Disclaimer: Scott Summers and Jean Grey are wholly property of marvel. Ding Dong, Jemas is dead... Er. Sidetracked. Dave Creegan, Enwright, the OSC, and anyone else Dave mentions belong to the BBC, I think. Possibly ITV. None of these characters is mine. No money is sought, nor will it be received for the reception of this fic. I won't pay you blighters to read it.

Rating: Eh. PG.

Notes: Touching Evil crossed over with the X-Men. How cliche.

A Surfeit of Whiskey

by Ana Lyssie Cotton

London, a pub.

He'd been drinking steadily for hours. It was a careful steady, pacing it out so that he stayed consistantly drunk. Not all there, he found that the waitress gave him the occasional odd look, but he ignored it. Forgetting was the point, although he'd actually forgotten that now.

Someone sat at the table next to him, and he raised his current shot. "To... to family."

"I'll drink to that," The other man replied, his voice British in its inflections. "Got another glass?"

"Sure, sure." Handing over the bottle, Scott raised his glass again. "To family."

"Indeed."

They both downed their shots, the other man gasping as the fire travelled down to his stomach. "That's a good one."

"Yes."

"Another?"

"I think I'm fine for now."

"Ah. I'll continue the tradition, then." He raised the bottle. "To Enwright, may he rot in hell."

"Here, here." Polite to a fault, Scott vaguely wondered if he should worry for this Enwright man. His vision blurred slightly, and he blinked as the waitress reappeared, looking like nothing so much as a four-headed bright red llama.

"Sir?"

"We'll have another glass and another bottle," The other man suggested. He moved to Scott's table and reached out to pinch the candle flame. "Ow."

The waitress looked at them both, then shrugged. "As you wish."

Once she was gone, the other man held a hand to him. "Dave Creegan."

"Scott Summers."

They shook. "So, Scott, what's the reason to drown your sorrows?"

Carefully pouring another shot from the bottle, he concentrated so that the liquor didn't spill. "Things."

"Ah." Dave leant back in his chair. "Things."

It hit Scott, suddenly. This was silly. He was drinking, in a bar, in the middle of London without a thought for anything but ignoring his life. A stab of pain slithered into his brain as he remembered the last words he'd shared with his brother.

"My wife wanted a divorce." There was disinterest in Dave's tone as he began drawing with the spilled droplets of whiskey. "Said I was too wrapped in my work. Fine, I said. Then I got shot."

"Since you're walking, it wasn't fatal."

"It was, actually. But the doctors these days, they're great." A soft laugh. "Kerry still said... she still said goodbye." He looked away then, eyes going blank.

"My brother accused me of being a mind-controlled robot." Scott downed his shot and winced. "Maybe he's right."

"I thought you looked familiar. You were in the news a few weeks back--helping destroy New York, they said."

A grimace crossed Scott's face, "Going to turn in the mutant terrorist to the authorities?"

"You planning on paying your bar tab?"

"Yes."

"No."

Scott decided that his brain must be completely gone with alcohol. He shook his head at Creegan. "We were trying to save New York."

"Did a fabulous job."

Guilt crashed down on him, and he bent his head to pour another glass. "Yes. It wasn't enough."

"Never is." Creegan grabbed the bottle from him, "You'll spill that. And if you really want to drink yourself into a grave, it's much better if you go with all of it instead of half."

The odd tone to his voice, made Scott stare at him. "I--I don't want to die. I just want the pain to go away for a little bit."

"It's never only a little bit."

Scott laughed, sounding like a broken hinge. He winced. "Onslaught--the creature who destroyed New York--he was--is--my mentor. My teacher." He shook his head. "I should have been able to stop him. To see...."

"Can't see everything. I didn't see one bullet. You didn't see destruction." Creegan downed a long swallow and sighed. "And here we are, wallowing in it."

"I need a good wallow," Scott replied stubbornly. "Even my wife thinks I need one."

"At least you still have one."

"Point." Reaching for his water glass, Scott sipped slowly. "Of course, it wasn't easy to get her. She died, you know..."

Creegan was silent for a moment, then he picked up the bottle and poured himself another shot. "This is going to be a three-bottle night, isn't it."

