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Mark
Howes



Second Chances
Part 14

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 had his ribs broken by Rosho five months ago. They had healed two months ago, and he had spent the remainder of that time getting back into shape. Being on your back for three months wasnít really good for ones endurance.

At the beginning of his exercises, he had attempted to maintain his regular workout from before his injuries. However, his body didnít co-operate with his brainís demands and he found himself exhausted after not even a quarter of his workout. Eventually, after about a week his body started to respond to his commands and inside of two weeks he was back to his former self.

Those months had also held other changes besides his lack of physical activity. Such as the fact that he and Tiffany had become much better friends than they were before. She visited him regularly and before long, he began to look forward to the visits from the long hared brunette.

The events of that first night hadnít repeated themselves. However, they always came close. To Scottís surprise, he found himself always the one pushing Tiffany away after he began to think she was getting to close. It was surprising because after all, she was Helenís best friend. If anyone should do the pushing away she should. The only consolation that Scott could find was nothing very serious ever happened.

That was another thing that Scott found interesting and disturbing, Helenís attitude. During the first three months that Scott received his injuries, not once did Helen come to see him. After he had recovered the first thing that he had done was go over to her place to see if she wanted to celebrate his return to health. However, when he had shown up at the door, Tiffany answered and told him that she wasnít feeling well.

At first, Scott had brushed it off taking Tiffanyís word at face value. But then, every time he tried to spend time with her, she always had another excuse not to go out. It got to the point that Scott thought that maybe Helen was avoiding him. However, he brushed that off as being paranoid. All of her reasons seemed to be perfectly legitimate. There was nothing wrong she just couldnít find time to spend with him.

Aside from the whole Helen Tiffany situation, he felt rather worried. Not once in the last five months did he hear anything from the Inner Circle. At first, he suspected that they were the reason for Helenís distance from him. Saying as he was out of commission, it would be the perfect time to strike at her. However, Tiffany slipped and had informed him that they had nothing to do with what was up with Helen.

That at least gave him some information to work with and he had decided to find out what was actually going on. Using a dummy corporation for Blackman Enterprises, he had restocked his supplies of equipment. He replaced the kevlar lining in his outfit and made a couple special tweaks to the electronics in his visor. Adding a few more special features as well as fixing the damage that was done to it in his last encounter with Rosho.

After making the repairs, which had taken the better part of a week, he threw on the uniform. He immediately felt Cyclops take over, something that hadnít happened in five months. It felt nice to once again have some way of releasing the anger that had built up over the years. Cyclops was no longer a way of fighting for a dream, he was now a way for Scott to remain sane.

Since Jackís mansion was well outside of New York City limits, Cyclops decided on a different mode of transportation for the evening. Making his way silently and unseen down to the garage, he took the first vehicle he saw, a 1972 Daytona 500 motorbike.

Hoping on and starting up the engine, he just sat there for a few seconds listening to the motor. This was one of the few things that he still enjoyed, just sitting and listening to the purr of an engine. The perfect mechanics of it, the ingenious of the design, all of it gave him a sense of pleasure that he had almost lost.

Taking a few deep breaths and returning his mind to the present, moved the kickstand into position, revved the engine and exited the garage. Gunning the bike up to one hundred and sixty miles per hour, he blasted down the highway into New York. The trip was a short one only taking about twenty minutes before he reached the outskirts of Brooklyn.

Parking the bike in a dark ally making sure it was in a position so that no one could see it, he scaled the building until he was on the roof. Cyclops then started to make his way to the mutant shelter for a quick check of the area before he went and started looking for Helen. He had been out of it for a while and he just wanted to make sure that nothing had happened in his absence.

Taking five minutes to patrol the shelter from the surrounding buildings, he was satisfied that everything was all right. Then he started to make his way towards Helenís apartment. Upon arriving, he saw that both Helen and Tiffany were still inside apparently having an argument of some kind. Right now he didnít really care what and he situated himself on the building opposite theirs and waited for Helen to leave.

When she did leave, Cyclops spotted Tiffany sit on the couch shut her eyes and start to cry. That made him wonder exactly what they were talking about. He didnít have much time to speculate about it that much because seconds later Helen came out of the building and started to walk down the street.

