kitty, minor hints...
Chapter 3: The Loss
The Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters had never been in such a state of sorrow. The day after the fateful mission that had killed their friend and leader, Scott Summers, was dreary, rainy, and very solemn for everybody at the institute. Nobody knew if the rain was because of Ororo or if it was just some cruel trick by nature to further worsen the feeling of loss all throughout the team. Whether or not they had been really close to Scott as a friend, he had always represented many things for the X-men. He was a leader, a role model, and a guide when it came to dealing with the struggle of being a mutant in an ever hostile world. And now that he was gone...It was as if a core piece of the team was gone as well.
Everybody was affected by the loss, but the two that were by far the worse were Professor Charles Xavier, the man who had taken him in when he was still young and looked upon as nothing short of a son, and Jean Grey, Scott's best friend and lover. Professor Xavier had felt the pain Jean had when he sensed Scott's mind die within his head. Cerebro had allowed him to feel such a horrible sensation and it had left the man deeply scarred in many ways. Since the tragedy, the Professor had confined himself to his study, where none of the students dared bother him in dealing with his grief.
"Professor?" said Ororo as she knocked on the door.
Not getting a response she tried again, but she had already known that her mentor probably wasn't going to reply. He was still trying to deal with this just as everybody else was. But as hard as it was, she knew that they had to help each other in this truly dark hour.
"Professor please..." coaxed Ororo once more as she opened the door and slowly walked in.
The Professor's position hadn't changed since the last time she checked up on him. He was still sitting still on his wheelchair, staring out the window in a solemn daze. The look on his face was a look Ororo could only describe as one of true sadness. Scott had been more than just a student for Xavier, he had been the first one to take in and help with his powers and his life. He was a young boy who had grown into a wonderful young man with so much potential...Only to have it end so violently and abruptly.
"I should have done something..." he said in a deep, monotone voice.
Those had been the only words he had spoken since it all happened. It pained Ororo to see him in such a state of sorrow...But then again, she too was having a hard time dealing with this.
"Charles...There's nothing you could have done. There's no way you could have known," said Ororo, trying to bring comfort to the man that had been such a big influence on her life, "Please...Stop doing this to yourself. Scott wouldn't want you in such a state."
The wheelchair bound man did not respond to the former African goddess's words. Finding it almost too hard to look at the hurt expression on his face, she set down a tray of tea and mini-cakes off to the side of him.
"At least eat..." said Ororo, "You can't let yourself whither away like this. The other students are hurting too. We all need you Professor. I know it hurts but...Please, don't do this to yourself."
Ororo then left the room, carefully shutting the door behind her. It left the Professor alone again...Confined to his solitude and fed by his grief. As soon as Ororo left, the crippled man looked bitterly down at his legs. Never before had he cursed his handicap so much. Because of these damned legs, he hadn't been there. A look of anger and bitterness then fell upon him as the Professor continued to blame the loss of his first student on himself and the decisions and inabilities that he should have been stronger in carrying out. What kind of mentor was he? He had sent his first student to his death. If only a few minor things had been different...He would still be here and the institute wouldn't be reeling from such a tremendous loss. He had known Scott since he first arrived as a sick, traumatized, undernourished little boy and he had seem him grow into a strong, upstanding young man over the years. But now he was gone...And he had nobody to blame but himself.
On a regular day, the halls of the institute would have been bustling with activity among the students. They would be socializing, going over schoolwork or danger room sessions, or simply chat like most young people so often did. But not today...Not on this most dreary of days.
Kitty never skipped anymore in her usual valley girl manner. Instead, she simply dragged herself around the institute with a deep look of sadness on her face. Kurt didn't joke around like he normally did. In fact, he had barely said a word since he got out of the infirmary. Bobby, who usually shared Kurt's free spirit attitude, was no different. He hadn't said much since he got back and was simply walking in endless circles around the quiet mansion, lost in his thoughts. Rogue, on the other hand, had chosen to stay in her room and simply lay in her bed staring at the ceiling. Her mind was still not fully comprehending the fact that one of her best friends was dead and never coming back. Part of her expected him to knock on her door at any minute, beckoning her to a danger room session or a team meeting. But there was nothing but silence...Solemn, morose silence.
For the rest of the students that had not gone on the mission, it was a true shock to see their elders come back with such sad looks on their faces. Logan had been the unlucky one to inform everybody about what had happened to Scott and even he couldn't hide his emotions from the shock of such a loss. It hit the younger students quite hard...Knowing one of them was now dead. A day earlier, many of them had seen and spoken to him about this or that...Now he was never coming back. The tender age of the other students made it hard for them process the feeling of having lost such a close friend and teammate. It was something that even the adults struggled with. Now, once cheery, playful demeanors were replaced by those of shock, sadness, and sorrow. For the first time...One of them had died as a result of their fight. And he didn't just die...He sacrificed himself.
