Minisinoo -- Chocolate Milk
deals with Scott's defectioon, Jean POV, c. 4300 words
(I believe this story has the honor of being the
very first Ultimate X-Men fanfic story written and posted publicly.)
X-Men, post issues #3-4. SPOILERS for Ultimate #4. This story
stretches from just before the mission to rescue the president's daughter,
to Jean's discovery that Scott is leaving. Although I do repeat here the
final conversation between Scott and the professor, if you haven't followed
the Ultimate series, you read this at your own risk of confusion.
It's a classic fanfic excursion into "the scenes they didn't show you."
Beware of language; and Scott talks about things that aren't pretty. The
comic tries to make the students sound tough and hip, but still maintain
comic code, so it sometimes just sounds awkward. I don't have to follow
comic code . . . so I don't. I'm sure at least some of this story will
be contradicted in the future, but what the heck. (Later note:
in issue #5, Jean implies that she doesn't know why Scott left, but pretend
you didn't read that panel.)
One of the things I like so far about Ultimate is that (most of)
the characters are less black and white, including Xavier and Magneto.
And although we haven't been told much about the students' backgrounds
yet, aside from what's on the official site (very little), I'm going to
assume a few traditional things about Scott, e.g., that he's an orphan,
and spent time on the street where he hustled pool, and was used by Jack
Winters (Jack O'Diamonds). In keeping with Ultimate's darker
tone, I've played that background even harder. I'm also preserving his
old nickname, Slim.
X-Men is written by Mark Millar, and the X-Men franchise belongs
to Marvel. This is a work of fanfiction inspired by the series, and
god knows, it earns no profit.
Scott sits on the back steps of the
mansion kitchen's rear entrance - what used to be the servants' door.
He's wearing his uniform, staring off at the line of pines along the back
of the yard. And thinking. Planning tactics, probably, figuring
out how we'll get Little Miss Cashmere-and-Pearls out of Magneto's clutches.
And drinking chocolate milk.
My Beaver in black leather.
Except he's not. Beaver Cleaver
is only who he'd like to be in a perfect 1950s world. In a world
of Sentinels and drug lords and Reality TV, he's a mutant, and before that,
an orphan and a run-away. He's seen more things and done more things
to survive than I can imagine. Telepathic exposure can grow you up
fast, but it's still by proxy. Scott lived it, and he doesn't talk
about it. He's told me a few funny stories, like the pet wolf spider
he kept to kill the roaches in one dive where he slept. But like
a combat vet, he skips the hard stuff. I don't know if he's protecting
me, or if he just can't talk about it. I wasn't here yet when the
professor first found him, but I do know Xavier had to throw him in a de-tox
tank before he could do anything else with him.
These days, his worst vice is chocolate
milk. Chocolate anything, really, but chocolate milk is what the
mansion had better never be out of, or we hear about it. I
hear about it. The Man with the Milk Mustache. He can go through
a gallon of the stuff in two days. He'll put up with regular vitamin
D white, if there's nothing else in the fridge, but the chocolate milk
is his. He drinks it straight out of the jug, so who else wants it,
Now, I wander out the door to plop
down next to him on the steps. "Didn't anyone ever teach you to use
a glass, Slim?" It's my usual question. He gives his usual
answer - a shrug - and takes another swig. It makes me
smile as I tap out a cigarette from my pack and light it. He has
chocolate milk, I have Camel Wides. This is my flirtation with the
Dark Side of the Force. Deep drag and the nicotine rush makes me
shiver a little, calms my body. He watches. He doesn't approve.
I don't care. Yet I do. We don't even have that conversation
any more. I'm careful to blow smoke away from him. I think
cigarettes are the only vice Scott never took up. He tells me they
make me look ugly. I tell him to go to hell. Which is why we
don't have that conversation.
But I'm trying to quit. For
him. I bought some of those stupid little patches in the three different
sizes and I'm down to step number two. All for a man who chugs chocolate
milk. But however much of an annoying son of a bitch he can be, he's
also my friend, and it genuinely bothers him. He can't hide that
from me. So I'm going to quit.
But not today. I fill my lungs
with smoke and speak on the exhale. "You're not happy about this
"No shit, Sherlock. But the
professor gave us a job; I'll do it."
"Is that the only reason?"
He doesn't reply, drinks more milk.