Deciding that he could find out what the argument was about later, he started to follow Helen. Sticking to the roofs, he always stayed behind her and down low so that he was masked by the shadows of the buildingís edge. The streets were somewhat crowded, but he had no problem keeping track of the blonde.

He trailed her for twenty minutes before he heard a muffled cry from the ally below the building he was on. Forcing himself to take his eyes off of Helen, he looked down and was glad he did. Down below, there was one woman and three men. All of the men were just over six feet and Caucasian.

The first man was holding the woman from behind and had his left hand covering her mouth muffling her cries, while the other held a knife that was placed at her throat. He was blond and fairly well built, the only real problem was the knife and he could use the woman as a shield.

The next man over held a baseball bat made of aluminum. Like the first man, he held it in his right hand slapping it lightly against his left. However, unlike the first man he had little muscle. It kind of reminded Cyclops of Scott Summers when he was younger.

The last one was the only dark hared one of the bunch. He was left-handed as Cyclops could tell that, as he was whipping the metal chain he was holding with his left. This one was not only tall, but also big. He guessed the man weighed between three hundred and four hundred pounds, very little of if was fat.

Wasting little time on his calculations of the drop, and even less on his first target, Cyclops leapt off the building. Bending his legs and connecting with the building opposite the one he just left, he pushed himself back towards the direction he just came from. Once again doing the same thing, he managed to slow his fall enough so that there was only a dull ache in his legs when he landed.

All four people in the ally below heard him coming, but they all had different opinions on what it was. The woman thought it was a bird or something with wings from the sound of it. The three men on the other hand, thought something else. In the beginning, they dismissed it as the wind but they threw that thought out as it kept coming closer and closer. Finally the man with the knife turned around to see what it was. But he was too late.

Just as the man had done with the woman, Cyclops wrapped his left hand around his mouth. He then grabbed the knife hand with his right and yanked it away from the womanís throat. Cyclops then proceeded to pulling the man back into the shadows and knocking him unconscious by throwing him into the brick wall of one of the buildings. The other two men only saw hands come out and take their friend away.

They looked at each other and then back to the darkness. Behind the woman, they saw an image emerge. It was vaguely human shaped. It had a head and a body, but they couldnít see arms or legs, as its torso seemed to stretch down to the ground. In a voice that sounded like it came straight from hell the abomination said, "Leave."

To emphasize his point, a bright red glow came out of the creatureís one eye. If the two men had bothered to look more closely, they would have found that it wasnít a creature but a man with a visor and trench coat on. But instead of doing that, they took Cyclopsís advice and ran.

Once the two men had turned the corner still shouting that judgement day was coming, Cyclops kneeled down to face the woman. As soon as she saw him, she started to very slowly back up into a wall. Cyclops lifted up his hands in a form that said ĎI surrenderí and stated in a calm soft voice, one that betrayed the terror that he had just used seconds before, "Iím not going to hurt you."

Her lip was quivering and tears were streaming down her eyes. Her cloths were ripped where the men had tried to mug and rape her. Cyclops slowly lowered his hands and asked a new question with the same compassion that was in it earlier. "Are you all right? Did they do anything to you?"

He could see the terrified look on her face when he started making his way over to her. She immediately backed up against the wall even more. Still keeping eye contact behind his visor, he repeated his first statement, "Iím not going to hurt you." To try and do something to show her his sincerity, he extended one hand palm up towards her.

She looked at his hand, then to him, and finally back to his hand before reaching out and taking it. Cyclops pulled her towards him and when she was close enough, she wrapped her arms around him and buried her head in his chest. Her tears were coming freely now and she started muffled "thank you" and "I thought they were going to kill me." He wrapped one arm around her back and then one hand on her head and started stroking her hair. He started whispering to her, "Itís okay now. Itís okay."

They sat there for about ten minutes before Cyclops said, "Iíll take you home."

There was the faintest nod, and he made his way to the buildingís fire escape. Hooking one of his lines on the bottom ladder, he pulled it down and started to make his way up carrying her in one hand and climbing with the other. Once they had reached the first level of the escape, he picked her up in both hands and walked the rest of the way up. When they had reached the roof she pointed out the direction of her house and they started to make their way there.