In Jean's room, the young redhead that had been closer to Scott Summers than anybody else was still frozen in a state of sorrow as she lay in a curled up ball in her bed. Upon feeling the man she loved die in her head, she had passed out for the trip home and woken up in her room. At first she thought she had just had a horrible nightmare...But when she searched for him through their link, it only confirmed that it was no dream. And to make matters worse, she could feel and sense the sorrow of the others around her because of her powers. Her traumatized state had completely eroded her shields to the point of uselessness and now she didn't even have the strength to filter out the most simple of thoughts.
The stains of tears now riddled her face as Jean closed her eyes and tried to search for Scott again through their link.
'Scott...Please Scott...Answer me. Where are you? Don't leave me...'
But there was no response. No matter how hard she cried or how hard she searched, she would never find his warm presence again or feel it in her mind. The deep link that had formed over the years had died with him and now it felt as though a part of herself was missing. Such a feeling hurt unlike anything she had ever felt before. Her soul mate was dead...She was never going to see the man she loved ever again. They would never go out on dates, hold each other when they had a nightmare, make love to each other, or share deep kisses or romantic moments...And now they would never get a chance to go further in their relationship. They would never get married, have kids, or grow old together. Even though some might have scoffed at her for thinking such things at her age...She knew that he had been the one. Scott had been the man she could see herself with forever...But now she was alone. And she was never going to see him again.
In addition to the horrible loss she felt from feeling Scott die in her head, Jean also experienced many bad dreams about his past that few other people knew. Jean was one of the privileged few that knew Scott in depth and he was the only one who knew her the same way. She knew about his past, where he came from, and why he was the way he was. Ever since she got back, flashes of memories that Scott had shared with her through their link riddled her mind. They were mainly memories of his life during and after the plane crash. In her mind...She had seen the look on Scott's face when he and his little brother jumped from that plane as they watched their parents die right before their eyes. In her mind...She felt his sorrow upon waking up from a three month coma only to learn that he was the only survivor. In her mind...She saw how he was teased and picked on at the orphanage for being distant, depressed, and sad all the time. In her mind...She saw images of how he had been adopted by a cruel man and used as mere pet for his criminal activities. In her mind...She saw all the abuse, both mental and physical, that he had endured. In her mind...She saw how he was assaulted, tormented, and pushed to do things like steal or perform sexual favors. In her mind...She saw how he had run away and lived like a rat on the streets...Slowly wasting away. In her mind...She felt the painful, burning feeling in his eyes when his powers activated and he was forced to function blind. And in her mind...She saw the very moment when Professor Charles Xavier approached his impoverished form and offered him a chance at a new life.
Scott had never let anybody in on the secrets of his past...But he had entrusted such knowledge to her because she had gained his trust. And just like he wanted, she never told anybody. But she knew that his life had made him the staunch, uptight, somewhat stubborn man that others saw him as. He had gone through a lot...Yet he had become such a wonderful, caring, and compassionate young man. And now that he was gone, it hurt knowing she would never feel that love or compassion from him ever again.
Jean's gaze soon fell upon a picture that had been on her dresser for over a year now. Slowly, she reached out and took it in her hands and held it close for her to see. It was a picture taken of her and Scott not long after what happened in Mexico. It was the first picture taken of them after they had become an item. Even though they had been slow to fully admit just how deeply involved they were...When they finally came around it had been one of the best things to ever happen to her.
Jean then found herself gently running her hands over Scott's image on the picture, as if to reach him even though he was dead. In seeing the smile on both his and her face in that photo, her mind began too drift towards one of the many treasured memories she had of her and Scott. She closed her eyes and tried to return to a happier time...A time when the future looked bright and when he had been alive.
Jean sank into Scott's embrace as they sat comfortably on the hood of his car at lookout point. They were now far from the mansion, away from prying eyes so that they could share a quiet moment together. But this time, it had more significance, for they were still reeling from the battle against Apocalypse that they had fought so hard in and barely won. The sunset looked all the more beautiful as the young couple held each other tightly, musing over the recent events that had so greatly changed their lives.
"It's beautiful...Isn't it?" said Jean as she tightly held her boyfriend's hand.
"Yeah...Beautiful," agreed Scott as he looked back at her and planted a gentle kiss upon her cheek, causing her to sink deeper into his embrace.
"Everything seems so different after having stopped the world from being completely destroyed, doesn't it?" she mused as she thought about the battle that they had barely survived.
"I know...It makes it all seem a lot more significant, knowing it was almost all taken away. But we fought it...And we won."
"Yes...We fought...But I don't know if we did win Scott," said Jean, sounding worried, "I mean...What if Apocalypse comes back? What if we're not so lucky next time? What if..."
But Scott silently placed two fingers on her lips, stopping her before she let herself grow all the more anxious.
"Jean...You can't let yourself worry about that now. I know it's not easy forgetting something...Believe me I know. But the future isn't as important as the present. All that matters to me now is that we're here...Together."
Jean let out a sigh as she ran her hands along the side of his face, looking deeply into his eyes as if his glasses weren't even there to begin with.
