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Mark
Howes



Second Chances
Part 5

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.

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




"Magic." Tiffany said to her best friend who was almost completely depending on the wall to support her.

"Magic." Helen confirmed still in a dreamy state.

"Well come on girl details, and where did you get that dress?"

Helen looked down at herself and then gave her friend a big smile. "Oh this? Itís nothing just what Scott let me pick out before we went to the party."

"Helen, weíre never going to be able to make our rent now you know that donít you? That gown must have drained you of every last penny you had."

"I didnít pay for it, Scott did." Helen answered her smile still in place.

"Let me get this straight. He buys you that gorgeous gown, obviously to take you to some elegant place, which tells me that he must have, a damn good paying job. And yet he rents a hotel room that wouldnít even make a half star on any resort packages in the world. If you ask me there is more to this man than what he is showing us."

Helen just looked over to her friend; she still had a dreamy glaze in her eye. "He knows Jack Blackman."

It took a few seconds for the information to click in Tiffanyís mind. When it did her eyes went wide and her jaw dropped to the ground. "Jack Blackman? Jack Blackman the super, super rich one?"

Helen slowly nodded her head up and down, "One and the same."

Tiffany looked at her friend in amazement; "You got to meet him?" Helen nodded, "What was he like?"

"Well," she said after thinking about it for a few seconds, "he was everything you would expect of a playboy."

Tiffany leaned in closer to her friend, as if by doing so she could hear any better. "He was charming?"

Helen had a smile on her face. She was remembering what had happened between Jack and his date, "To all but a select few."

"Well where did you go if Jack Blackman was there?"

Helenís smile widened, "The Hellfire Club." Helen thought if Tiffanyís jaw could have dropped anymore, it would have gone straight through the floor and down to the first level of the apartment.

"Who is this man Helen? Does he have a brother?"

"I told you his name is Scott Summers, and yes he does have a brother. Or I should say had."

"Why what happened?"

"I donít know for sure, he didnít really talk about it that much. Too painful I guess."

Tiffanyís face went sympathetic and not just because she felt sorry for Scott. "Oh, well tell me more about him."

And Tiffany listened as Helen spoke for hours.

 

Getting back into the hotel room was just as easy as getting out of it. From the roof of a building across from the hotel, he spotted the man that Shaw and Selene had sent to watch him. He was still in the same spot that he was when Cyclops had entered it. "Well," Cyclops thought, "he gets bonus marks for not falling asleep thatís for sure."

The sun was coming up and he didnít have much time before he would become visible. Quickly taking in the distance, the direction of the wind and any eyes that were on him, he leapt from the roof and onto the hotel. It wasnít all that sturdy, but Cyke had chosen a strong spot in it that he had noticed earlier. He was inside the building in five seconds.

Once he was inside of his room he prepared to take off his visor. When he first started going out as Cyclops again, the first thing he did was install Psy blockers into his visor. That way he didnít have to split his concentration between fighting his opponent and trying to keep a telepath out of his head. It also came in handy due to the constant search that he knew Jean was doing. It allowed him a little break from the constant shields that he had to keep up.

Ever since he had come back to New York just a few short days ago, the amount of energy he had to put into keeping his shields up had increased tenfold. It had gotten to the point that he had started to welcome putting on his visor and letting his guard down. The added force of Cerebro didnít help much either for that matter.

Cyclops took a deep breath, and then took off that which separated him from Scott. Just as quick he put on his ruby quarts shades. Immediately, he felt the barrage of Jeanís mind with the added force of Cerebro. The first few moments were always the worst. The pain was almost overwhelming. Shutting her out was one thing. Making sure that she didnít even know he was there that was something completely different. Now, when he was this close it was almost impossible. The farther away from Cerebro you are, the easier it is to hide. That was another reason he didnít ever want to come back to New York. He couldnít handle the constant pressure of keeping people out.