"In there," I jerk a thumb back towards
the Situation Room, "you said the professor was right."
"I guess." He sets down the
jug on the step between his knees, and sighs. "No, I know he's right.
Violence won't end violence."
He glances at me, gives that funny
Scott-smile. "Isn't that what you'd tell me, too?"
"Maybe. But I want to hear
what you really think. You're just parroting now."
He doesn't reply immediately, rubs
a thumb up and down the handle of rough plastic. I smoke and wait.
I've learned with Scott to wait. He can wisecrack as quick as the
next guy - quicker - but when he's being serious, he wants to
think it all through. Finally he says, "He has a point. But
he's doing this to get a bargaining chip, make the president owe him a
favor. That might work in the short-run - for this month, next
month, the one after. But people have short memories when it comes
"I'm not most people."
He's not trying to be funny but I
laugh anyway and he realizes, belatedly, how that sounded - grins.
He does have a sense of humor about himself at least. "You know what
I meant," he says.
"Of course. But you just set
yourself up for these things sometimes." I put an arm around his
shoulders. Companionable. Yet he stiffens, and I let him go.
I shouldn't tease him, even unintentionally. I know how he feels
about me. The stupid thing is, he knows I know. I'm
a telepath. But he's never said anything. Maybe he figures
he doesn't need to, that if I'm interested in return, I'll tell him.
But that's too easy. If he wants me, he's going to have to tell me.
With words. I'm not getting into a relationship where I have to do
all the work. Logan wouldn't expect me to read his mind.
Jesus. Where had that come
from? And what is it about Bad Boys that I find so attractive?
One who wants to be Beaver Cleaver, one who wants to be Mad Max.
"What'd you think of what Logan said in the Danger Room -- about coming
here for 'the scenery'?" I ask now.
He shifts, glances at me. "He
meant you, y'know. You're the scenery."
I feel my skin go red and mentally
damn my complexion. I hadn't taken it that way. But I'm terribly
flattered for some stupid reason.
"I don't like him," Scott says.
Tell me something I don't know, Slim.
"He's after something," Scott adds.
"Well, yeah. Duh. The
question is what."
The Scott-grin again. He should
patent it. "I don't know what yet, Jean. We watch him
to find out. And we don't trust him. Entirely." He gives
me a warning look. Jealous, Scott?
Maybe it'll incite him get off his
duff finally and say something to me about his feelings. But if he
did speak, what would I say back? Two weeks ago, I'd have said yes
without stopping to think twice. That was before Logan arrived.
Logan's too old for me. Logan's dangerous. "I don't
trust him," I say aloud now. "I don't even like him much. But
I do feel for him. He's really screwed up, Scott. People screwed
him over but good."
Scott takes a final swallow then
pops the cap back on the milk jug, stands. "Yeah? Well, life's
a bitch. Pity for poor Wolverine." And he goes back inside.
I sigh and crush out what's left
of my cigarette, follow him, catch him up in the hallway. "I didn't
say you've had it easy. But you do have it together more, even though
"No, I fake it better." He'd
never admit that to anyone but me. Not even to the professor.
I grab his hand and pull him to a
stop, ignore his discomfort with the contact. "It's not all just
a show. I may tease you, but I trust you. Implicitly.
You're a good man."
He doesn't say anything but I can
feel his mind whirling. Pleasure, at my praise; he stands an inch
taller. But underneath that is shame. He doesn't really believe
me, that he's a good man, and I wonder for the hundredth time what he hides
about his past, what makes him so desperate to be a boy scout, what makes
him so anxious to control every little detail, what makes him so
protective of his dignity. It's more than the power of his eyes.
Like telepathy, three years on the street can make a kid old, fast.
Scott's eighteen going on forty. I can't imagine him playing or laughing
or just being silly. It's like that part of him got burned out before
he ever had a chance to find it. Some day, I'd like to see him laugh
just because he's happy. Not with sarcasm or cynicism or bitter humor.
But laugh because he's having fun. I've never seen that, which
is a tragedy because I think he might have a beautiful smile. I'm
not sure he even knows how to laugh like that. His heart is all wrapped
about in barbed wire.
"Hey," I say now, and tug him closer.
There's no one around, no one to see. "Lean down."
"Why?" But he does it, bends
slightly at the waist.