"I know it's hard to forget...But I can't help but think about the future and where this will all lead us. The world is just so dangerous and we're always on the fringe of that danger. And I just...I don't want to lose my friends and family because of the lives we lead. And I especially don't want to lose you Scott..."
"Don't worry Jean...You won't lose me," he said softly, sending comforting feelings through their link, "If we can survive Apocalypse...Then I know we can survive anything. I think about the future too...But I try not to think the worst of it. I try to think about things like changing the world, fighting for peace, and growing old with you."
Jean's heart skipped a beat upon hearing him talk about growing old together. His touch made her weak in the knees and his gaze made her feel many powerful feelings. But then again, love tended to have that effect on people.
"Do you really want to grow old together?" asked Jean softly, "Does that include things like marriage, kids, and everything else in between?"
"I wouldn't have it any other way," said Scott as he gently placed a soft kiss on her lips.
Jean soon deepened the kiss and turned around in his lap to face him as she wrapped her hands around his neck and felt him embrace her in his strong arms.
'I love you...You know that right?' sent Jean through their link as they continued to kiss.
'I know...I love you too.'
'Don't ever leave me Scott...'
'I promise you Jean...I won't.'
As the memory played over in Jean's mind, more tears formed in her eyes. She remembered so vividly that day and many others like it when they shared such moments together...Both as friends and as lovers. There were so many memories she had with him that she wanted to treasure. And now that Scott was gone...Those memories were all she had left as she held the picture close to her heart.
Outside the mansion, the rain was falling in a steady downpour. To some, it seemed fitting for the mood at the institute. It was as if nature itself was weeping with them in their grief. Out near the gazebos looking over the lake, Kurt Wagner sat motionlessly as he let the rain soak him from head to toe. His fur was now wet with rain, but it didn't seem to bother the young mutant as he simply looked over the lake. Kurt didn't know how long he had been sitting like this, but it must have been for over an hour. It could have been longer, but he really didn't care anymore. He had never been in a state like this before. The only thing that came even remotely close was when Amanda broke up with him because she was moving away with her family. That alone had been difficult for him to deal with, but this was on a whole other level for him. His mind was somewhere else far, far away and even the thunder and lightning in the distance didn't seem to affect him.
Kurt was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't realize Kitty Pryde approaching him from behind. She had an umbrella and a light jacket to stay dry, but Kurt just continued to sit there letting himself get soaked.
"Kurt?" said Kitty as she approached him.
Kurt didn't respond in words. Instead, he merely looked back at her with a sad face.
"What are you doing out here?" she asked as she sat beside him and put the umbrella partially over him so he wouldn't get any more soaked than he already was.
"Thinking..." he answered non-chantingly, "Vhat about you...Vhat are you doing out here?"
Kitty also somewhat hesitated in her response, but she didn't let it happen for long.
"I just had to get out of the mansion," she finally answered, "Everybody is really taking it hard...Especially Jean and the Professor. I heard Mr. Logan say something about maybe even having to send Jean to a doctor if she doesn't get any better."
Kurt bowed his head in sorrow as he heard how his friends were suffering as a result of such a painful loss.
"I hope they don't resort to that...Death is not something that can be treated," said Kurt.
"I know...I hope it doesn't happen too."
Another silence fell over them as Kitty watched Kurt as he stared unmoving out over the lake. A low rumble of thunder was heard in the distance as the rain showed no signs of letting up. The hurt look in Kurt's eyes only grew worse...Something Kitty had not wanted to happen by talking to him. She couldn't stand seeing her friends in so much pain, Kurt especially. But to her, Kurt seemed even worse though as he continued to struggle with whatever he was thinking.
"Kurt...Come on. Let's get out of the rain," said Kitty.
Kurt simply shook his head, apparently not at all bothered by the pouring rain as it kept on soaking him down to the fur.
"No thanks Kitty...I'm fine right here," he answered.
"In the rain?" said Kitty as she looked sadly into his eyes, not wanting to see somebody she cared about in such a hurt state.
"I'm sorry Kitty...But I just can't go back in there," said Kurt as his words began to mix with sobs.
"But...Why?" replied Kitty.
Kurt looked away, not wanting to see the expression in her teary, blue eyes.
"Because I can't stand seeing everybody in so much pain!" he said in a more emotional tone, "All their looks...All their sorrow...It just keeps reminding me!"
"What do you mean? Reminding you of what?" asked Kitty, somewhat shocked by his sudden change in tone.
"Vhat do you think Kitty?! Of Scott!" he exclaimed, "Every time I hear someone cry or see the look on someone's face...It reminds me of how I failed. If...If I had just been there a moment sooner...Or if I hadn't gotten myself injured...Then maybe...He'd still be here. And ve vouldn't be going through all this."
Kitty saw the look of self hate that had been frozen on to Kurt's face as a result of saying those words. It was evident now that he blamed himself for Scott's death. He blamed himself for everybody being so sad and full of remorse. It was no wonder as to why he was doing this to himself now. It was almost as if he was punishing himself and Kitty couldn't stand seeing it.
