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L. Burke

The Torch

DISCLAIMER: The characters belong to Marvel, and are
used without permission for entertainment purposes only.

Note* This story makes a reference to the Claremont short story in the back of a X-men classic issue.  
This story implies that Scott and Jean touched minds one night when Scott was still in the orphanage.  
I play with the idea that is when their special bond was formed.

He was going to die here; he knew that.  The scary part was that he just didn’t care anymore.   He was too sick to give a damn. He was going to die here lying on the filthy floor of this gas station; a fitting death for a runaway.  There just wasn’t any fight left in him.  He curled up in to a tighter ball to try to stop the convulsive shivers that shook his very thin frame.  A deep wet cough clawed its way out from deep inside his lungs.   By the sound of that cough, without a hospital, this wrenched life was going to be over soon.

            I’m not going to let you die.  It was that voice in the back of his head he heard sometimes.  The first time he ever became aware of it had been that night in the orphanage.  It had been that night after that strange dream, that strange dream of that lady of fire.  He decided that his fever was starting to melt his brain.

 I don’t see how you’re going to stop it.   He fired back at that little voice in his head cynically. Warm me now, my Lady where ever you are, he thought as another round of coughing and shivering racked his frame.  Show me the way home.  I’m tired of living this life.

I’m not going to let you die.  Open up let me in.  Came the response from the voice in the comer of his mind.

Scott just curled tighter in to a ball in response.  He always thought it was a little strange that he always identified that little voice with a ‘she’.   It’s personality number sixteen, he thought with a bitter laugh that came out more like a dieing croak.   He wondered vaguely what personalities ten and twenty-seven were like, maybe he had a doctor in there somewhere.  He had always known he was a little crazy.  Well, at least he still had his sense of humor.  He wondered for a moment what personality gave him that. 

Open up let me inside.  I can help.  Came that determined voice again.  She apparently was not taking no for an answer.

Go away.  He fired back weakly.  Just let me die in peace.  He curled a little tighter in to the bathroom corner. 

I’m not going to let you die you dumb ass.  I’m not going to let you go, Scott.  Came her very gentle response.  The next words almost felt like a hammer as they slammed in to his head.  NOW LET ME IN!

How?  Scott asked weakly.

Picture an open gate in a wall.  I’ll do the rest.  Came her response.  It took him a while, gathering the energy to maintain a mental picture and the effort to visualize it was exhausting.  Scott was just about to give up trying to hold the picture in his head, when he felt it.  It felt like fire entering his mind.  Torches he thought vaguely, that was the only image that came to his mind.  He didn’t feel quite so cold anymore and his shivering stopped.  Bio-Rhythms the voice in his head responded.  I can control your fever for a little while.  Just trust me and relax.  For the first time in Scott’s life since his parents, he did trust someone.  He let himself drift towards her warmth. 

After a while Scott heard voices creep in to his semi-conscious.  “I doubt the kid even going to make it. Pneumonia 

Another voice this time, “Hundred and five fever, blood pressure falling.  You’re right it doesn’t look good.”

They are so wrong, Scott thought with amusement.  I have a torch to lead me home, and she has no intension of letting me go.


Their new student was cute for a red head, Scott thought, spunky too.  He thought with a smirk.  He was thinking of how she had yanked the chair out of his hands telekinetically and startled the hell out of him.  She possessed an evil sense of humor too.  If the amused look on her face, from his shocked expression was any indication.  He liked her already.  This really could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

They were both reaching for her bags when their hands met, bare skin to bare skin.  Scott felt a flash of warmth.  It was like a warm jolt of electricity.  Scott gave her a stunned, shocked look.  It was the voice in his head, he realized.  She smiled the most beautiful, mysterious smile at him.  “I told you,” she stated with a smile, “I had no intention of letting you go.”


He was staring at Hammer Bay.  All these years he had been right.  All these years he thought he had just been going crazy.  He would dream of Jean calling to him from under Hammer Bay, asking him not to leave her there.  Every time he had that dream he would secretly come back here again.  He would cast his mind out to try to feel her and once again rip his heart out.  His mind had told him she was gone.  She had died on the moon in front of his eyes, but part of his heart wouldn’t accept that.  So he would come back to Hammer Bay time after time.  He had been right though.  All the dreams, he couldn’t share with anyone.  All those years he had doubted his own sanity.  The dreams of her had been real.  Jean had been alive under there all along, and now that fact was going to rip him apart. 

What was he going to do?  Jean was alive.  There was Maddie and Nathan to think of.  He was a father now, admittedly, a lousy one.  Oh, Nathan I’m so sorry I messed up everything.  Maybe someday you will be able to forgive me.  His marriage was over, from the moment he had walked out that door.  He had known it; and Maddie had known it. The funny thing was, he always expected Maddie to take the baby and leave, not the other way around.  So that left the question of what was he going to do now?  It was times like these, he pictured how uncomplicated his life would be if he just gave up and checked himself in to the nut house.  It was probably where he belonged anyway.  Instead he stared out at Hammer Bay.

