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Mark
Howes



Second Chances
Part 12

Disclaimer: X-Men are the property of marvel comics. No money is being made
off of this so donít sue.

Cannon: This is my own personal take on what will happen when Scott and Jean break up. 
However, everyone knows that this will not be what will happen. I think it would be kind of cool if it did though.

Rating: PG-13 for language, violence and a little case of fluff.

Archive: If you think it is good enough sure go ahead. Tell me where it is though.




He knew her question was coming even before she asked it. Chances were one of them saw the late night news. He was expecting the question to have come earlier then this. It suited him just fine though; it gave him more time to come up with the answer. The only problem was he still didnít have one. Still it could have been worse. It could have been Helen asking the question.

"I take it you saw the late night news then." Scott said more of a statement.

His tone was controlled and it slightly annoyed Tiffany. She was hoping to catch him off guard but he seemed as though he completely didnít care weather or not she saw what he did. The fact still remained that she wanted an answer. "Yes I saw the news and you still have to answer my question. What the hell were you doing last night?"

Although his eyes were covered, Tiffany could tell that Scott was barely paying attention to her. She was about to ask again when he finally spoke up. This time though, his voice was lower, darker. It held a hint of something that she couldnít quite place her finger on. However, she knew that it was related to his core. She also found it highly arousing. "What I do with my time is my business, not yours."

Tiffany wasnít about to let it stop there; "Maybe not, but I do think you owe it to Helen. Or would you prefer I tell her?"

She turned to leave when Scott called after her. "Wait Tiffany," his voice no longer held that edge to it, the low and darker tone was gone and she could now place what she heard in his voice, pain. From what she didnít know. "Youíre right Tiffany, I do owe her an explanation. Itís just that I donít think I can give it to her right now."

"Thatís not good enough Scott. Iíll tell her if you donít tell me. And even if you do tell me, thatís no guarantee that I still wonít tell her."

Scott bowed his head for a second and then from behind his shades returned her stare. Only his was one of regret. "Iíve done some things in my life that Iím not proud of, we all have. Then Iíve done some things that I would do forever if it meant others didnít have too. What you saw last night was one of them. I canít tell you what I do because you would think Iím crazy, and you know what? Youíre right. It is crazy to do what I do. But someone has to try. Others that I have worked with before, they had the right idea, but not the right way to do it. Since Iíve stopped doing it their way and started doing it mine, Iíve done a hell of a lot more than I ever could have with them. And itís not because they donít try; itís because they canít do what I do. Not in the same way at least. They try to change ideas by the masses; it doesnít work that way. I know that now. It only works that way if you try to be destructive to people and their opinions. To be constructive you have to change minds one person at a time. And thatís what I do."

Tiffany moved over and sat on the side of his bed right up next to him. "What is that Scott? What do you do?"

Scott gave her a little half smile and answered her. The response was one that he had never expected to use in that straight of term. But at that point it was the only one that came to mind. "Iím a super hero."

Selene was watching the taping of the street encounter over and over again in her penthouse sweet. Every time she viewed the video she found another thing that she liked about Scott. She was vaguely aware that there was another man in the fight her attention was so focused on Cyclops.

When she did manage to peel her eyes away from his movements and watch the other combatant she found him disrupting and clumsy even though not one of his motions was wasted. When the sound came over her intercom informing Selene she had a visitor it startled her.

The Black Queen pressed the button that allowed her to communicate with the person on the other side of the comm. In a rather angry tone from being interrupted she called, "What is it?"

The voice on the other end sounded kind of shaky, "Beg your pardon Miss, but there is someone here to see you."

After waiting a few seconds she finally spoke up, "Well come on who is it?"

The guard outside her room answered her quickly, "He didnít give his name Maíam but he said he was a business acquaintance."

Her first thought was Shaw and that he had come to visit her this evening. But she quickly tossed it away. They rarely ever saw each other after ten oíclock, and it was never outside of the Hellfire club. A little bit curious she told the guard to let the man in. Quickly shutting off the tape she turned to the door to await the visitor. Who walked through the door was the last person she would have expected.

"Rosho." She almost spat his name out at him.

"A pleasure to see you again my dear." The big man greeted as he walked up to her, took her hand and kissed it. Selene almost laughed at his manners.

"What are you doing here?" She asked immediately pulling away once his lips touched her skin.

Rosho sat down on a couch that was positioned a few feet away from him. "I do not like to vork for people I do not know. Especially ven von is as attractive as you."

Selene snorted at him, "Spare me. You donít care what your employers are like. All you care about is your money. And we all know what your opinion of women is."

The big Russian smiled at her. "Dat only applies to certain employers. But you are correct in your assumption on my opinion of vimen."

Selene walked over to her liquor cabinet and poured herself a brandy before speaking again. "Which brings me back to my original question, why are you here."

Rosho stood up and walked over to her, "Mr. Shaw has offered me a new deal. It is a contract on de X-Men."

She almost spat out her drink when he said this. Shaw couldnít be serious, even though she had seen him fight them just the other night, and that was only a select few. He wouldnít stand a chance against the whole team. Then again, she might be underestimating him.