"Kurt...You can't blame yourself," said Kitty as she put a gentle hand on his wet shoulder.
"How can you say that?!" exclaimed Kurt somewhat angrily, "I just left him there to die! I should have been stronger! I should have been faster! I should have been able to get both him and Bobby out! But I just left him..."
Kurt felt his voice soften somewhat as his words devolved into sobs. The whole thing played out in his head again and the final look on Scott's face was forever engraved into his consciousness. The look of his friend...The last look anyone ever saw of him before he...It was all just too much for the young man to take.
"I just left him there...I killed him," said Kurt weakly, "I might as well have done it with my bare hands by leaving him there. I killed one of my best friends...He's dead now because of me."
Kurt couldn't control his sobs as the rain mixed with his tears. In seeing his pain, Kitty saw a look of hurt upon the young man's face unlike anything she had ever seen before. Ever since their rocky start at her arrival, she and Kurt had always been pretty close. At first his appearance somewhat freaked her out, but upon learning what a kind, gentle person he was beneath that fur she found something in him that she didn't want to be without. That made seeing him like this all the more difficult as she moved in closer to him, not caring about his wet form.
"Kurt...It wasn't your fault," she said clearly so she could get it across to him as best she could, "There was nothing you could have done."
"No...I could've just grabbed him and tried to port both of them! I could've gone back sooner! I could've..."
Kitty didn't let him finish his words of angst as she gently took his hand and gave it a squeeze.
"Kurt...If you had done that then the mansion would be dealing with the deaths of two, or even three good friends instead of one. Scott willingly sacrificed himself so that we all could live. If you hadn't listened to him...Then you may have died too and so would Bobby."
Kitty's words did help somewhat. If the mansion was taking the death of one student this hard then it was almost impossible to imagine how they would take the death of two or three. But one of them was still dead...That much couldn't be avoided. Kurt kept going over the scenario in his mind. He recalled so vividly his injured condition and his weakened form. He didn't want to believe Scott when he said that he would never make it if he tried to teleport two people at once...But deep down he knew it was true. Had he tried...He probably would have died along with him and Bobby as well. Kurt just couldn't accept that there was no way Scott could have been saved. He wanted to believe that there was some way that his friend could have come out of that building...But every part of his mind kept telling him that he would have died anyways. And maybe...Scott knew that.
Kurt couldn't take it anymore as he began to break down. Every bit of his control over his emotions went out the door as he struggled to accept the death of his friend. He wanted to believe it wasn't true...But he was gone now...And he was never coming back.
"I can't...I should've..." he struggled, but was quickly overwhelmed by his grief, "I vish I could've done more...I vish I could have done something."
"I know...So do I," replied Kitty as she pulled him into a gentle embrace, letting him cry his tears as she ended up doing the same.
Both Kurt and Kitty clung to each other in the pouring rain, not minding how wet everything was or even the thunder and lightning in the distance. The sky itself seemed to be weeping along with them as both youths simply lost the ability to form words and let their cries of grief speak for themselves.
In the garage, Logan had sequestered himself from the rest of the gloom and sorrow of the institute. He was never a man who liked to show his emotions...But seeing all the students in such a sad state while trying to deal with the loss himself was almost too much for him to handle. In the end he simply tried busying himself with something else in order to help him forget.
For an unknown period of time the former living weapon found himself detailing his motorcycle and the X-van. He hoped getting his hands dirty and focusing on the vehicles instead of the tragedy would serve as a good distraction. But no matter how hard he worked or how much he tried to focus himself...He kept remembering. The look on every students face, the smell of their tears, and the sorrow he heard from them just wouldn't leave his mind and it was hurting him more than he ever would have cared to admit.
Losing Scott...The first student he ever taught with Ororo and the Professor...Was a grave blow to the man who had already lost so much in his long, illustrious life. But it was made worse when he was left to perform the grizzly task of informing the rest of the students. The real kicker, however, was when he had to call up Alex and inform him that the brother he had just found a little over a year ago...Was dead. He remembered vividly how Alex had yelled at him, screamed at him, and just plain unloaded on him for daring to lie to him about something like this...For he just wouldn't believe it. But by the end of the conversation on the phone...The younger Summers brother broke down into tears and he slammed the phone on the hook. Logan tried to call back...But he got no answer.
With a frustrated grunt, Logan tightened one last bolt on the X-van. It seemed as though the more he worked the more frustrated he got. He had almost run out of adjustments that needed to be made. Now he actually found himself taking things a part just so he could focus on putting them back together. But it wasn't distracting him...It was frustrating him to no end.
"Damn it!" he grunted as he pulled himself out from under the van and stood up, rubbing his dirty hands on his head in frustration.
It wasn't working...He just couldn't forget. It was strange in a sense how all his life, he had been trying to remember...Now all he wanted to do was forget all the faces of the saddened children and the final look on Scott's face before he made the ultimate sacrifice to save his friends. In the end...Logan felt that it was he who should have given his life to save them. But if he hadn't done what he did then maybe Bobby would have died or even Kurt. Ever since Xavier had turned him from a wild animal into the instructor of a bunch of mutant kids, Logan had vowed to protect the students that he had grown so close to. Scott was his first...And he couldn't even protect him.