Softly, I kiss his scratchy cheek,
whisper in his ear, "You are a good man, Slim." And then I
leave him there, dazed.
After the mission, it's Scott who
pilots back to the mansion. I'm too busy helping Storm keep Hank
alive to give Scott much thought. But I can feel his frustration,
his fear, and his guilt. It radiates off him in waves like heat from
a sidewalk . Nothing shows on his face. You'd think he didn't care,
unless you watched close enough to see his hand grip the throttle convulsively.
He's going to be okay, I send
at one point. I don't need to specify who 'he' is.
Scott doesn't glance around at me,
but he does glance at the girl in the passenger seat behind the co-pilot's
chair. Miss Cashmere-and-Pearls, the president's dim-witted daughter.
I'm almost embarrassed that we share red hair. She sits stiff in
her seat, obviously terrified - as terrified of us, her rescuers,
as of the ones who'd kidnaped her in the first place. She's afraid
that she might
catch it, being a mutant, just from breathing the
same air we do. She's my age, but I feel a hundred years older.
He'd better be okay, I hear
Scott think. The little bitch isn't fit to lick his toes clean.
I have a feeling he might have said something other than 'toes' if I hadn't
been listening. It's funny, how he tries to shelter me, even from
After we set down in the mansion
hanger, I must go to the infirmary, to help the professor try to save Hank.
But I take a moment, maybe thirty seconds, to stop by Scott who is unstrapping
himself from the pilot's chair, set a hand on his bare upper arm.
He fumbles his harness and turns his head down towards my hand. We
don't speak, not even mentally. I just send him my affection.
Whatever else happens, we'll always be friends.
That's what I thought then.
We'd always be friends.
I'm sitting in the kitchen now, his
jug of chocolate milk sitting on the table in front of me while I occupy
a chair, feet up, arms around my knees. I stare at it.
God, Scott. Who's going to
finish the milk? And why'd you leave me?
But I know why.
I caught him. Before he left.
Before he stole the blackbird and ran away. I didn't realize that's
what he was going to do - take the 'bird - or I'd have prevented
that, at least. But I didn't stop him from leaving. I tried,
but only with words. I didn't force him. I didn't try to make
him stay like the professor did.
I hate Xavier.
And I hate myself.
I was in bed - with Logan -
when the professor opened the connection between my mind and his, let me
overhear his final conversation with Scott. I wonder if he knew where
I was at the time? Probably. But he made me a silent witness
to that awful exchange:
"We're hardly going nowhere,
Scott. I've just arranged the first human-mutant summit and negotiated
a suspension of the Sentinel program, for God's sake."
"You mean we're supposed to be
grateful because the Texan's given us a temporary stay of execution? I'm
not interested in getting a few scraps from their table anymore. I just
want the same rights as everybody else."
"But you have to look at this
from their perspective, Cyclops. A new race has emerged, bombed
their cities and declared they're here to replace them. The
Sentinels were an obvious knee-jerk reaction, but getting everyone around
the negotiating table was our objective from the beginning."
"Why should we sit down and negotiate
with the kind of scum who put Henry McCoy in a coma?"
"Because they're human beings,
Cyclops. And whether you like it or not, we're sharing this planet with
six billion of them. Magneto's ideas for a new and better world are attractive
to any young mutant, but you must understand that he remains the single,
greatest threat to our fragile peace process. As much as I treasure all
forms of life, I wouldn't hesitate to switch off his brain if it
wasn't for the thought-proof helmet he wears to protect himself.
"The others look up to you, Scott.
You leaving now would have a disastrous effect at such a pivotal stage
in my plans. Why don't you go back to your room and unpack, and we'll say
nothing else about this unfortunate little episode, eh?"
"Professor . . . are you doing
something to my mind?"
"Just releasing a pleasant hormone
into your bloodstream to calm those rising tempers, my friend. We were
about to exchange six very unpleasant sentences, and I know for a fact
that a reasonable boy like you couldn't possibly mean the fifth
"Can you read what I'm thinking
"Language like that betrays a
limited vocabulary, Cyclops."
"Well, right now I'm feeling monosyllabic,
man. Give me a call when you get tired of sucking up to the evil empire."
That's when Beast's call from
the infirmary interrupted. And while I'd been overjoyed to hear him
conscious and complaining, I hadn't had time to answer his questions.
