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Mark
Howes



Second Chances
Part 15

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 or R for violence, language and adult content.




As soon as the door to her room was shut, Cyclops started making his way towards the exit. He knew more then he wanted and at that moment, he didnít want to think or feel anything. He just wanted to curl up into a little ball and hide as far away as possible.

Cyclops hadnít felt that way in a long time. Not since he had walked in on Jean and Logan. He found it hard to breathe and hard to think of anything else other then what he had just seen. He didnít really know how he got outside. Things started to just blend together and the world seemed to start and revolve around what he had just seen.

There were voices behind him. Not wanting to think about anything at the moment, he tried to concentrate on their voices find out what they were saying. Maybe if he could do that then he wouldnít have to think or feel only experience. Slowly, the world started to come back to him.

"Guy doesnít seem to be able to handle whatís inside." Was what he heard from one of the guards standing outside the door.

"Probably blew his load too early and came out here all embarrassed." Came another one.

"Nah, my bet is heís gay and didnít realize what this place was until it was too late." Was what the final one said.

The first man spoke up again. "Man some of the women in there are so fine that even though they are dirty as sin, even a gay guy would still fuckíem. Hell, I would."

That was the last straw. Before any one of the three could see, Cyclops was on his feet. He delivered a roundhouse kick to the first man catching him off guard. Blood spurted from his lip and there was no sign in his eyes that he was conscious.

Reacting immediately, the other two men charged Cyclops. Acting on pure instinct, Cyclops did a cartwheel connecting with the second manís cheekbone. As his right leg was touching the ground, his left leg did the same thing to the third man as his right did to the second.

Both men staggered back for a few seconds. That was all the time Cyclops needed. Giving the second man a quick three-punch succession to the chest and then finishing him off with an uppercut, he turned his attention towards the final one who was regaining his senses. With a mid kick to the last man and then a backhanded strike across the side of his head, Cyclops sent him down to the ground with little more then a silenced moan.

Not wanting to be found outside with the three unconscious guards, Cyclops scaled the building, which still contained his shirt and trench coat. After placing both on he made his way back to where he left his bike. After a quick start he was off in no real direction. He just tried to run away from the pain that he was feeling. Something he had been doing for the past three and a half years.

A white mist began to form around the area where the three men laid unconscious on the ground. A few seconds later seemingly out of nowhere; two figures emerged from the darkness. Both were hovering in the air slightly still out of sight from anyone who might have been watching from the street. Slowly the two lowered to the ground.

The first figure was a woman. She wore a black business suit with the pants replaced by a skirt that reached her knees. She had jet-black hair with brown eyes to match. Her five foot seven frame allowed her to go anywhere she pleased and was sure to catch some wondering eyes. She was hot and she knew it.

Her companion was draped in a black cloak with his head and face covered by a hood. He looked at a tilted angle towards the ground to make sure that his facial features were covered in shadow. In his gloved left hand he held a staff which was as black as his cloak and as tall as himself. At the end of that staff there was an image of a bullís head with two horns.

The two stood in silence for a few minutes. The female was the first one to speak. Her voice contained a seductive edge to it along with a hint of authority. Both were completely wasted on her companion. "Well, what do you think?"

It was still a while before he answered. "He is... acceptable."

"So can I take it that you approve?" She asked.

There was a faint hint that his head turned toward her. When he spoke again it was harsh and she almost took a step back before she caught herself. She was well aware of this manís power and reputation. It was far greater than her own. "I approve of nothing. I mealy stated that you could have chosen worse."

The woman looked rather disappointed. "So you donít approve."

The man turned his head to face forward again. "I didnít say that either."

A confused look came across her face then. "So what are you saying."

"I stand by my answer. He must prove himself before I approve."

The woman placed her hands on her hips and asked, "And how might he do that?"

He turned to her again and she was sure that if she could see his face he would look like he didnít know what planet she came from. After a short pause he found his voice and answered her. "Put him through the test of course."