Logan's frustrated expression soon shifted towards the other side of the garage and fell upon Scott's car. For some strange reason, he found himself walking over to it. It was the vehicle that the young man had taken such great care of over the years. He often compared Scott's love of his car to his own love of his motorcycle. He detailed it constantly, washed it impulsively, and unlike him, was a careful, considerate driver. The memory of the look on Scott's face when the Professor had presented the car to him as a gift would forever be engraved in his mind. The smile on his face, the excitement in his voice...It was hard to believe that there would never be any moments like that again.
As he looked at the car, his mind began to drift towards the others. The Professor was still in a state of shock upon losing someone he considered nothing short of a son. Jean was even worse and he worried for her greatly because she wasn't eating anything and had not moved from the position in her bed since they got back. Beast said that she may need to see a doctor if her state proves to be a risk to her health and Logan truly didn't want to see that.
He knew Jean was taking it the hardest because losing Scott had been like losing a part of herself. He remembered watching them grow together from age twelve. He could see it in their faces just how crazy they were about each other. Not being one to know a whole lot about love, he saw it first hand as he watched Scott and Jean grow so close over the years and develop a truly special bond. It was for this reason why he didn't give them a hard time when they started dating. He knew they liked to share romantic moments, he knew that they loved each other a great deal, and he even knew that they made love many times behind the back of him and the rest of the instructors. They were simply two people deeply in love...And now one of them was dead and the hurt Jean was in was almost too great for him to contemplate.
As Logan finally pulled himself way from the car and focused back on his motorcycle, he thought about what Scott had meant to the team. Even though he was young...He was still a leader and a role model for the team. He was a good kid...He had a bright future ahead of him. He had good grades, he had good friends, and he had a girl he was deeply in love with...And he was willing to sacrifice himself so that nobody else would die. Logan didn't know if he would have been able to do that if their positions had been reversed...But in considering the kind of person he knew Scott was, he understood why he did it.
The man had a genuine compassion for his friends. And while they didn't see eye to eye on everything, Logan took great pride in having seen him grow into such a respectable young man. He was a good kid with a good heart...And he didn't deserve to die. Logan found himself swallowing a lump in his throat as he forced himself to return to his work. But he already knew that no matter how hard he tried...He could never forget. And maybe...Part of him didn't want to in the end.
Bobby Drake had been walking around the mansion in circles for hours on end it seemed. Ever since he got out of the infirmary, he found it impossible to rest his weary young mind. He had never seen the mansion so quiet before. He had never seen everybody so sad before. He had been there on that fateful moment...He had heard Jean's cries and everybody's gasps as they saw the building with Scott still in it explode into a fireball.
Bobby had always been one to joke around and not take things as seriously as he knew he should. Even after he had proven himself strong and was allowed to join the team of regulars, he still goofed around. Now that he looked back on it, he knew it felt as though it was because he believed them to be the good guys. And his logic was that the good guys always won simply because they were good. But this was no comic or cartoon show...This was real life.
Bobby soon found himself stop as he looked into the living room to see Ray, Sam, Jubilee, Tabitha, and Amara still trying to help each other get over the shock of what Logan had told them. Everything had been so unexpected...The mission had just gone so horribly wrong. And for Bobby, he couldn't help but feel guilty in some ways.
Scott had given his life to save him. There was no doubt in his mind that he would have died had Scott not blasted through the rubble he was trapped behind and gotten him out. In his weakened state from the heat...There was little he could have done. He had been slow...He had fallen behind and gotten himself trapped. And for that reason, Scott fought his way back and saved him even at the expense of his own life. But what made things worse were the effects his death had on everybody. Scott was more than just a friend...He was a leader and a role model. He knew that the others, along with himself many times, teased him for being uptight and somewhat of a stiff when it came to looking after the team. He also remembered how he teased him while he was with Jean. Now, upon seeing how hard Jean was taking it and the news that she may have to get serious help for the trauma she suffered upon feeling her boyfriend die...He couldn't help but feel a tremendous regret for teasing him.
Scott was a leader and he had taken on the duty of keeping everything together with the others. And for that...They teased him. They scoffed at him for being such a straight arrow and simply doing what he thought was right. Now he was gone...He gave his life so that others could live. To Bobby he wasn't a stiff, a zealot, or an overachiever anymore...He was a hero. There were many things he wished he could have done. As a part of the regulars now...He was expected to serve as a role model for the others. But without Scott, it was as if a truly important piece was missing from the core of the X-men.
Bobby Drake was still a young kid in many ways...But upon joining the team and witnessing a friend come back and save his life at the expense of his own, he had been forced to grow up. As he resumed his endless walking throughout the vast institute he kept thinking about those final moments...And he would not soon forget them and the sacrifice that Scott Summers had made.
