Showering Blind Showering Blind

Summary: Curiosity killed the Jean, or at least made her think twice about her ethics.

Universe: ULTIMATE X-MEN (post #7)

Warning: Naked man. Wet, naked man, in fact. No - it's not what you think, sorry, but still not for the youger kiddies. I'm not sure I really consider this an [R], but I labeled it that because there's no [PG-15] option.

Notes: After Tuesday (9-11), a cry went out for fluff. Well, this . . . started as fluff. Honest. It didn't quite end there. A little harmless voyeurism? As 616 comic fans know, Scott's family is from Anchorage, though Millar hasn't indicated if he'll keep that. The Indian blood in the Summers clan is not my wishful thinking; Chris Summers has mentioned it. The lyrics are from "Seven Steps Away," by Indigenous on Circle. The story was written before I heard anything from Millar about a Scott/Jean kiss to come in issue #10, or that Bobby had drilled a hole to watch Ororo and Jean shower. Ultimate X-Men is written by Mark Miller.


Scott showers with his eyes closed. I'd known that, of course, but hadn't much thought about it.

I'm thinking about it now. Thinking hard.

I'd been looking for him, to ask him a question. I don't even remember now about what. Peter had told me that Scott had gone back to his room to grab a shower, after the two of them had played a round of handball. Because Scott and I were here first, we have rooms with a private bath and a nice view of the gardens. Privileges of seniority. His room is furthest down the east wing and no one else was around as I approached. Afternoon sunlight scattered gold on the hardwood floor, reflecting bright enough to blind. I could hear water running. Normally, I'd either have come back later or waited until he was out to knock. Except . . . .

Except the door's cracked.

Well, curiosity killed the cat.

Pushing it a little wider, I glance around his bedroom. The man is a neatness Nazi. Everything has a place and everything is in it. He even makes his bed. A change of clothes is laid out over the high footboard, half-covering the fine ivy figurework in the wood. Scott has a taste for expensive furniture. Beautiful, antique, hand-carved pine that he found in storage. He'd stripped and revarnished it and set it up in his room: sleigh bed, six-drawer chest, dressing table, and armoire. He put a soft-sided waterbed mattress on the bed -­ which I've kidded him about. He just mutters that it's better on his back. I'm quite sure that's God's own truth as to why he bought it, but ribbing him about the potential recreational uses is just too much fun.

Now, sitting on the dressing table right next to a porcelain pitcher and water bowl (another antique), I see his glasses, and visor, as well. That means neither is in the bathroom with him.

I can still hear the water running, and I can hear him talking, too. I bite the side of my tongue to keep from laughing at that little revelation -­ Cyclops talks to himself -- as I sneak over to glance through the open bathroom door.

But there's no light on.

Well, of course there's no light on, dimwit, I remind myself. It doesn't matter to him.

But enough light creeps through the little bathroom window to illumine a pale blur behind the shower door -- like child's art, colored outside the lines and indistinct. He has the window open to free steam, and eggshell-pale curtains stir slightly from a breeze.

I really shouldn't be in here. It's terrible of me. Were our positions reversed, I'd kill him for the chutzpah. Showering is a private thing; I do my hard thinking in the shower. And sometimes I talk to myself, too, trying to work through problems. There's nothing quite like verbalizing. If it's all in your head, you go round and round with it till you're dizzy, but when you verbalize it, the edges show up -­ what's solid and what as flimsy as crepe. Just now, I can't make out clearly over the pounding water what he's actually saying, but I think it has to do with the week's duty assignments ­- probably reviewing them before handing them out. Suitably Cyclops. All work and no play makes Scotty a dull boy.

That's not fair, Jean. And you should go now.

Shut up, conscience.

It's just too tempting to watch him when he thinks he's alone -­ all his defenses down: no visor, no uniform, no carefully moused hair, no clothes. I watch his movements through the distorting glass as he lifts a hand to find the shower basket hooked over the faucet head, feel for the lip and slip the shampoo bottle back into place. It's done with practiced ease and minimal awkwardness. Then he scrubs at his hair, rinses it clean and finally shuts off the pouring water. The crack of the stall door opening sounds like a shot, and makes me start. Guilty nerves, until I remember that his glasses are on the dressing table. He can't see me. He doesn't know I'm here.