A flicker of terror, horror or worry crossed her face for a second before she hid it. However, her companion had noticed it and she scolded herself for it. "Thatís not fair and you know it. We canít put him through the tests that we take. Mortals donít have a hope of passing them."

The man shook his head. "How little you still know. The test is different for everyone. Extremely difficult almost to the point of impossibility yes, but still only almost impossible. The test can still be passed. Due to the fact that he is mortal, we will modify it so that he can pass it if he tries hard enough." Then he looked back to the ground at the three men lying unconscious. "However, you do know what will happen if he fails."

She shut her eyes for a second and winced at the thought. Her reply was barely audible, "Yes."

"Very well. I will return and inform you of what you have to do."

A mist surrounded the cloaked man and within seconds he had vanished. The woman stepped over the fallen guards and walked out of the ally onto the street. She then pulled out a cell phone out of her pocket and hit speed-dial. Seconds later she spoke into the phone, "Pick up." Five minutes later she was in a limousine headed for home.

He didnít really know why he came back here. His mind just kind of steered his body in that direction. He didnít even know who was in control at the moment Cyclops or Scott. It didnít matter though, all that mattered was getting that memory out of his head and he only knew one way to do it.

He pushed the buzzer and waited for a few seconds. It was a female voice who answered; he wasnít really planning on anyone else. He said two words; "Itís me." And immediately after he heard her reply telling him to come in. So he did.

He had come to know this building well. So well in fact that he could walk its halls blindfolded. A few things had changed but he didnít give it much thought. He took the stairs up to the proper floor and then walked down to her room. He hesitated for a few seconds. Perhaps it was a final moment before he admitted defeat. Like all things at that moment he didnít care so he knocked.

The door opened and there she was. He had obviously just woken her up but he doubted that she cared about that. She was beautiful. He could see that now more than ever before. She felt things towards him that no one had ever felt before and that was part of what brought him back here. That she did care for him. He realized that now, it just took him a while to figure it out.

There were no words spoken between them as he picked her up, kissed her and then took her to bed.

Shinobi Shaw paced back and forth across his mansion home in Manhattan. It had been a long day and he hadnít gotten that much sleep. Some business had arisen downtown. Some of his long-standing partners had learned a little bit more then they should have and so he had sent the new Black Rook on his first assignment.

It wasnít as if he had never sent someone to take care of things. It was however, the first time it was a mission given to a member of the Inner Circle. That was why he was anxiously awaiting the return of Rosho to see how his excursion went.

The sun was just breaking over the horizon when there was a call from his cell phone. He quickly picked it up off of his belt and answered it. "Shaw."

"De assignment has been completed. I am returning home."

A small smile crept across Shinobiís face when he said, "Excellent. I knew everything would go smoothly. So how did it go?"

"It vould not be vise to talk over an open line. I shall contact you later today to inform you of last nightís events."

The smile faded and Shaw was once again all business. "Very well. I look forward to speaking with you."

"As do I commandant."

Shaw pushed end on his phone and finally got ready for bed. Last night had kept him up all night doing nothing and now that he had the report that everything went well, he was going to get to bed.

He was just crawling in when his phone rang again. He picked it up and answered in an annoyed and grouchy tone. "What?"

It was Seleneís voice on the other end. "Iím sorry Shaw, did I wake you?"

"No. In fact I was just going to bed, so whatever it is it can wait." He said, the annoyance still in his tone.

"Sorry again but no it canít. Iím in my car on my way to your place right now Iíll be there in thirty minutes. It involves the Inner Circle."

Without giving Shinobi a chance to say something Selene hung up on him and Shinobi was left cursing her name. He then dialed Roshoís number to tell him to get over there. If this thing involved the Inner Circle his Black Rook deserved to be in on it.

As expected Selene got to his place before Rosho. Shinobi however didnít allow any discussion to begin until Rosho had arrived. Once everyone was seated only then did Selene begin, "I have some news."