He stood there getting used to the presence around him for a few minutes. Not moving, the only way you could tell he was alive was because he was breathing. After some time, he moved around the room a bit. He checked on the equipment he had hidden in the room. It was state of the art technology, which had been built by the military department of Jackís company. The equipment emitted false readings to anyone using any sort of radar or sensor to see what was happening inside of his room. In cases like these it was invaluable. The man outside didnít even know he was gone. If he had bothered to check he would have seen nothing was out of the ordinary.

Once he had made sure that the equipment was okay, he removed his outfit. The entire costume, if you could call it that, was made of black leather lined with kevlar. The bulletproof armor had saved his life countless times over the past six months. Most people that he went up against were armed with bats or knives. However, the ones that did carry firearms he had to be careful of. The kevlar allowed him some lead way, but he tried to use that as little as possible. The more you rely on outside protection, the weaker you are.

His newer model visor was a combination of titanium, and adamantium. It wasnít heavily armored, which allowed the device to be light and so it didnít cramp his movements. It could however, take quite a pounding. Combining the two strongest metals in the world could do that for you. With several added bonus features. It contained a tracking device, to home in on targets that had run from the battle. Also, there was a zoom feature, which allowed him to magnify objects and view it at a microscopic level. Last there was a radio in it which could either magnify sound waves and allow him to hear through sound proof rooms or, allow him to communicate to other people should he choose. Since the visor was a necessity he figured that it should at least come in handy once and a while.

His trench coat was his favorite part. It was what allowed him to look terrifying; few people would run from just some guy jumping out of the sky. The trench coat added that extra degree that told people he was going to kick their ass. Not to mention when used properly it could slow a dangerously fast fall. Aside from that it contained hidden pouches that contained all of his spare lines and hooks that he used to travel. Certain areas of the coat were lined with kevlar, which gave him not only protection, but the extra weight could be used as a weapon should it be needed as such. Still Cyclops used it more for the psychological aspect rather than as a weapon or protection.

Finally, he came to the skin tight leather shirt and pants. Unlike the trench coat they werenít lined with kevlar. Instead, they were double layered with leather on both sides and the bulletproof material in between. It was just thick enough to stop a bullet so it was still rather thin; therefore it only limited his movements slightly. However, it was still enough to make him slightly uncomfortable.

Once he had removed his outfit, he shut his eyes again. This time though it wasnít to keep Jean out of his mind. Cyclops could feel the attitude shift he was becoming weaker, his fighting skills were dissipating, and he was lowering his guard. The Scott persona was coming out again. That week, cowardly, do street bum was taking over. It was okay though, no one knew they were different people, not even Jean. As Scott came to life again, Cyclops had one last though that would have shaken Scott to his core.

"Shinobi, lovely to see you on such a wondrous and elegant morning." Selene greeted as she stepped into Shinobi Shawís office at Shaw Enterprises.

"What do you want Selene?" Shaw asked as she walked toward him.

"Canít a woman say hello to a friend on a beautiful day?" She asked.

"We arenít friends, weíre business partners, and you hate days like this. So I ask you again what do you want?" Shinobi said coldly to her. He was obviously not in a mood to socialize.

"Nothing really, I was just wondering what our old friend Mr. Summers did last night thatís all."

"Nothing. Iíve already talked to the man we sent out to watch him last night. Said he never left his room." Shinobi responded with a bored tone in his voice.

"Well then, perhaps you would like to read this mornings paper." Selene then tossed him the newspaper that she had with her.

Shaw took one look at it and then leaned back in his chair his voice still held that edge of boredom. "This is a tabloid Selene, nothing in it is real."

The Black Queen was unwavering, "Flip to page seven, itís the article down at the bottom of the page."

Shinobi did so, when he looked up his attitude was still the same only more so. "What about it?"

"Did you read the article Shaw?" Selene asked.

Shinobi shrugged his shoulders. "Something about people seeing demons and getting arrested. Chances are they were drunk and that is why they were taken in, what of it?"

Selene sighed, "Read the article again you will find that they claimed it was a one EYED demon."

There was an edge of annoyance when Shinobi spoke again, "Get to the point."

Selene shook her head, and wondered not for the first time how he had managed to kill his father and attain the position of the Black King. "Shaw, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a one eyed monster?"