Rogue had given up trying to sleep in her bed as she lay flat on her back, staring at the ceiling. She could only remember getting a few hours of sleep last night. Between seeing all her friend in so much pain and remembering in vivid detail what had happened back at the facility, it was just too hard not to think about it.
For her, Scott Summers had always held a special place in her heart. It was because of him on that fateful day in the cave with Mystique that she ended up joining the institute. He had saved her life then nearly at the cost of his own...And he had done the same for others, this time making the ultimate sacrifice.
Having absorbed Scott many times before, she had parts of him still in her head and remembered some of the things she had experienced when she absorbed him. While she never told anybody, she wanted to hold on to it for herself. His powers were hard to deal with and she couldn't imagine having to live with the constant fear of hurting someone he cared about. Whenever she absorbed him, she didn't have to deal with his complicated situation of having to wear ruby-quartz glasses all the time, but Scott had done it for years.
And it wasn't just the powers she absorbed...She also sometimes got his memories. Among the most vivid were the memories of the plane crash that took his family away from him at such a young age. Everybody knew about it...But Rogue had seen in and experienced it like a nightmare. It truly was horrible beyond description to watch one's family die and she couldn't imagine how he could have dealt with it. Among his other memories...They were far more fuzzy and convoluted. Whenever she touched him, she got brief snippets of memories that seemed as though he was trying hard to guard...If not forget. These memories tended to be flashes of dark, dingy places and were dominated by leering, sinister looking men that caused a great deal of pain for him. While it wasn't clear to her what these memories meant, it was certain that they had been very hard for Scott to deal with.
As she lay in bed, she tried to sort though each clear memory that she did have of Scott. Some she absorbed, some she made the old fashioned way with experience. Others sometimes teased him for being uptight, yet in absorbing him and getting to know him she knew that such taunting was unjustified. Scott was the oldest and he was a leader and a role model to everybody at the institute. It was something he never took lightly even though it wasn't a role he had asked to have. Many times, she knew when he felt weary about his position because she absorbed his feelings...Yet he kept at it and managed to hold on even though he had many things to struggle with in order to keep it up...The teasing from the others being one of them. There were sides to Scott Summers that she knew that nobody else bothered to take the time to learn about. He had a side for fun, a side for compassion, a side humor...Many sides to him that he showed when he wasn't being Cyclops, leader of the X-men. But now she could add one more side to him that she knew...Hero.
Scott had made the ultimate sacrifice to save them...Now he was gone forever. Rogue had lost many things in her life...Family, memories, friends...But Scott was definitely a truly devastating blow not just to her, but to everybody. She didn't lie to herself in that she had a crush on Scott when she first came to the institute...Hell, all the girls probably did at some point. And even though he made it painfully clear that his heart belonged to Jean and Jean alone...That one crush really did a lot to help break her out of her shell. Even though she had somewhat gotten over that crush, thanks to a rather strange experience with a red eyed Cajun, Scott still a special place in her heart...And always would.
As Rogue went through all the memories she had with Scott...Suddenly, a voice echoed through her head.
'Everybody...Meet me in my study. There is something that we all need to discuss.'
It was the voice of Professor Xavier and it was the first time that they had heard his voice since they got back. But it was easy to tell that there was still a solemn, pained tone to his words. While part of Rogue didn't want to talk about what she knew the Professor was implying...Another part of her couldn't stand this hurt she felt. Not wanting to keep the others waiting or make them suffer without her...Rogue pulled herself out of bed and made her way down the hallway.
The rain continued to fall outside as everybody that had been on that fateful mission gathered in Xavier's study. Kurt was still soaking wet and so was Kitty. And Ororo had managed to finally coax Jean out of bed, which was surprising because this was the first time that anybody had seen her since they got back. While everybody was relieved that she was out of her room, her expression was by far the most difficult to look at. There was still a pain in her eyes...One that lingered upon feeling the man she loved die in her head. Professor Xavier didn't look much better as he prepared to address his students on this most difficult of times.
"For the first time...We have lost one of our students," he said as he struggled through what he had rehearsed many times in his head, "For the first time...We have lost a friend. And before I say anything more, I want you all to know that if there's anything you want to talk to us about in dealing with this issue, know that we're all here...But that's not the main reason why I called you here. I called you all...Because I wanted to let you know what is going to happen in the coming days. While I know it is still very hard and very difficult to accept...But Scott is gone."
The Professor had to stop for a moment as he tried to swallow his emotions while seeing the sad expressions on the faces of his students. Many were in tears, others were simply staring off into space with a dazed expression. But this had to be done...As hard as it may be for him and everybody else, he couldn't allow everyone to let this tragedy destroy them.
"I know that we were all affected by Scott in someway or another...And saying goodbye to him one last time is important. So I have scheduled a memorial service this Wednesday at Bayville United Church. And if anybody wishes to speak, please let us know and we'll help organize it. Then...A small stone monument will be constructed on the grounds of the institute overlooking the lake where we will say our final goodbyes. While I'm sorry to say that we don't have a body left to bury...If any of you wish to place something in his coffin in his memory...Please feel free to do so."