And oh, my sweet lord. Oh, oh my.

I should get out of here, but instead, stand rooted to the floor with curiosity and plain admiration. His uniform doesn't hide much, so I'd known he was built ­- and packing, too (yes, of course I looked). But a uniform still conceals flesh. I could count on one hand the number of times I'd seen Scott shirtless -­ mostly at a distance. By contrast, Logan seemed to consider it a challenge to find as many excuses as possible for leaving his shirt off. Not that I was complaining, but I did find it amusing. Scott prefers the cover of clothing. I'd often wondered why. Was he trying to limit the amount of solar radiation his body absorbed, and control the headaches his power gave him? Or was he just shy?

Now, he's come out of the narrow shower to dry himself off where he has more room, the towel draped over his head to keep his hair from dripping. His back is to me. And at last, I see why he covers himself up. Low on his back are five faint ropes of burn scars. They're shaped like a radiator grid, as if someone had held him down over one and turned the heat way up.

Oh, Scott. My poor Scott. Who did that to you?

I blink back tears and half-hold my breath. He's spent enough time blind that his other senses are highly attuned. He might not be able to smell me, like Logan would have, but if I move, he'll hear me, or sense the shift of air currents.

I'm playing with fire. If he found out I was watching him shower . . . . God, I don't know what he'd do. Rage for a while, then go ice cold. Certainly, he'd never trust me again. Trust and privacy mean so much to him, and I know -­ I know ­- that playing Peeping Jean is wrong, wrong, terrible-wrong. He would never do this to me. But now I'm caught and don't dare move, and I wonder in dim panic, how can I escape before he gets to his glasses?

But he seems more concerned with drying off than getting to his glasses. His burned back is still to me, and if one discounts the scar, he's beautiful ­- all lines and planes of muscle under a skin surprisingly smooth. He never tans, though his natural complexion has a touch of bronze. It's his Indian blood maybe. He told me once that his father's mother was metis -­ French Indian. Inuit and something that starts with a T that I can never remember: Tuchono, Tutchone? Anyway, Scott was born in Anchorage, and I can certainly see the Indian in him with those high cheekbones, and a mouth that turns down at the corners. He's said that his eyes are black, too. Were black.

I let my own eyes follow the path of his towel down, down, as he dries water droplets from that pale flesh. His shoulders are wide and hips narrow like DaVinci's David, all perfect proportions, and he's got unusually thick calves, three moles on his shoulder blades, and a dark spot at the hollow of his spine from a funnel of fine hairs before the curve of his ass flares out. And he actually has an ass, unlike some of the men around here. And on his left ass cheek . . . .

It's sheerest willpower that keeps me from making a strangled sound.

Scott Summers has a tattoo. Who'd've thunk it? The man doesn't even have pierced ears, but he has a tattoo. Indigo ink, but too elaborate for me to make out the design from here. Perhaps a bird, or a fish? It's northwestern coastal art: sharp, stylized, and a bit blocky, of the type seen on totem poles. But before I can get a better look, he turns face on -­ and with his back straight and his shoulders level, it puts everything on view. My mouth opens soundlessly as blood scalds my face and ears.

When you're a telepath, there's not much left to the imagination. At first, the mental voices of others had overwhelmed my sixteen-year-old brain like a rude mob -­ old and young, male and female, rich and poor . . . private thoughts, public opinions, intimate memories . . . . I'd been an unwitting voyeur to everything. With Xavier's help, I'd learned to shield before I went mad. But it had been an education. And later, curiosity drove me to take occasional trips through the minds of strangers -­ especially the minds of the opposite sex. More of that damnable curiosity which will probably get me killed one day, or arrested. But I know what a nude man looks like through his own eyes. And I know how it feel when a guy ejaculates -­ sharp and bright and forward, instead of body-shuddering and clenched at the center. Yet it's all by proxy, and there's still something shocking and wonderful about an unclothed man standing right before you in the flesh. Whatever my fellow students may think after my affair with Logan, I really don't have jaded exposure to the male form in all its infinite variety.

Certainly, a naked Scott is new.