"I think of a Cy-clo-ps." Shinobi uttered as his eyes went wide and his mouth dropped when realization finally dawned on him.

Selene spoke to him as if addressing a small child. "There you go, was that so hard?"

There was no amusement in his words when he replied, "Shut up Selene, I need to think."

"Well thereís a big surprise." Selene muttered under her breath.

Shinobi flipped a button on his phone, "Becky, get me the man I sent to keep our friend Mr. Summers company last night up here please. Thank you."

"What is the point in that Shaw? We already know your man is incompetent."

"Yes we do. I just like to fire people personally."

"Why Shinobi, that is one of the few qualities I like about you." Selene complimented.

"Thank you my dear."

"The Summers problem still remains though." Selene said pointing out the business still at hand.

"Yes Selene I know." Shinobi responded the annoyance back in his voice. "Mr. Summers, if he was out last night then he has changed. And if that is true, then we have no idea what we are up against."

"What do you propose?" She asked.

"We must regain an upper hand. Find something that is important to him and squeeze it. As long as we do that we can keep him out of our way until we are ready to strike him."

"Well, he was with Blackman last night. But we canít very well go knocking on his door now can we?" Selene said in mock humor.

"Donít be ridiculous, that would be suicide." Shaw said, "But what about that blonde bimbo he was with?"

"That might work, If we knew she was important to him." Selene pointed out the one flaw.

"If you saw the way they were acting last night, you would know that they are more than friends." Shinobi corrected. "Now who is she?"

"Iíve never seen or heard of her before?" Selene said with a grin coming across her lips.

"Exactly, no one knows or cares what happens to her. Sheís a nobody."

"Iíll get my people on it, since we all know how capable yours are." There was a smug accusation in her voice.

"If you wish. To be truthful, I donít really care about it. He is just one man; we are probably reading more into him than what is there. I mean remember how he was when we went up against him the last time on the X-Men? No, we have nothing to worry about from him." An arrogant smile came across his face.

Selene walked out of the office thinking to herself, "Be a fool if you want Shaw, in my experience it is dangerous to underestimate someone. They can come back and kick you in the ass real easy."

Helen was sitting impatiently at the front desk in the lobby of the hotel that she worked at. She had paced the room, sang the entire song of ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall five times, and had finally resorted to tapping her fingers on the counter of her desk waiting for Scott to come out of his room.

She had been at work since nine thirty, hoping to see him as much as possible that day. It was now passed eleven and he still hadnít come out. She was beginning to wonder if she should go in there to see if anything was wrong as the door to his room opened and out he walked. She looked at him for a second. He wore a pair of brown shorts with a white muscle shirt. There was a dark stain on the front and back of his shirt. She guessed that he had been working out.

"Itís about time you got out of that room, Iíve been waiting for you." Helen pouted. She stuck out her lower lip to emphasize her point.

Scott regarded her for a second. He still knew so little about her, but he felt something towards her. Something he hadnít felt in a long time. Was it love? No, but it was something damn close that could easily turn into love if he let it. And he was wondering if he should.

He walked up to the desk and put his face inches away from hers. "Sorry about that. Just got up about two hours ago figured Iíd do a little morning work out and then run down to the gym for some weight lifting and a shower."

"The nearest gym from here is ten miles away, and this place has showers."

Scott smiled, and then realized that he had smiled more in the past two days than he had in the past two years. "Helen, the liquid that runs out of the faucets in this place canít exactly be called water. And ten miles is a good jogging distance."

Helen looked at him in shock. "You run ten miles?"

Scott tilted his head to the right for a second and while doing so lifted his eyebrows past the upper rim of his shades so that she could see them. "Actually, itís twenty miles to and back. Which is still five less than what I like to do every day."

"Whatís the point of taking a shower and then running back ten miles?"

Scott had to think about that one for a second, "Well... uh... hmm... you see... I uh... itís like this... uh... You know what? I really donít know."

They both started laughing at it. After a few seconds Scott said, "I guess I could just take a cab back. Still, Iíd have to make up at least five miles today or else I blow my whole workout."

"Why donít you just take a little detour on your way there?"