More tears flowed as the mention of Scott's funeral only confirmed what some were still struggling to process. The longer they lived this nightmare of sorrow...The more clear it became that Scott was dead and never coming back. But the Professor wasn't finished yet...There were still some things that needed to be addressed before he let everybody go and deal with this horrible tragedy in their own way.
"Scott was...Many things to this team. To me...He was like a son in every way except blood. He was truly the first one to take on the duties of an X-man...And losing him...Has been difficult for me to bear as I know it is for the rest of you."
The Professor tried not to let his tears show, but the more he talked about this...The worse it became. He had to stop himself again and only through the support of Hank, Logan, and Ororo by his side was he able to regain his composure.
"We all knew him...Both in and out of uniform. And now that you know what is going to happen...I wish to open the floor anybody who feels they need to get talk about this tragedy."
As he finished, a heavy silence fell over his students...Each one not wanting to talk about something so hard. Soon, only the sound of the rain tapping against the window could be heard. Everybody seemed too afraid or too full of remorse to speak up. Then...Bobby finally broke the silence.
"Professor...I don't think there's anything to talk about. Scott is dead...He died saving my miserable life...End of story."
"No Bobby...That's not the end," said the Professor, but before he could continue, he was cut off by another voice.
"He's right professor..." said Kurt, "Talking about him won't bring him back. And I don't think I want to discuss it...It's all just so...Sudden. I mean...One of us is dead. One of us went on a mission and didn't come back..."
Xavier let out a deep sigh as he saw the look of struggle on the faces of his students when they tried to talk about this. For many of them, this was the first time in dealing with the death of someone they cared about. Their tender age made them somewhat vulnerable to the sorrow that death brought. But if they were to survive as a team and a school...They would have to fight this so that Scott's sacrifice had not been in vain.
"I understand that...The aura of youth and invulnerability has been forever shattered by this. We all like to think that we will always come out on top simply because we conceive ourselves to be the good guys. But whether one is good or bad...We are all equally mortal. Scott knew that when he made the sacrifice he did...And no matter what, we have to honor that sacrifice."
"But why did he do it?!" said Kitty, who was doing a poor job of holding back her sobs, "Why would Scott let himself die like that? Why?"
Professor Charles Xavier had a feeling that this might come up...But part of him hoped that it wouldn't. Looking over at Jean...Who knew all to well the answer to Kitty's question...He let out a deep sigh.
"Because Scott loved you all dearly," answered Xavier, "You were all like family to him. And while all of you know that Scott was forced to watch his parents die right before his eyes...I don't think many of you know the true effects that it had on him."
"But that doesn't explain why?" said Bobby, who wanted to know the answer just as badly as everybody else did, "Why would he give up everything like that?"
"Because this team and this school was ALL he had," answered the Professor, "Scott...Had his reasons for doing what he did. And while I know that some of you may never understand why, just know this...Scott suffered a lot in his life. He went through a lot of pain...Not just with his powers, but in general as well. And no matter how much pain he had to deal with...He was always determined not to let those he care about feel it."
"Pain?" said Kurt with a confused expression on his face, "Vhat are you talking about Professor?"
Everybody was now looking at the Professor strangely, not knowing what he was talking about. The Professor knew that there was no way that they could have known...So it was in turn, his job to tell them so that they would forever understand Scott Summers and why he was the way he was.
"I think...You all deserve to know who Scott Summers truly is. Now that he's gone...I think its best you know the kind of life that he lived. Maybe...It will shed some light on why he was the way he was and why he was so willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for his friends."
The Professor then took a deep breath as he prepared his telepathy, knowing that this was going to be difficult for both him and the students.
"Now...Open your minds my students...And let me show you the life of Scott Summers."
As everybody did as they were told, they were suddenly bombarded with a barrage of images that flashed within their minds.
In the cold skies over Alaska...They saw two scared little boys look out over a burning plane with great fear and anxiety as they clung to their parents, crying and pleading with them not to make them go. But the gentle words of both the man and the woman dissuaded them...Telling the two boys "Go now...We'll be okay. I promise."
Then, they saw the boys jump with fear in their eyes as they looked back and to their horror...Saw the plane explode as if it was happening just now. Then, in a flash...They saw a injured little boy lying motionlessly in a hospital bed. He was in a lot of pain...They could sense it. But as he woke up, the first things that were said were "Scott...Scott can you hear me? You're very lucky to be alive. You were the only survivor. I'm sorry but...You're parents and brother didn't make it."
In another flash, they saw the same boy living in a dirty orphanage, scared and alone...Deeply saddened by his loss. Others picked on him...Nobody wanted him. Nobody wanted a scared, brain damaged little boy.
In another flash, they saw a cruel man come and adopt Scott illegally and force him into a live of crime and poverty. They saw him sleep in cold, dark alleys and steal whatever he was told to...Otherwise he would face brutal punishment. They saw how this and other cruel men tortured and used the boy in many sick ways, forcing him to endure both physical and mental abuse.