I'd been out of Logan's bed and into my clothes before Scott and the professor
were halfway through speaking, and I was through the door just a few seconds
later, leaving a very startled, naked Wolverine sitting up in bed, staring
after me in complete confusion. "Hey! Was it something I said
or something I did?"
"Neither," I called back.
When you're about to lose your very
best friend in the whole cold world, you don't play fair. I used my telepathy
to locate him. He was on his way to the lower levels. I assumed,
then, that he was after his bike, and went flying down the emergency stairs,
raced the hall to catch him. He heard me coming and stopped, turned
to face me, expression that of a man on death row. "What?" he said.
It wasn't really a question. It was a warning. Stay away
I didn't listen, I just grabbed him.
He was my life raft. "Don't go!"
He shoved me away. Hard.
"Go cling to Logan."
Oh, shit. He knew.
How he knew, I didn't have a clue, but he did. He must have seen
something when I didn't realize we were being watched. Maybe in the
garden? Not that it mattered. Done was done. I'd never
meant to hurt him. Everything in him screamed betrayal now; it was
heavy in his gut like slug iron and almost brought me to my knees.
But the betrayal stemmed from more than just what I'd done. I'd come
after him in the first place to try to undo Xavier's damage.
The professor doesn't understand
Scott. Not fully. He doesn't understand Scott's terror of being
controlled. Scott will micro-manage everybody's else's life, but
if anyone tries to compel him, he freaks and goes ballistic. No question
that it has something to do with his past but he's never told me what.
I just know better than to try to compel him. Ask, and he'll bend
over backwards for you. Demand and he'll put a fist in your face.
He'd started walking again.
I hurried to catch up with his long legs. "Just listen to
"Because you owe it to me."
"I don't owe you shit, little girl."
"Yes, you do!" I grabbed him
again. Probably a mistake, but I did it anyway. All his pain
and grief poured through me. "You owe me as a friend!"
"I don't have any friends,"
he spat it in my face. "Or didn't you notice?" But he
let me hold on to him when he could easily have shaken me off again.
He wanted me to contradict him, needed it. I obliged. I'd do
anything to keep him.
"You do have friends, Scott.
You have me."
"Logan has you." Bitter, bitter
"You stupid ass!" Now, I was
pissed. "Who I sleep with has nothing to do with who my friends are.
Or who I care about most."
That awful smirk. "Then I guess
we both know what that makes you, huh?" And this time he did walk
It was a kick in my gut. "I'm
a whore, you self-righteous prick!"
"Really?" He didn't stop or
turn. "When a woman jumps into bed with a guy she doesn't care about,
that's the term I'd choose. I'd thought better of you, Jean."
Oh, god. Just a few words and
he makes me feel like the trash heap.
"Who are you to judge me?!"
He did stop now. About forty
feet separated us. Forty feet and all our very different life experiences.
"Who am I? An ex-prostitute. Been there, done that, took no
His self-hatred was so thick it choked
me, and I didn't know what to say. I guess I was surprised, even
while I wasn't. I'd known that whatever secret he harbored, it was
bad. I'd just assumed he'd been a thief or a drug-runner or something
else - something macho. Stupid assumption. He'd been fourteen
when he'd run from the orphanage. Young and pretty. That little
boy wasn't the Cyclops I knew - six feet tall and hard as steel -
but that little boy still hid inside, curled up terrified in a corner of
He gestured to me, a movement awkward
with restraint. "I don't get you. How you dress, how you act
sometimes, the cigarettes, the holes in your ears. It looks like
a fucking ring toss, not jewelry. It's not attractive. You
want to be bad; you try so goddamn hard. I don't understand
that. It's crazy. You don't know shit, Jean. You've been
flirting with fire. That's a cliche, but it's true. It's also
stupid as all hell. I know, okay? I know what bad is.
It's me. It's why I can't sleep at night. You were pure.
However you dressed or acted, you were pure - just an average girl
whose biggest concern was what grade she'd get on her next algebra exam,
before she started hearing voices in her head. And I loved that.
I loved you; I never wanted to ruin you. So instead you ran to Logan
and let him do it. Why?"
And now I understood the reason Scott
had never spoken to me about his feelings. The fool was afraid to
me. But he'd also made me so mad, I couldn't think straight.