"Probably." Settling himself in his chair more comfortably, Scott grinned. "She was the prettiest girl I'd ever laid eyes on..."

--

Dave Creegan sat back in his chair, cradling the half-empty bottle of whiskey. This promised to be a long and somewhat distracting tale. As the hour passed, he concluded he'd been right. The bottle was much emptier, and Scott was explaining about his son--now aged older than him--not even talking to him when the waitress returned.

"Something to eat, sirs?"

"Um. Some nachos, or something?"

She gave a patient sigh, "Chips with cheese, then?"

Scott was sipping at his water again. Dave answered, suddenly realising that he was hungry. "Yes."

"Right, then. I'll be back in a bit."

"Where was I?"

"Angsting."

"True." Summers raised his head and gave Dave a nearly-intelligent look. "So, what's your story?"

"Wife left me, took the kids--two daughters. I see 'em, sometimes. And I'm being hired back to work. Enwright's told me I have a week left before my 'sabbatical' ends." He shook his head. "I'm a detective about to become a member of the highly involved Organised and Serial Crimes Unit. I don't want to have to think about living anymore."

"Happy being half-dead?"

"Yeah."

They were silent a moment. Then Scott slowly nodded, "But you're good at your job, aren't you?"

"One of the best."

"You should do it, then. Go back to work. Keep saving the helpless." His lips twisted into a humourless smile.

"The helpless... Yeah."

Scott leaned across the table and touched his shoulder. "I'm serious, man. What you do--I don't think I'd trade places with you. Not even if your wife came back and your life was happy again."

"Hard job, then?"

"Certainly."

"I don't think I can do that, Scott. Why don't I come home with you. Think the wife would mind you bringing a broken-down British cop home?"

"She'd feed you chocolate-chip pancakes and hot cocoa."

"Tempting. Very tempting."

"And then send you back." There was something that might have been compassion in Summers' eyes. "We could send you care packages of pancakes, except I don't think they'd survive."

"We could freeze them." The voice was female and American, and lightly amused. The redhead it belonged to walked gracefully to the table and studied the two of them. "Of course, I could just dump you both in Antarctica until you begin to realise the errors of your ways."

"I'd lose my eyebrows." Dave pointed out. "And my toes. And my fingers. How would I type long and boring OSC reports without my fingers?"

"Use your tongue?"

"I'd use my toes," Scott announced, reaching out to poke the redhead. "Ah. You are real."

She chuckled, then looked at Dave. "I'm Jean Grey-Summers."

"Dave Creegan."

"Nice to meet you. I hope my husband hasn't bored you."

"No. It's been... odd."

"Ah."

The waitress reappeared, a steaming plate of something covered in cheese on her tray. "Will you be wanting anything, ma'am?"

"No." Mrs. Summers eyed the platter. "And neither will they. We'd like the check, please."

"Jean--"

"No more alcohol. For either of you." She eyed the bottle Dave was still clutching. "I see I'm going to have to be the sober one."

The waitress returned with the check. "Just pay at the front, ma'am."

"Thank you." Jean looked at the check then pulled out her wallet and left some bills on the table. "Right, gentlemen. Up we go."

Scott required assistance, and both ended up slinging arms around him as they stumbled out of the small pub and into the London streets. Night had fallen, and with it a soft rain. Dave wondered what he was doing still hanging around with International Mutant Terrorists, but decided he didn't care as they entered the lobby of a small motel.

--

Jean Grey watched as Scott and Dave both finally succumbed to exhaustion, curling up and sleeping. She'd deliberately made them both sit on the bed, knowing they needed sleep. For a moment, she watched them, listening as they started to snore softly. Then she stood and fetched a blanket from the closet, covering them.

It was nearly dawn. They'd talked all night, about everything. Dave's life, their's. He knew as much about their time in the future as they did. It had felt good to tell someone. And, in some way, Dave had perhaps understood. She'd been careful not to read him. It wouldn't be polite, and he certainly hadn't offered them harm. And he was rather hurt himself. She sighed softly.

Maybe talking to them had helped him. Maybe not.

Deciding it didn't matter, she curled into her chair again and pillowed her head on the arm.

They were like two old dogs, refusing to admit how tired they were until they fall asleep on your foot, she decided sleepily. In the morning, she might just tell them that.

-finis-