In another flash, they saw how he lost control of his powers...Blowing away the man that had beaten and abused him to no end and running away with tears in his eyes until his powers completely took over and he was forever blinded by them.
In another flash, they saw him huddled in a corner...Scared, weak, and horribly undernourished as a man in a wheelchair came up to him and said "Scott...You don't have to live like this...You don't have to deal with your pain alone. I can help you...I can give you a home. Please...Just give me a chance."
Then...A fury of scenes of his early years at the institute, his growth in strength as a person and a leader, and his meeting of new friends...Culminating in seeing him fall in love with Jean.
Then finally...It all stopped.
As soon as everybody found themselves back in Xavier's study, looks of great shock and horror fell upon their faces. Many were bursting with tears as they saw the horrors that Scott had gone through. Jean, who had known about this beforehand, cried the hardest as she was reminded of how hard Scott's life was and how it affected him. But hardest of all...Was the final scene at the end when it showed him falling in love with her in the same way she fell in love with him. For the others, it was truly a shocking revelation to know that their strong, stoic leader had endured such horrors in his life. Many were too choked up to say anything...Until Kurt finally broke the silence.
"Professor...Vhy did you show us that?"
"Because Kurt...You all had to know the truth," said the Professor, trying hard to help alleviate the horrors of what they had just seen, "Scott's life...Was one of great difficulty and struggle. He lost a lot...His family, his childhood, and his innocence. It hurt him...But it also influenced him. He once told me...That his biggest fear was seeing his friends in pain because of him. He knew first hand how bad it felt and how horribly it affected him...And in the end, that is the main reason why he was willing to die to save his friends."
Many of those who had teased Scott about being uptight or overprotective now felt a pain of guilt surge through them. Given what they had just seen...It was no wonder why he worked so hard to keep those he cared about out of harms way. It wasn't because he was a jerk or because he was ignorant...It was because he didn't want them to feel pain.
Nobody had the strength to say anymore now. Kitty had collapsed in tears into Kurt's arms, Rogue had left the room in a wave of sobs, Bobby simply stood there as still as a statue upon seeing what he had just been shown, and Jean was left hugging her knees for a while before she too left the room and returned to her bedroom.
Upon reaching her room, Jean collapsed on her bed and cried her heart out. Seeing Scott's past...Remembering the sacrifice he had made for them...It was just too much for her to deal with. Once again, she found herself taking the picture of her and Scott that she had been holding earlier and hugged it close to her heart. Everybody at the mansion was hit hard by Scott's death...But she was by far hit the hardest. She would never feel his arms around her body or hear his voice ever again except in dreams and memories. In holding on to the framed picture of happier times when he was alive and they were just two young people in love, Jean Grey simply cried herself to sleep...But not before sending one last thing through the now empty link.
'Goodbye Scott...I'll always love you...And both I and everybody else here at the institute will never forget you.'
In a remote location near Lake Erie in upstate New York, a strange aircraft that was flying without lights and under the cover of both the night and a turbulent storm quickly descended into what looked like an old country club or estate. The ground suddenly opened up below the craft in a hidden landing zone was unveiled. Once the aircraft landed, the large doorways on the ground were quickly closed and a series of lights were turned on around the area.
Out of the plane, three ominous figures walked out with a strange glass containment tank shaped for one person. In that tank, the still unmoving body of Scott Summers laid with little signs of life. But that didn't seem to bother the three other figures. They were known as the Nasty Boys. They included Gorgeous George, a super strong mutant with muscle and invulnerability; Ruckus, a tall long haired mutant with the ability to shout super loud burst of sound; and Vertigo, a psychic mutant with the power to incapacitate and disorient any weak mind and body to the point of uselessness.
They all walked in a stride of triumph, for everything that they were assigned to do had gone off without a hitch. As the three of them made their way out of the hanger with the glass container being moved along by Gorgeous George, they approached a mechanical sliding door. As it opened...A new figure stepped out.
"Is that the specimen?" asked the dark figure in a sinister voice.
"You bet Mr. Sinister!" said George, "Easy as a freakin' cake walk!"
The man known as Sinister, who bore a full black body suit with strange extension in the back, pasty white skin, and glowing red eyes flashed an approving grin as he looked down at the body in the glass.
"Excellent...Everything I have planned is finally coming to pass. I have waited many years for this day...Now my dream is finally upon us. And this feeble little mutant...Will be the medium for a very sinister future!"
AN: Well, that's it for now. I know this chapter was sad and full of angst, but I feel it was necessary to show the true effects that death had on everybody at the institute. Angst or not, this is still just the beginning! You'll see how the institute copes and just what Sinister is up to. I assure you, you won't want to miss it! So what do you think so far? Do you want me to continue? Please tell me! Send me your reviews via email or post them on the fanfiction website! I'm eager to know what you think about this story as it progresses so I implore you to send me your thoughts! Thanks for reading everybody!
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