"I'm not some stupid doll you can put up on a pedestal, Scott Summers!
I'm not your porcelain Madonna! And I wasn't a virgin!"
"That's not what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about selling yourself. Giving out when you don't feel
"You jackass! How dare
you assume you know what I feel?"
"Do you love him?"
"No, of course not!"
He turned away.
I couldn't let him go. Reaching
out mentally, I touched his mind, tried to give him all at once the things
I wanted to say: that I didn't care what he'd been, and admired who
he is. That I did love him, I just wasn't entirely sure in what capacity.
But I forgot, in my panic, what Xavier had done to him earlier and his
reaction was an explosion of the physical, not mental. He was back
across forty feet so fast, it took me by complete surprise. Slamming
me up against the wall, he screamed in my face, "Don't fuck with my
"I'm not, I'm not, I'm not!
I'd never do that to you!"
God, he was strong, and I was terrified.
For the first time, I was terrified of Scott. I was also hugely turned
on. Is that what I wanted? A man who scared me?
And why? It was sick. He saw only the fear, and pulled
away. He wouldn't apologize verbally, but I could feel his shame,
see it in his smile. Always so bitter. It's the only kind he
knows. "If you weren't fucking with my head, then what were you doing?
Playing mental footsie?" Abruptly, he lifted me off the ground and
pushed me into the wall, held me there with the pressure of his body against
mine. He was aroused, too, and God, he felt good. I wanted
to eat him alive. Without even thinking, I put my arms around his
neck and leaned forward to kiss him.
He jerked his head back. "What,
Jean? You like it rough?" He let me go and I fell to my feet.
He moved away again. "Well, I don't."
"Scott - "
"Shut up. And don't try to
fuck with my head again."
"I wasn't. I - "
"You were trying to change my mind
like Charles did. Screwing me over mentally after you did it with
Logan physically. Remind me never to trust another telepath."
"That wasn't what I was doing, you
bastard!" I tried to slap him but he grabbed my hand, held me easily
by the wrist.
"You don't get to hit me, Jean.
Not unless I get to hit back, and I'd hurt you." He let my hand go,
pushed it away roughly as if contact with me stung. "You both think
you're gods, you and Charles. You have all the answers and the rest
of the world should just bow down to your homo superior wisdom.
At least Magneto's honest about it."
"You said it yourself yesterday.
Violence won't end violence."
"Yeah? Well, maybe I lied.
From where I'm standing, from everything I've seen, the only way to get
rid of your pimp is to blow his fucking brains out." He tapped the
side of his face, near his visor and stepped back. "Charles is lucky
I didn't do to him what I did to Jack." I could feel my mouth hanging
open. "Goodbye, Jean. Go sleep with the snake in the grass or whoever
the hell you want. Remember what Rhett said to Scarlet? 'Frankly,
my dear, I don't give a damn.'"
And he left me. I just stood
there, defeated, and watched his back disappear. I stood there a
long time, then went back upstairs. The rest of them were milling
about, expressing their shock, talking about his defection, cursing him,
calling him a traitor.
But he's not the traitor. I
am. I and the professor. We betrayed his trust. And maybe
he was right. He does fake it better, that he's got it all under
control. He makes us forget that he has a heart, and it's very, very
tender. His clam-shell silence protects him. God, what must
his life have been like? Is that how Xavier found him? As high
as the moon and covered in the blood of the pimp who he murdered with the
power of his own eye blasts? Oh, Scott. Why didn't you ever
tell me? Did you really think I'd hate you?
Unable to bear the vicious words,
the colossal misunderstanding of the others, I went to the kitchen to get
something to drink, opened the fridge and saw his jug of chocolate milk.
And that was when I lost it, curled up on the kitchen tile and cried with
the fridge pouring cold air out over my back. Finally, I stood up
again and took the jug, set it on the table and myself in a chair to stare
at it. One hour ago. Or maybe two or three. I've lost
The jug sweated for a while in the
heat of a midsummer nightmare. I wish this were just some trick of
Oberon, King of Faerie. But it's not. Scott's gone. And
it's my fault.
After a long while, I shake myself
like a dog coming awake. Like a bitch. Unscrewing the cap,
I raise the jug to my mouth, intending to drink.
But I don't swallow.
The milk's gone sour.
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