Slowly setting her drink down she looked him square in the eye, though she did have to look up on almost a ninety-degree angle to do it. With utter distaste in her voice she asked, "Oh really, and what does this contract say?"

"Nuting much, just dat I vill remove dis X-Men problem for you and receive my payment."

The Black Queen looked at him with cold eyes, "Then why come to me?"

A small smile came across the big manís lips. "Because of vat I get in return."

Selene was almost bored now, "Oh really, and what is that?"

Rosho shrugged his shoulders, "Money of course, but der is also anoder part dat has not been confirmed yet."

"I grow tired of you constantly bouncing around topics Rosho. Just get to the point."

His smile widened. "If you vish. Mr. Shaw offered me less money den I demand. At first I rejected his proposal because of dis. However, I am villing to do de job and take de money he offered on von condition."

Rosho paused and after a few seconds Selene just finally gave up and asked through gritted teeth, "What?"

"I get you for a night."

Selene threw the brandy at him and slapped him across his face. "How dare you," she spat at him, "Iím not just some part of a deal. I do what I want not what Shaw tells me to do. In case you didnít know, he and I are business partners. He doesnít run my life. Iím not some twenty-dollar whore that will fuck a guy just because he tells me to. Now get out!"

Rosho hit her across her cheek. The force of the blow sent her to the ground. To him it didnít take much more effort than a flick of his finger. He then kneeled down so that he was at eye level with her. Then taking a hold of her chin and forcing her to look at him he said in a cold tone, "Do not speak like dat to me. I could haf you at any time and der isnít a damned thing you can do about it."

"Go to hell."

His smile returned and he loosened his grip on her chin. A good thing too, because anymore force and he would have broke it. "You have spirit. Dat is someding dat vimen do not usually show around me. I like it." Then his stare went cold, "Just know ven to stop."

Then he let her go and stood up again. Rosho walked to the door and stopped just as he reached them. Then without turning to look at her he said, "I vill haf you. It is only a matter of time." With that last comment, he walked out of the room.

Selene took a couple of breaths regaining her composure then moved to the couch near the Television. She turned on the tape that she had been watching earlier. Sitting there for a few minutes doing nothing but watching. She finally spoke when the camera focused in on a good shot of Cyclops hitting Rosho. "Not in this or any other lifetime. I have standards that you donít meet." Then the camera focused directly on Scott. Selene regarded him for a second before continuing. "But he does."

Tiffany would have burst out laughing if the situation wasnít so serious. He was a super hero he had said, that was utterly preposterous. Yet why did it all make sense then? She waited for him to elaborate on what he had said, but then she realized that he was waiting for her to say something.

"Youíre a super hero." She repeated.

Scott just nodded his head yes. Tiffany shook her head back and forth in an unbelieving manner. She looked up at him again and saw that through his shades, he was returning her stare waiting for her to say something. "You mean to tell me that you go out into the world every day and save it from some super villains with mysterious and deadly super powers?"

Scott nodded again, "Thatís right."

Tiffany shot up from the bed and walked to the door. "This is ridiculous." She said.

"I told you, you wouldnít believe me." He called after her.

Quickly turning around she shot back; "Super heroís are people that only exist in movies."

"What about the Avengers, or the Fantastic Four?" He asked.

"Well... Thatís different."

"How?"

Tiffany just stood there for a few seconds trying to figure out how it was. "It just is okay. Those people are real, they exist fighting real super villains."

"How is what I did any different?" Scott retorted.

"I have never seen that person before in my life. For all I know heís just a really big body builder that you picked a fight with too look tough." She answered.

With a very serious look Scott informed her, "Not all super villains are known to the public."

"All the most dangerous ones are." She said coldly.

Scott glared at her from behind his shades. "Not all." He told her thinking of someone very sinister in particular.

"Oh yea?" She asked crossing her arms, "Name one."

Scott looked down and said, "I canít."

"I thought so." She responded dryly.

He looked up at her again, "Donít be foolish, I canít tell you because they would know. And I wonít put anyone in danger like that."

"How?"

"I donít know. They just would. Itís happened before."

Tiffany sat down on the bed again unfolding her arms. "So you donít know they would know I know they exist."

"I know they would know you know they exist." There was slight amusement in his voice. He knew where she was taking this. He decided to play along in this little game.

"There in lies the advantage for me. I would know they know I know."

"Ah, but they would know you know they know that you know."

Her face was breaking into a little smile of its own, and Scott found it not all that unpleasant. "How would you know they know I know they know I know?"

"Look Tiffany, can we just agree that they would know you know?"

"No."

Scott started too chuckle to himself after that, and her smile just got brighter. After a few moments, she started to chuckle with him and soon it turned into a small laugh. Scott wouldnít let it go any farther than that though. He didnít want to risk further injuring his chest.

Once they had stopped, Scott looked at her with a very tiny hint of a smile in his face. There was a silence between the two of them for a few seconds before Scott broke it. "Thank you Tiffany," he said.

She looked curiously at him. "For what?" she inquired.

"For making me laugh. I havenít done that nearly enough lately."