"You know I was just thinking the same thing. You are one smart lady you know that?"

"I know I know, itís a curse really. People always come up to me asking me questions, just trying to see the amazing answers that shoot out of my mind." She said in mock acceptance, "So what time should you be back?"

Scott looked at his watch, "Well, itís eleven ten right now. Iíd say about two."

"Great thatís the same time I get off. We could go out and have a late lunch together."

"Sounds like a plan." Scott agreed and then he started turning towards the door. "Two oíclock then?"

"Uh yea, and Scott." Helen called after him.

"Yes?" Scott asked as he turned around.

Helen had one of those looks on her face which said that she wasnít quite sure weather to ask a question or not.

"Helen what is it?" Scott asked again as he started stepping closer to her.

"Uh... do you mind if uh... Tiffany and her new boyfriend come along?"

"Not at all why?" Scott said shaking his head.

Helenís expression went from uncertainty to disappointment in a flash. And Scott was left wondering if he had said the wrong thing. "No reason, just that she thought it might be fun to spend some time together thatís all."

"Well that sounds like a good idea. Hey listen do you mind if I get the directions now and that way we can meet at the restaurant."

"Oh sure." Helen said shaking her head.

Once Scott got the address he said goodbye and then was out the door. Helen slumped back in her chair and then cursed herself for asking Scott. Of course he would say yes, that was just the kind of person he was. She hadnít known him all that long and already she could tell someone that.

Helen seriously doubted that Tiffany had a new boyfriend, although it did seem that she had a new one each week. When Tiff had asked her if she could have lunch with them Helen had told her that she would have to ask Scott. She didnít want to turn Tiffany down herself, but she didnít want her to come either.

Helen picked up the phone and dialed the number at the shelter. "Hi Tiffany, I just spoke with Scott and he says sure you can come. Weíll be there around two. Can you make it then? Great, Iíll see you then."

Helen hung up the phone and began wondering why there couldnít be two guys like Scott in the world, one for her and one for Tiffany.

Scott walked into the restaurant. It was a small place that was easily missed if you didnít know what you were looking for. Half of the cab drivers in the city didnít so he had to end up walking the last two miles to get there. Just before he opened the door he looked at his watch 2:45 it read. He wished he had a cell phone with him, that way he could have called and told them that he was going to be a little late.

He scanned the little place and saw that there were only a few people sitting at various spots. It was nice and quiet for a friendly discussion, or if you just wanted to get out and not be bothered by noisy places. He spotted Tiffany sitting alone at a small table in the corner of the room. His first wondered where Helen was and he then remembered that Helen said Tiffany had a boyfriend that was joining them.

Tiffany looked up from the table and smiled at Scott when she saw him. She then waved him over to where she was sitting. Scott walked over and greeted her with a smile, "Tiffany itís lovely to see you again."

"Likewise, Scott." He pulled up a chair and then she continued, "I was beginning to think that you and Helen stood me up."

"Sorry about that, you know the cab drivers in this city. The ones that speak English donít know were to go."

"And the ones that do donít speak English."

They both had a little laugh at that before Scott asked, "So where is your new boyfriend?"

"Who?"

"Your new boyfriend the one that Helen said would be joining us. Speaking of which, where is Helen?"

"My boyfriend cancelled on me at the last second, so I told him we might as well not bother seeing each other if he is already canceling on me. And I have no idea where Helen is, I actually thought she was with you."

"No, we agreed that we would meet here." Concern sneaking into his voice.

"Oh she probably has your problem. Not being able to find a cab."

"Probably." Scott sounded unconvinced.

"Donít worry about it. Sheíll probably be here in a half an hour tops."

"Yea, I guess so."

"In the meantime what do you say we order something? Iíve been sitting here for forty-five minutes, Iím starving." Tiffany said opening her menu.

"Sure," Scott agreed doing the same.

Tiffany spotted him easing up a little. "Good," she thought, "thisíll give me a chance to get to know him better."

The two sat and had a great lunch and conversation. The only thing that gnawed at Scott was that Helen never showed up.

Part 6

<Other Stories By Mark Howes>


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