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Mark
Howes



Second Chances
Part 13

Disclaimer: Cyclops and X-Men are the property of Marvel Comics so donít sue please.

Cannon: Comic universe. My own little take on what would happen after 
the Scott and Jean break up.

Rating: PG-13 for language.




Scott pushed Tiffany away after a few seconds. He immediately looked down and told her, "We canít do this. Itís not fair to Helen."

Tiffany took a few steps backwards still in a bit of a shock. Shaking a few of the clouded areas in her head away and swallowing hard she responded, "Youíre right. Itís not fair."

Now Scott found the courage to look up at her. "I think it might be best if you left now."

Nodding her head she agreed, "Yea, yea I think thatís best."

"I can have one of the drivers take you back to your apartment if you would like. It isnít any problem." Scott offered.

"No thanks, I think Iíll just get a ride home from a cab." She turned to leave before she remembered to ask; "Do you know where a phone is in this place? I doubt that cabs come this far out of the city often."

Scott gave her a half smile before returning, "Thereís one on the dresser beside my bed. You can use that one if youíd like."

"Thanks." She said and then moved over to the phone that he had indicated.

Tiffany dialed the number of a cab agency and then said good-bye to Scott. She then went and waited for the taxi to come and pick her up. The entire process only took about forty-five minutes. Only when Tiffany had gotten in the car did she allow herself to think about what had just happened.

She had kissed him, her best friendís boyfriend. Part of her was left wondering what kind of a friend was she trying to steal this guy away from Helen? Then there was the other part that was glad she did it. That was the part she was ashamed of. However, it was also the one that she listened to.

Part of what made him so appealing was that he was the forbidden fruit. The one she couldnít have. That always added for excitement. The only problem was that once sheíd had him, there was never any excitement left in it. So she always dumped him and then told her friends what kind of a creep the guy was for jumping into bed with her. Of course sheíd always acted completely innocent in the matter claiming that the man had practically forced himself on her. But that just allowed her to keep her friends.

Still, this time was different, this time she got the feeling that even once she would have Scott, she wouldnít stop. Sheíd just keep going after him once she had that little taste. That was what frightened her. He would have a hold over her. Every man that had ever had a hold over her used her. That was why she avoided meaningful relationships. To her they were dangerous.

With Scott however, she got a completely different vibe. With him there was no hint of him trying to use her. Just a sincere attempt to find someone to care about. That was what she suspected Helen saw in him. Like herself, every man that had ever been in a relationship with Helen had used her for her looks or her body or anything else they could exploit. Tiffany figured that was part of the reason she felt so guilty. She was trying to take away the only man that had ever treated Helen like a human being.

The car pulled up to her apartment building and Tiffany paid the fair plus whatever tip she could afford. She then walked to the front of the building and rang the buzzer waiting for her friend to answer the door and let her in. After a few seconds of waiting she rang the bell again.

Thinking that Helen must have gone to sleep, Tiffany took her keys out of her purse and opened the door. She then took the elevator up to the correct floor and walked to the door of her room. Taking the keys and unlocking the door she took a few steps inside and then shut and locked the door again. Tiffany then removed her jacket and placed it on the coat rack near the entrance to the home she shared with her friend.

Moving ever so quietly so as not to disturb Helen, Tiffany walked to the other womanís bedroom door and checked to see if she was sleeping well. Upon looking in the room she was a bit startled to see that Helen wasnít in the room. Tiffany dismissed it thinking that she must have gone for a slight walk for a few minutes outside.

Feeling content in the relative safety of her friend, Tiffany shed her clothes and got ready for bed. As always, she went and watched TV for an hour before going to bed. However, during that time, she just got more and more worried about the disappearance of Helen.

"I donít think that this is all that healthy for her Charles." Warren Worthington told his one time teacher and friend.

Turning to face the blue man with wings, Charles had a look of sadness on his face. "It isnít healthy for her Warren. Unfortunately, all we can do is voice our opinions and support her in whatever decision she makes."

Warren shook his head, "Iím not sure that I can do that Professor. I mean Scottís my friend just as much as Jean is, and if he wants to be left alone then donít you think thatís his right?"
"It is Warren; whether he chooses to make us a part of his life is his choice. But Jean also has the right to make choices for her life, and if she chooses to go search for him then she can. Itís not our place to decide for them what they can and can not do. They arenít little children anymore and we arenít their parents."