"I figured as much Selene. Iím tired and not in a mood for idle chitchat. Get to the point." Shawís tiredness was starting to get to him.

The Black Queen rolled her eyes before she continued. "There is a building down in Brooklyn. On the outside itís just another run down place in a bad neighborhood. But as we all know," she paused and looked at Rosho, "appearances can be deceiving."

The Black Rook tilted his head at her motioning for her to continue. "Unlike the outside, the inside contains a society like that of the Hellfire Club. Only this one is based on something much different then money and power."

Shaw yawned. "So?"

Selene turned back to Shinobi. "So I was thinking that since we are in the mood of expansion, I was thinking that maybe we should continue it."

Shaw glared and Selene smiled, "Nicholas Crone. Heís the man that is in direct control of the place. He has both money and power that could rival that of you or me Shaw."

Shinobi now saw where this was going and he was determined to put an end to it. "NO."

Selene became curious. "Why not Shaw? It would only add to our power."

"Heís not needed." Shaw said.

"Like hell he isnít. We only have three members in the Circle. We need more."

Shinobi stood up and walked over to Selene. He crossed his arms and said, "He doesnít have any powers. There would be no gain to bring him in. Also I doubt that he could convince people to do what he tells them. No one even knows what kind of a business he runs. What could he possibly do for us?"

The Black Queen laughed and shook her head, "Youíre wrong on all counts there Shaw. Most of his Ďclientsí are of the influential breed. And to add to that heís a telepath. Something that we are currently lacking."

She strode over and stood behind Rosho looking out of a window at the fantastic view that it offered. "Only good things can come if we bring him into the Circle. It adds power and influence to us. Something that your father did much better than you. One might say in fact that you are incompetent compared to him."

Shaw shot her a scornful look; "Iím ten times the Black King my father was."

She looked back at him without turning around. "Then prove it Shaw. Expand the Circle to what it once was. Bring power back to us. Prove that you are all you say you are."

Shinobi looked away. He knew what she said was true. Even with Rosho, the Circle was missing a white side to balance the black. Although he hated to admit it, his father was a great Black King. And he had yet to live up to that reputation. "What position would you like this Nicholas to have?"

A smug smile crossed her lips, "Why nothing short of the White King Shaw."

Shinobi whipped around so quick that Rosho thought his head was going to fly off. "Absolutely not. I will not have anything or anyone challenging my power."

Selene moved over to Rosho. She trailed one finger along his chest and bent over the couch he was sitting in. Without looking at him she knew she had his undivided attention. "I think youíve already done that Shaw."

He looked back at her with curiosity. "I think itís about time we put this to a vote," she said and then looked down at Rosho, "Donít you?" she asked.

"I believe dat vould be de most democratic thing to do." He said not taking his eyes off her chest.

Selene stood up again. "Excellent, I vote yes."

Shaw responded immediately, "No."

They both looked at Rosho whose eyes were still fixated on Seleneís chest. After a few seconds, his mind got back in touch with reality and he gave his vote, "From vat I haf seen, dis Inner Circle is rather veak. Derfore, I vote yes."

Selene smiled in triumph; "You have chosen well Rosho. Perhaps bringing you into the Circle was not such a bad idea after all." She turned to walk out of the house. Just as she reached the door to the room they were all in she turned back to them. "Iíll contact Mr. Crone and inform him of our offer. I believe he will be more receptive if I was the one to make the proposition." Then she walked out the door leaving both men behind.

Jack Blackman was on his knees with his hands clamped together begging, "Please donít go Sydney. Iíll do anything."

Sydney Gill simply looked up to the ceiling and rolled her eyes. "Mr. Blackman, please get up off the floor itís embarrassing."

His head shot around the room and he looked like he was paranoid, "There arenít any undercover reporters here are they?"

"No, there arenít. However, if it would get you off of the ground I could call some." She threatened.