The trip back to her place wasnít all that long and they managed to make it there without wasting much time. The woman thanked him again and asked if there was anything she could do to repay him. Cyclops told her no and then started to make his way back in the direction of were he rescued her. Upon reaching the building, he switched his visor to tracking mode and found where Helen had stopped moving. Tossing his cable in the direction of where she was, he was once again on her tail.

Needless to say her location wasnít what he was expecting at all. Mind you he didnít really know what to expect. There was no real main entrance into the building; there was only a side door in the ally. Keeping to the shadows, he made his way down to see what was inside.

Three bouncers guarded the door, and each one was armed. Cyclops was willing to bet that there were even more on the inside. All three were heavily built and Cyclops doubted that he could drop all three without whoever was in the building to come see what was happening.

The whole setup gave Cyclops a bad feeling and he double-checked to make sure that he was in the right place. Quickly checking the entire building to see if there were any other entrances that he missed, he became concerned when he found none. The entrance to the building on the street didnít have an elevator or stairs leading down. He had switched from his visor to his shades and walked in. Luckily for him there was no one in the lobby and he got a fairly good look around before leaving and placing his visor on again.

There were no windows at the lower level for him to see what was going on inside. However, on further inspection of the lower levels, he saw that some work had been done for removal and replacement of other things so he assumed that there had once been windows.

To Cyclops it smelled like something illegal was going on, and he hoped that whatever it was Helen wasnít involved in it in any way. Sticking to the rooftops, he waited. After a few minutes, there was a large group of people walking down the ally and Cyclops thought "Perfect."

Shedding his trench coat, shirt and visor so that he was only warring a muscle shirt and black kevlar lined pants, he lowered himself to the back of the group where they wouldnít see him and the guards would think that he was a part of the group. There was a slight holdup for a few seconds before they were let in.

Quickly getting away from the group unnoticed, he allowed himself a look around. He was in a hallway, the lighting was terrible and due to his shades he could only see a few feet in front of him. There was the distinct smell of marijuana in the air and Cyclops occasionally breathed through his hand to make sure he didnít inhale too much of the drug.

The hallway was lined with doors; each had one guard posted to them. There was a line up of men most only about three people long and Cyclops feared that he knew exactly what was going on behind them. Although in this kind of place he was certain that he had a fairly good idea.

He made his way down the corridor to the door at the end of the hall. He had to walk down several flights of stairs and Cyclops guess that he was several feet underground. There were two guards stationed at the entrance of the door at the end and when Cyclops came up to them both held out one hand palm facing him in the traditional statement Ďstop.í

Like all the other guards they were big with little fat. Both were over six and a half feet tall. Cyclops guessed that this was the main area for whatever was happening. The first one had a low voice, "Youíre gonna have to pay to get past this point."

Cyclops looked up at the man summing him up. Like everyone there, one on one he would pose no problem. It was the fact that they were in numbers that bothered him. If he had the element of surprise on his side he knew that he could take them. However, that advantage was gone. And worse yet he was missing most of his armor. He decided it was best to do reconnaissance now and kick their asses later.

Lowering his voice though not as much as he did when speaking as Cyclops he asked, "How much?"

The second guard spoke this time, "Seventy five. As always thereís extra if you want to rent."

Cyclops reached into his back pocket and pulled out the required amount. One thing he had learned was not to carry your wallet around but always carry cash. He handed the money to the second guard and waited while he counted it. When the man was satisfied he nodded to his partner and Cyclops was let through.

If he thought that the hallway was bad this room was even worse. There were tables strewn out across the floor. Each one of them contained at least three couples either fucking or having oral sex. A stage was set up at one end of the room and there were strippers dancing upon it. Everywhere he stepped, there was a wet slush sound made beneath his boots. In between the tables there were people fighting over the right to have sex with the hooker that was there.

Cyclops found that the only place he could even remotely tolerate was the bar, which spanned the West Side of the room. When he found a seat that wasnít too wet, he sat down and waited for the waitress to serve him.