"Gambit be tinkíen dat maybe we should be helpin Jeannie no?"

"Iím with the Cajun." Wolverine backed Gambit, "This team has been walkín wounded for the past couple years. As much as I hate to admit it, we ainít got no real tactician and thatís been hurtín us. No offence Ro."

Storm shook her head, "None taken."

"Oh come on Logan, we all know why you really want him back. You just want him to tell you it isnít your fault that heís gone." Warren accused.

"I donít look for no forgiveness fly boy."

"Well maybe thatís the problem." Angel said coldly.

"Enough both of you!" Xavier shouted. "This is not going to get us anywhere. And the fact still remains that this is Jeanís choice not ours. Given the circumstances and all that the two of them have been through can anyone really blame her for trying?"

"She was the one who threw it away, not him. If you ask me she deserved this." Emma voiced her cold thoughts on the matter.

"Shut up Emma. Who asked you?" Warren spat.

"I thought everyone here had a right to say what they think?" she asked.

Angel gave her an ice-cold stare. "They do, you donít."

"Warren," Betsy whispered to him laying an unnoticed hand on his to try and calm his nerves as well as attempting to telepathically sooth his thoughts. The action wasnít completely wasted, but he was still a little angry at the whole situation.

There was a loud slam as the front door to the mansion was shut. Even though they were on the second floor and on the other side of the house the entire team still heard it. The door slamming was quickly followed by the sound of Jeanís voice shouting, "Sonís of bitches!"

Bobby voiced in a volume that was barely a whisper; "Somebody didnít have a very good day."

Wolverine replied, "What was your first clue Drake?"

Their conversation was cut off by the sound of Jean marching up the stairs making quite a noise. Curses also accompanied her stomping. Bobby resisted the urge to call out, "Sheís gonna blow." The thought didnít go completely unnoticed by the telepaths in the house due to the fact that it was so strong. It didnít help Jeanís mood one bit either.

Storming into the room that they all were sitting in, Jean gave Bobby a glare that would freeze Emma. The look was so horrifying that this time Iceman couldnít resist. "AHHHH, DONíT EAT ME!" he called out placing both hands in front of his face.

Jean turned to face him and quicker than Quicksilver, Drake bolted for the door. This time it was Warren who couldnít resist, "Run Bobby run!" he shouted. Then Jean turned to face Angel and he immediately followed Bobby at the same pace.

Xavier decided that he should take control of the situation before it got out of hand. "Is there something I can do for you Jean?"

Spinning to face him, she said in an angry tone; "Youíre damn right there is something you can do for me."

"What might that be?" He asked.

"Get me the name of a good lawyer."

"Why?" Charles was both confused and surprised at the same time. There was also a little bit of intrigue and hope in his voice.

"Because doctors obviously care more about money then they do their patients lives." She answered.

"How might one ask, did you come to that conclusion?" the curiosity was still with him.

"Those damn people over there at that hospital that dare call themselves public servants, released Scott when he wasnít even in there for twenty four hours. Not to mention the fact of all the injuries that he sustained last night."

Now everything was replaced by shock when he spoke next. "They let him out! How did he manage to pull that off?"

"Money Charles, money."

The Professor lowered his head and shook it holding the bridge of his nose with his thumb and index finger. "Jean, perhaps it would do you some good to slow down, think before you say, and then tell me because Iím still not quite following." He said after a short while. "How did he manage to pull off getting out of the hospital with money?"

Jean took a deep breath before continuing with a combination of impatience and annoyance. Her tone was that of someone addressing a small child. "The doctors at the hospital let Scott out, because he paid them money to do so."

"Maybe his injuries not be all dat bad no?" Gambit asked from across the room.

Jean twirled around to glare at him. "He has six broken ribs and a punctured lung! If you ask me I think that those qualify as not being allowed out of a hospital donít you?"

Then her knees went weak and she fell to the ground. Everyone but Emma was over to her in a flash huddling around her. Hank picked her up and she cried into his shoulder. In between her sobs she managed to make out, "I just want him home."