"Anytime." Then she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, the kind that you would give a friend. It wasnít a conscious action she just did it. Then when she pulled away they looked at each other for a second. Then she kissed him again. This time though, it had nothing to do with friendship.

A few blocks from her apartment the limousine was running low on gas. The driver told Helen that he had planned to fill it up in the morning and that he hadnít expected to be taking anyone anywhere that evening. She told him that it was all right and that she would walk the rest of the way to her home. The driver had tried to convince he otherwise and that it was his job but she would hear nothing of it. She grabbed her things and started walking back.

About seven blocks from her home when she heard a very familiar voice out of one of the alleys behind her. "Hey yaí Blondie, havenít seen you for ages."

Helen stopped dead in her tracks. Shaking, she slowly turned around praying that it wasnít who she thought it was. Her prayers werenít answered.

Finally finding her voice, she whispered out in horror, "Nick?"

His face lit up in delight, and Helen found herself trying to scream. "You remember me, how nice." Then his face when cold.

With her still terrified voice she answered, "I wish I didnít."

He then got a false hurt look in his eye and replied, "You know, comments like that can really hurt someone. And in a position like yours, it isnít all that wise to hurt someone like me."

Nick started to move closer to Helen and she started to back away. "Stay away from me Nick, I donít want anything to do with you anymore."

A devilís smile came across his face as he continued advancing on her. "You forget Hel, I own you. I always have always will. Oh you got away from me for a few years there, but I havenít forgotten about you."

Helen stopped backing up when she hit the wall and then she braced herself up against it. Nick raised his left hand and moved it over her left cheek and then trailed it down along her chin over to the right side of her face. He then leaned in close and whispered in her ear, "That was a very bad thing you did Blondie. It really hurt, I thought you cared about me." Then he took the hand that he had just used to caress her face and slapped her with the back of it. "Well, now that Iíve found you again itís going to be like old times isnít it?"

Helen was sobbing slightly now. Nick looked at her with a hint of anger coming to his face. "I canít hear you Helen."

In a weak trembling voice Helen pleaded, "Please no."

He hit her again and then asked slightly louder, "What was that?"

Mustering up everything she had left she told him, "No Nick. Iím not like that anymore. Iíve changed and Iím not going back."

That must have caught Nick off guard because he took a step back with a shocked look. Her little victory didnít last long though because she saw him do what he had done so many times before whenever he had to resort to a plan B. She should have expected him to have one he always had before. She could feel her fear growing even faster now.

Nick placed his hands behind his back and stepped closer to her. Then he got a little smile on his face; the one you would give to a little child when they had done something good. It made Helenís stomach turn. In a normal tone he said, "You see Helen, I donít really like that. It puts this whole mess in my business. And as you know, I really donít like messes. So Iím going to ask you one more time, every thing is going to be as it was right?"

She stood up her whole height, which was fairly small when compared to his but it was the action, which counted. "No Nick." She told him, "Iím not going back with you. Thatís final."

Nick took a deep breath and the anger, which he had in his eyes earlier returned full force. He reached up with his right hand and snapped his fingers. Helen felt four two strong arms grab her on either side and hold her still. Then she felt another hand wrap itself around her mouth. She was pinned and mute. Helen started kicking and trying to scream but the arms prevented that rather well.

Nick then leaned in close again and said, "I really didnít want to do this the hard way Helen. I was hoping that you would come back willingly. You have to believe me on that. But since youíre so hell bent on this I guess thereís no other choice."

He reached inside his jacket pocket and removed a syringe. After squirting out a little bit of the liquid inside the container he flicked the needle on the end. Then he turned to her and asked, "You do remember your old friend heroin donít you Helen? I know itís been so long since you last had fun together."

Helen started kicking even harder now shaking her head violently from side to side. Tears were streaming down her cheeks as Nick rolled up the sleeve to her jacket. Nick looked up at her with absolutely no remorse for the life he was about to ruin again. "This will be a lot less painful if you donít fight me Helen. Besides, you know you want this." He told her.

Due to exhaustion she slowed down but didnít stop. Helen looked at him square in the eye, she was pleading to whatever humanity he had in him. Begging for him to stop, to let her live her life. She didnít want to go back to the life she had left so long ago. It was so hard to do it then, she didnít know if she had the strength to do it again.

If he at all cared about what he was going to do to her didnít show it. As he lowered the needle to the exposed skin on her arm Helen just had one thought, it was of the life she had for that brief amount of time. The life where she got free of this man met Tiffany and for the first time in her life made a real friend, one that wasnít another junkie anyway. She thought of her money not going to pay for the next trip, where she actually had a shot of doing something.

All of her hopes of going to medical school and becoming a doctor, helping those whom needed the help like she had. And of course she thought about Scott. The one man who didn't try to use her for anything. The one man who didnít want anything from her but for her to be herself. The one man who was kind to her when all others treated her like dirt. The one man who was different from every other man she had met in her life. She thought about him.

But as the needle sunk into the vein and Nick poured all of the liquid into her blood stream, all thoughts of the life she could have had, would have had drifted away.

Part 13 (Coming Soon!)

<Other Stories By Mark Howes>


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