I feel very hot right now, a burning all under my skin from the tops of my ears down my neck over my breasts and belly to that point between my legs. Dear God, I'm creaming my pants over Cyclops. He's my best friend and my leader -­ but he's still an attractive guy. And he'd kissed me once. In fact, he'd kissed me twice. Both times had been to prove a point, but the problem was . . . he'd proved it. He'd kissed me and I'd liked it and I couldn't forget that his lips were gentle and he doesn't kiss like he's trying to conquer you but like he's having a conversation and waiting for you to answer. If it hadn't given me the pulse-race of excitement that I feel (still, dammit!) whenever Logan walks into a room, kissing Scott had been warm. A quiet pleasure like morning sun on tulips and the smell of new coffee or a Cadbury egg saved to savor in small bites. I could never again think of him purely in platonic fashion.

It's not his naked body, however, that I find myself staring at, or what hangs between his legs. That's all nice, to be sure, but my eyes are riveted on his naked face. Scott revealed. He's striking, all clean lines and a fine, straight nose. I think he might even have dimples, if he ever bothered to grin wide enough to show them. His eyes are canted -­ probably that Indian blood again -- and it gives him an unusual appearance that the visor normally hides. Slightly ethnic. It's not the kind of face of which you say, "You remind me of someone." He's uniquely Scott.

He reaches with a hand to find the edge of the counter, then checks that the door is back against the wall so he won't bang his forehead on it as he bends to dry his legs. All routine, all evidence of years of practice at showering blind. He has pretty feet, I notice, and my own observation amuses me. Here where he's not being watched ­- or doesn't think he is -­ he exhibits an unsuspected, long-limbed grace. Wholly un-self-conscious. In private, he doesn't have to be the paragon of control that he pretends to outside his bedroom door. I watch his slender fingers walk over the counter top to find his comb, and wonder what might it feel like to have them take a sightless trip over my flesh? Does he make love with his glasses off?

Whoa, girl. Whoa.

Full mental stop.

It's high time I got out of here before I decide I want to sleep with Cyclops. If I can just find a chance. Within moments, the chance comes. He turns on water and reaches for his toothbrush, placed precisely at two-o'clock around the basin. I begin to understand why he keeps things so neat. He knows where everything is, with or without his glasses. But the running water covers my escape as I move as soundlessly as possible out the door into the sanctuary of the hall.

But today is not my lucky day. Of all the people at the mansion who I least want to catch me sneaking out of Scott's room, naturally it's Logan who does. He picks that moment to exit his own guestroom and finds me right outside Scott's door, smelling of arousal with my face flushed. Leaning against the wall, he grins around an unlit cigar in his mouth. God, I wish he'd quit those things. Every time he lights up, it ignites a craving in me, but I'm too proud of having kicked the habit to backslide now no matter how much the rich smell of cigar tobacco tempts me. His eyes crawl all over my body, then flick behind me to Scott's bedroom, I can hear Scott begin to sing something. The rest of us don't get to hear him much -­ which is too bad -­ but just now, his choice is unfortunate.

Tonight I see your light on, and I whisper your name
I know you can't hear me, but I'm only seven steps away . . . .

I'm not all to blame for the games we've played
Each and every day, Baby, don't leave me this way.

I gotta know what you feel cause we're livin' a lie
I'm only seven steps away, and these tears I can't hide . . . .

He's not singing about me, I know. He's singing about Storm. Or he's just singing because he likes the tune. But Logan doesn't know that, and he smirks as I stalk past. "Keep your dirty thoughts to yourself," I mutter.

"Who said they was dirty, darlin'? That your guilt talking?"

"Fuck you." I don't look back. Why should I care what Logan thinks? We're not an item any more. If he wants to assume that I'm jumping Scott's bones, let him. Serves him right, the snake, to believe his place in my bed taken by an honest man.

But if Logan's a snake in the grass because he came here intending to murder the professor -­ yet didn't -­ what does that make me? I stood silent in Scott's room and took advantage of a blind man's handicap in order to watch him unguarded -­ a man for whom his privacy is his most prized possession. And the only reason I left was fear of getting caught. Suddenly, I'm ashamed. Our actions don't always match our proclaimed values.

Maybe I shouldn't be so quick to judge the Wolverine.


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