Wolverine huddled in closer to them. He stroked the back of her head letting his hand run down her hair. "We know you do Jeannie. We all want him home."

It was late when Jack made it home that night. The party was great; he had managed to avoid using his dateís name the whole time. Well, his original date anyway. He switched them so many times that evening that it was quite difficult to remember them all. The fact that he was piss drunk didnít help matters either.

In any case, he was completely unprepared for the lovely vision of Sydney Gill that he saw before him when he stumbled into his kitchen. At least he thought that she was beautiful, his mind wasnít really working in conjunction with his eyes at that point due to all of the alcohol running through his system at that point. Still he wasnít mistaken.

Running his hands through his hair and straightening his tie, he made his way over to her without causing to much noise. However, by the time heíd made it to her, the surprise of his approach was gone and that was half the charm. In his case that night that would have been all the charm he had.

"Gooí evnen." He slurred out.

Not exactly sure what he said Sydney replied, "Same to you."

"So Iíve been drough tis Ďole Ďouse an I an neber seen you before. Aíleas I tink I ben drough tis Ďouse, itís so big dat I don really know all dat much."

"Iím sure that you do." Sydney managed to get out. She wanted this, whatever it was to end rather soon.

"Iím sírry, I fírgot tíintírduce míslef." Jack said extending his hand. "Jíck Blíckmín."

Sydney choked back her laughter. Here was the man that New York had declared the most charming man of the decade, and it was only a couple of years old. Obviously, they had never seen him when he was hammered. "Jack Blackman." She repeated.

Jack beamed. "One an de same."

"Well Jack," she started with an unbelieving smile on her face, "why donít you go up to your room and sleep off whatever it is that you had tonight, and we can talk tomorrow about how many brain cells you just killed tonight."

Jackís smile just grew, "Dípends, Ďre you gonna jín me?"

A little laugh escaped her despite her best efforts. "I donít think so."

A confused look fell across his face. "Why not?"

"Well for one thing, we just met, added to that youíre drunk, and finally, I donít really want to." Sydney told him with a smile on her face that you would use with a child that you really want to be mad at but you canít because they are just children.

Jack was still smiling when he replied, "Oh okíy." And then collapsed under his own weight unconscious.

Sydney helped him into a nearby chair and then went over to the bar and poured herself a glass of red wine. She regarded Jack for a second before saying out loud, "That is why alcohol should be illegal." Then she took a sip of the wine in her hand.

"Mr. Rosho to see you sir." Rebecca told Shinobi who was sitting behind his desk.

Shaw looked up from the papers that were scattered around it. "Why the devil is he here?"

"Iím not quite sure sir but from the looks of things I think that itís important."

"My dear Rebecca," Shaw started with a very charming smile and Becky couldnít help but blush, "I donít care what it looks like Iím busy. Tell him to come back another time." Just as he finished, Rosho slammed the other door to Shawís office open and walked right in. "Or you could tell him that Iím always open to hear what he has to say."

"You know ver your priorities lie Mr. Shaw. Much good can come of dat."

"As Iím sure you know." Shinobi replied. "You can leave us alone and return to your duties Becky, Iím sure that this wonít take long." He said looking past the Russian to his secretary.

"If you say so Mr. Shaw." Rebecca said before closing the door.

Shinobi turned toward Rosho and asked in a rather annoyed tone, "What do you want?"

Rosho took a seat in a couch by one of the walls placed on the other side of the room across from Shinobiís desk. "I vould not take dat tone vit me if I vas you Mr. Shaw. It is not very velcoming."

Shaw waved a dismissive hand as if batting away the threat, "Spare me Rosho. Donít you even think that for a moment you can threaten me."

"It vas not a threat comrade, just a suggestion. A varning if you vont to take it dat far."

"Whatever," he said sounding less and less interested in what the big man had to say. "Tell me, what brings you here?"

"Contract negotiation."

A small smile crept across Shawís lips. "Oh really? Well, apparently I have forgotten to inform you that your services are no longer required."

That got the big manís attention as he got up from the couch and bolted over to Shinobiís desk. He then grabbed Shaw by the throat and hoisted him up to about a foot taller than himself. The Black King was now hanging ten and a half feet in the air. "Ven I take a contract Mr. Shaw, de deal stays until I haf completed my part of de bargain. Is dat understood?"