"Iím not getting off this floor until you agree to stay."

Sydney sighed, "Jack please try to understand, Scott doesnít need my help anymore, heís healed. There are other patients out there who need my help with their recovery."

Jack thought about that for a couple of moments before he came up with an idea. "I have it," he said tossing his hand into the air, "You canít stay here as long as there is no one hurt right?"

Sydney nodded her head. He might actually understand she had to leave now. Then Jack asked, "Hold on a second please. I have something that I have to do."

"What?"

Jack got up off his feet and whipped out a cell phone from his pocket and then quickly dialed a number. A second later he started speaking, "Hello, Johnson. Please come to Ms. Gillís room and bring a sledgehammer with you please... Yes thatís right a sledgehammer. Thank you."

He placed the phone back in his pocket and held up a finger to Sydneyís mouth. "Hold on a second Sydney, youíll see what Iím doing."

She raised an eyebrow at him, "I certainly hope it isnít anything thatís against the law."

He gave her a look of mystery and amusement before replying, "Now why would you ever think something like that?"

She let a short giggle escape her, "Jack in the five months that Iíve known you, there have been some very stupid things that youíve done."

"Oh yea, name one?" He asked.

"All right," Sydney started with a smile, "How about the time that you paid for someone to write "Jack Blackman wants to buy your Denver Broncos" in the sky over California."

Jack gave her a sheepish look and said, "It was an honest mistake."

She shook her head a second and then asked, "What about when you called up the Prime Minister of Britain and told him that you were glad he made the switch from communism to democracy?"

Jack stood tall in his defense of that one, "Well with all the money that the British wanted from America when we were still a colony, I figured they were communists."

Sydney flat out laughed at that, "Jack do you know what communism means?"

He was about to answer that when Johnson knocked on the door. Jack turned towards the man and greeted him. "Thank you for being so prompt Johnson. Iíll be sure to remember this when your next paycheck comes."

Johnson muttered, "Thatíll be the day."

Jack turned back towards him and asked with a confused look, "What was that?"

Johnson smiled brightly at him, "Nothing sir." And then left the room.

"Jack you stopped me from asking you this once before, but what are you going to do with that sledge?" Sydney asked growing impatient concerned and despite her best efforts a little bit afraid.

He looked toward her for a second and then answered, "You said that you couldnít stay here as long as there wasnít someone to help recover right?"

She nodded slowly the concern and fear growing stronger and now starting to show. Jack smiled at her, "Donít worry Sydney I wouldnít do anything to you." Then he lifted up the hammer and brought it down with all of his might on his right knee before Sydney could stop him.

Jack howled in pain as he crashed to the floor. Sydney was by his side in an instant doing her best to assess the damage that he had done. Through gritted teeth he asked, "So you gonna stay or am I going to have to hurt myself some more?"

She looked at him with utter disbelief, "You crazy, stupid, idiotic, psychotic, son of a bitch."

He beamed at her; "I take it that means youíre staying."
She looked at him with a score that the devil would be proud of, "I have to stay. If nothing else then to do the impossible and try to keep you from acting like a complete idiot."

Jack got one final sentence in, "See, I told you youíd be staying." Then he passed out.

Scott awoke holding her in his arms. He regarded her for a second before he moved a stray lock of hair that had fallen across her face out of the way and behind her ear. He looked past outside the window that led to the balcony outside her room. The sun was just coming over the horizon and he could tell that it was going to be a beautiful spring day.

Spring, he let the thought trickle across his mind for a second. It was the time of year that everything was born anew. Flowers started to bloom, life started again and love blossomed. It was a time for happiness without the coldness of the winter or the unbearable heat of the summer.

She stirred from her sleep and that took him out of his thoughts. He looked down at her and smiled. She opened her eyes and looked up into his then smiled and squeezed him tight. "Good morning Scott." She said.

He kissed her on her head, "Good morning Tiffany."

Part 16

<Other Stories By Mark Howes>


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