Except for their thigh high black leather boots, the waitresses were completely nude. The one that came to Cyclops had her red-dyed hair cut short. Cyclops always had a thing for redheads, but in her case he was willing to make an exception. It wasnít that she was unattractive, every single woman that was there was hot. It was just that Cyclops had a prejudice against women who sold their bodies.

"Heyíya pretty boy. What can I get for ya?" Cyclops could tell the southern accent as she came over to him.

Figuring he might as well take advantage of the situation, he asked, "You know if Helenís working tonight?"

The woman leaned over the table; she made sure as to squish her breasts together between her arms to make them seem even bigger. Cyclops just kept looking at her face. "Thatís gonna cost ya hon."

"How much?"

Finding that her tactic wasnít working she brought her face down so that her eyes were looking straight into his from behind his shades. In a seductive voice she asked, "Whatís a nice boy like you doiní lookíin for a bad girl like her anyway? I think youíd have a much better time with little olí me."

Cyclops took out a fifty and placed it on the counter. "Helen, working tonight. Yes or No?"

The waitress took the money and placed it under the counter. She looked slightly disappointed. "Room five. Third door from the entrance on your left."

Cyclops got up from his seat and before walking away muttered, "Thanks."

He heard her call after him, "Any time hon. You get bored with her, you donít hesitate to come on back. Iíll show you a good time."

Cyclops tried his hardest not to shudder as he walked out of the area. Moving back down the hallway towards the entrance, the only thing that Cyclops was thinking was "Please donít be her." That thought was repeated in his head over and over again. He almost missed the door that the woman had told him was Helen because of it.

Now Cyclops was really scared. This door had the longest line up. However, unlike all the other doors, this one had people that were obviously trying to hide who they were. Most wore coats with the collars pulled up around their faces. Shades and a hat of some sort placed in a way to cover most of their faces.

Cyclops walked to the end of the line and waited for it to move up. While he was there he just listened to the sounds that he didnít let himself hear before. He had to keep from vomiting on the spot when he did so. There were muffled moans; sometimes he heard the odd crack. Some people liked it really ruff and so they came down here to do it since no one with half a brain would let them do it up in the real world.

He stopped right there. The real world, perhaps that was what was wrong. Everyone up there walks around thinking they are completely safe that that is the real world. Well, maybe this was the real world. Down here in this depraved, horrific, senseless, demonic reality. The thought chilled him and this time he couldnít fight back a shudder.

This was a world just as real as the one everyone else like to live in, and Cyclops found himself wondering why he was only thinking this now. Every night he had gone out and lived this world for the past year. He had seen things just as bad as this but only now it was effecting him.

Perhaps it was because that he had never seen it in such a blunt way like this before. Or maybe it was because he had never allowed himself to see this way before. The thing the Cyclops feared was because that the sounds coming from the door he was in a line up for and the fact that those sounds had a very familiar voice behind them.

The line moved very slowly and Cyclops found himself thanking whatever god could allow something like this to happen for that. It was down to only four people now and he was in a perfect position to see whoever was going to open that door.

The wait seemed like an eternity. Every second seemed to take forever to go by. Cyclops found his heart beating faster and faster. His hand started to shake and he had to take hold of it to make sure that it settled down. The entire world seemed to take place in slow motion. It was like everything outside of that door didnít exist. And when it finally started to open, Cyclops found himself wishing that it didnít.

Out of the door walked a man. He was somewhere in his late fifties. He had gray hair and Cyclops could tell that the years had not been kind to him. From what he could see of the manís facial features, he was covered in wrinkles. He looked old, and if it wasnít for the cane that was at his side, Cyclops was willing to be that the man would fall over.

It wasnít the man that got his attention though, it was the woman that stood with her hand on the door behind him. She was about five foot four with shoulder length pure blonde hair. She had a beautiful face that Cyclops found himself wishing that he hadnít seen. From his place directly behind the man in front of him, Cyclops could see the woman but she couldnít see him. And when he finally got to see the woman that was behind the door emerge, his heart sank.

The woman was Helen.

Part 15

<Other Stories By Mark Howes>


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