Taking a few moments before acting, Shinobi phased his hand so that it was inside of Roshoís. Then he solidified it again and the big man fell back almost howling in pain. Clutching his hand to his chest he looked up at Shaw with deadly eyes that would burn through steel.

Shinobi dropped to the ground and then straightened himself and unruffled his suit. He then took a few cautious steps over to the Russian. Shaw kneeled down to look Rosho in the eye who was still holding his injured hand. He then grabbed the nine foot six man by his shirt collar and brought his face within centimeters of his own. "If you ever do that again, I will kill you."

Rosho just growled at him some more from his position on the ground before nodding his head yes. Shinobi then stood up and walked back behind his desk and sat down in his chair. He was about to call for security when an even better thought came to his mind. Only when Rosho had picked himself up off of the floor did Shaw speak again. "As I said before, your services on your previous assignment have been terminated. You are no longer needed for that particular job."

There was a short pause before the big man responded with a voice that hid the pain that he was experiencing. "I understand."

Shaw smiled. "Good. However, I do have a offer that I think you would find very... intriguing."

Rosho tilted his head towards one side. "Vat do you mean?"

Shinobi leaned back in his oversized leather chair. "Tell me my dear Rosho, how much do you know about the organizations that I run?"

"Not much. You never really elaborated on your business life. Only on vat you vonted me to do."

The Black King stood and walked back over to the Russian. Clasping the man on his back he looked into Roshoís eyes again. "Come my friend. Let me tell you about the Inner Circle."

Helen woke up in a very familiar room. She had woken up in it so many times before that before she had quite heroin she had started to call it home. It was a place she despised with her very core. It wasnít a very fashionable place, only a dresser and a single bed. There was chipped paint on the walls and in the corners of the room she could see that it was coming apart. It was one of those motels where people rented rooms by the hour. She hated them, mostly because she had been inside them far to many times.

Slowly moving out of the bed, she made her way to the bathroom and turned on the shower. Standing under the faucet and letting the water that ran down her body she tried not to think of the past couple of days. Helen had thought she had escaped this life. It seemed like such a long time ago almost another lifetime to her now. She stood just letting the water hit her for more than an hour. She didnít even notice when it had gone from to somewhat hot to freezing cold.

After about an hour she finally turned the water off and stepped out. While toweling herself off, there came a knock at the door and she momentarily froze. Making a silent prayer she made her way over to the door and unlocked it. Nick walked in a second later and Helen felt like screaming. She knew it wouldnít do any good however, it had happened so many times before with the rookies and it never did any good. She was also afraid of what Nick might do.

Helen shut the door behind him and wished that someone would kill her right then and there. Nick turned around looking hurt. He shook a finger at her before pulling out another syringe and saying, "Helen, we canít have you thinking thoughts like that now can we?"

She lowered her head to the ground and shut her eyes. In a volume that was barely audible, Helen said, "No."

Nick moved closer to her leaning in. He placed a hand to his ear and asked, "Iím sorry what was that Helen. I couldnít hear you."

Opening her eyes and looking up at him she repeated in a weak voice, "No we canít."

A happy smile formed on Nickís face and he stroked her cheek. "There we go. Thatís the Helen I know and love."

To Helen, the touch seemed to burn and she moved away from it as quickly as she could. Just as quickly the smile on Nickís face faded to be replaced by a scornful sneer. He then tightened his grip only this time it was on her neck and he started squeezing. "Helen, Helen, Helen. Iíve missed the old you so much. Am I going to have to go through all that work again to get you to act proper again?"

"No Nick."

His smile returned. "Good. Now go get dressed. You have other regulars that have waited a long time to have you again. Do you know how much you make me in one night alone?"

Helen shook her head. Nick continued, "Well itís enough to make sure that I wonít ever have to worry about going hungry again." He then grabbed her arm and forced it out towards him. Taking the syringe in hand he said, "Now we really canít be letting you have your own thoughts. They might interfere with my business like they did last time."

Nick then injected the fluid into her veins and Helenís whole world went away again.

Part 14

<Other Stories By Mark Howes>


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