“Hey Slim.”  It was Bobby’s voice.  “Why don’t you come home with us now?”

“Indeed,” This time it was Hank.  “Why don’t you come home with us?  We can buy you something to eat.”

Why didn’t they just leave him the hell alone?  He thought bitterly.  He was starting to think the world would be better off without him.  Xavier had been right to leave the school to Magneto, and Storm had been right to take the leadership of the X-men from him.  He tended to fail at everything he ever really tried at.  All you had to do was look at his sham of a marriage.

Come home with them Slim, please?  He felt Jean’s warm mental voice whisper in his head.

Go away.  Don’t you understand?  I’ve messed everything up. You shouldn’t want anything to do with me. He mentally snapped at her.

I don’t care.  She responded.  I told you years ago, I have no intension of letting you go.  I meant it.  Please come home.

Scott closed his eyes, and let her warmth be his torch, and Jean lit his way back towards home.


He was standing in the snow absorbing everything that Sinister and the Dark Riders had told him, about Nathan and himself.  He would be on the forefronts of the killing fields.  Big Deal.  Oh Nathan I’m so sorry.  I thought I did the right thing.  I thought I was giving you a chance at life.  The life I gave you was no life at all.  It would have been better if I had just let you die in my arms.  Wherever you are please for give me for being the coward I am.  Maybe you will find some peace in the next life that I denied you in this one.

He was tired; he just couldn’t face this pain alone anymore.  He just couldn’t carry this burden by himself much longer.  That familiar blanket of pain he wrapped himself in was smothering him.  He thought of the one kiss he had shard with Betsy and flinched.  Years ago Jean had said that she had no intension of letting him go.  He was tired of running.  He decided he was going home to Jean.  He was going to do everything in his power to straighten this mess he out and try to make it up to her.  He was laying all his hopes, despite everything he had done to screw this up, part of her still meant those words.   Show me the way home again Jean.  I’ll make sure you won’t ever regret it.   


Nathan was the one who carried him out of the desert.  With Jean fussing over him the whole walk out.   After the battle with Apocalypse, Jean had just held him until he didn’t have any tears left.  He couldn’t have made it out of the desert himself even if Nathan hadn’t insisted on carrying him.  He just didn’t have anything left.  He felt numb all over, and his bones felt like butter.  God he was cold, cold all the way down to his soul.  Shock the logical part of his brain thought.  You’ve been fighting Apocalypse for months Summers, something had to give.   Scott hoped it wasn’t his sanity. 

Nathan carried him up to a flight of stairs and in to a room with a tub.  Running water what a change from the places he and Anais had hidden in.  Nathan just stood there holding him and without one word Jean started running a bath.

Taking a self-inventory, he was covered with cuts, scrapes, and bruises from head to foot.  He was a mess.  He was absolutely filthy and stank like a sewer too.  He was covered in sweat, grim and filth.  He probably had lice.  Lice, the joy of third world dives; such great rewards for saving the world.  He had a sick image of Jean slapping a flea collar on him and giving him a dog bone to chew on.  Apparently his sanity had been the first thing to go for this fight.

            It’s nice to know you still have your sick sense of humor.  He heard Nathan’s voice state in his head as Nathan smirked down at him.

            Well you now know where it comes from, so you can stop blaming your mother for yours.  He replied tiredly back.  He heard Nathan’s mental laugher filter in to his head as a response to that comment.

            “Okay Nathan lay him in the tub gently.”  Jean announced suddenly.  Nathan did like she told him and the steaming hot water was exactly like how Scott pictured heaven.  He just closed his eyes and just sighed.

            “I’m going to the market and getting him another set of cloths.”  He heard Nathan state. 

“Leave your knife.  I’m going to cut him out of these filthy rags.”  He heard Jean respond back.  He then heard the click of the door closing.    He felt his cloths, or what was left of them, getting cut off of him.  The warmth of the tub was starting to take the chill in his body away a bit.  He finally managed to force his eyes open.  When he did Jean was washing him down gently with a washcloth.  She studied him for a moment, and asked, “Do you recognize me Scott?”  He tried to nod yes, but he just didn’t have the energy to move his head.  He tried to send her the thought yes instead.

 Jean just smiled at him, and replied, “That’s good.  I’m going to have to do a deep scan of your mind later to try to assess the damage that monster did, but it can wait until I get you home.  How do you feel?”  Scott tried to send her the mental image of a train running over him a couple of times and then backing over him a couple more.  For some reason that was the thing that finally broke Jean.  “Oh God Scott,” She whispered as she ran her hands through his fitly hair.  She was acting like she didn’t quite believe this was happening and he was there in front of her.  “I really thought I had lost you this time.”  Scott just closed his eyes and sent her an image of a torch that had always fought back the darkness, and always showed him the way home.  Jean took her hands and placed them on either side of his face.  She looked straight in to his eyes, “Remember something Slim, I have no intension of ever letting you go?”

Scott sent her the thought: You never did Red.  You never did. You were always my torch.  My light home.


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