Jean sighed as she felt Scott's strong arms wrapping
around her body. His smooth skin rubbed against hers familiarly. Jean
smiled as Scott's love and renewed happiness poured down their newly
reestablished link. Still, there was a great deal of guilt and fear
that trying to stay from the link. "Scott."
"Hmmm?" he asked, as he rubbed her back in a soothing
"We have to get out. The others want to know what happened to
you," Jean replied, as she picked up her shirt telekinetically
and brought it toward herself.
Scott looked nervously at the clock on the wall seeing that it was
8 a.m. "I-I can't," Scott said, as he looked down.
Jean blinked and slowly stood up. "Why?" she asked.
"I know we need our time alone together, but the others need to
see you. They missed you." Jean put her hand on Scott's chin and
tilted his head up to her, continuing, "I missed you."
Scott nodded and said, "I know. I want to see the others just
as much as you but, I mean...I can't get out of here. Sinister was the
one who freed me from Apocalypse. I need to think of a good way to
tell you this..."
Jean looked up with a shocked expression. More questions sprang
into her mind. Why did Sinister save Scott? How had Sinister managed
to save him? What did Sinister do to him? True, Logan did tell her
about Sinister´s scent but part of her didn´t want to believe it.
"I know," Jean whispered, as she stroked Scott's long
hair. The hair felt long and sticky to her hands. It was bunched up in
places and the oily feel of the hair made her want to cringe.
"How long have you been held captive by him?" she whispered.
Scott shrugged and said, "I don't know. Sinister told me that
it had been a year since I was rescued from Apocalypse. But he told me
that it took only six months for my body to be regrown. After that, I
don't really know. About a month, I guess, but I've been tranquilized
a great deal."
"That monster," she said, as she gritted her teeth.
"I don't know whether to be grateful to him or hate him."
"I know how you feel," Scott said. "Let's not worry
about that now. All that matters is that I'm free and with you."
"I know," she said softly. Jean rolled off of Scott's
bare chest and put on the various clothes that were scattered about.
"I now know how you felt when you first realized that I was
alive. Oh! Hank, Warren, and Bobby are on the other side of the
Scott nodded and put on his clothes. There was a knock on the door.
Jean sat up and said, "It's okay, we're decent."
Hank bounded in with a bouquet of flowers and handed them to Scott.
"Greetings and salutations, former fearless leader!"
Scott blushed as he accepted the flowers. "Ummm...thanks."
"I must make up for the rigorous tests I had to conduct on
your body as well as future tests," Hank blurted out, in a
"Future tests?" Scott asked, as he tightened his grip on
"Only to make certain nothing sinister has happened to your
body," Hank replied, as he winked at his friend.
Bobby ran up and hugged Scott. "Great to see you back, Slim!
Although, I wish you could've come back before we planted the
"What... flowers?" Scott asked, as he returned the hug.
"The flowers we planted on your gr- your grave," Bobby
said, as he let go.
"That's nice," Scott said, as he lay the flowers in his
hand on a nearby tray. When Warren stepped up, Scott nodded and said,
"Hi, Scott," Warren said, as he stared at one of his
oldest friends. Tears came to his face as Warren reached out and
hugged Scott, wrapping his wings around him.
"I missed you too," Scott said, as he tried to pat
Warren's back through the feathers. Warren let go and stepped back.
"I have an idea!" said Bobby. "After Scott gets into
some decent clothes, we could go to the memorial?"
Scott and Hank grimaced. Hank said, "Normally, I would suggest
such a activity, but now is not the proper time."
"Why?" Warren asked. "It's bright, it's beautiful
"Exactly," Scott said, "I can't get out because it's
bright outside." He sighed deeply as he sat down again, and said,
"Sinister made me very sensitive to the sun. The smallest ray
burns me and it's so painful. There's no cure."
"I-I'm sorry, I didn't know," Bobby said, as he sat down
in a chair on the other side of the room.
"Why did he do that?" Jean asked, as she sat on the other
side of Scott.
"I don't know. I think that he made it like that so it would
be harder for me to escape," Scott replied, as he faintly smiled
in an ironic. "I can't face the sun ever again."
"What will you do?" Jean asked her husband. Scott had
always enjoyed the sun. It was his source of power. The days they
spent together whenever things were quiet, they spent just basking in
the sun. The sun was one of the few things in this insane world that
was dependable. It was always there, virtually unchanged despite all
Hank replied for Scott as he just sat there. "I'm currently
working on a special suit to aid our heliophobic teammate. I've got
Forge to aid me, but until then, he has to remain indoors during the
"I'm not scared of the sun," Scott said. "I just
can't get out anymore."
"Maybe we can celebrate outside at night," Bobby said, in
his ever-optimistic mood. "We can get out at sunset and just get
out on the town."
"That's sounds like fun," Scott said, smiling, and
patting Bobby's arm. "Jean, where are my clothes? I don't want to
spend the day in this outfit." Scott gestured to his T-shirt and
blue jeans. The clothes were worn out, torn in various places and they
were also clothes that Sinister had given him.
"Ummm..." Jean said, as her face turned red. "We
gave them away. It was Nathan's suggestion. We had to pack up
everything you had, except for a few treasured items, and we gave them
away. I think Alex have some of your old clothes after he returned
from that alternate universe but the rest, I don´t know. Sorry."
Scott sighed and smiled slightly. "Well, I was dead for a
year. I guess that's a good reason. But I don't want to wear
"Wait a second," Bobby said, as he walked out of the med.
The four waited as Scott tried to stifle his yawns. He sat down on
his med. lab cot as Bobby ran in with a set of clothes. "Here you
go," he said as he handed Scott the clothes.
"Thanks," Scott said, as he accepted the clothes and went
into the next room. "I'll be right back," he said, as he
went into one of the cleaning stations that Hank and his patients
often used when they needed to be in the med. lab for long periods of
Scott entered the room and looked at the new technology that had
appeared in the time he was gone. The walls were bright white and
various technologies lined the area. He shivered slightly when he
recognized a piece of equipment as Celestial. The same equipment that
He shook his head and took a deep breath. Quickly stripping off his
clothing, he hopped into the shower. It was like the old shower
stalls; it had the usual heavy-duty shampoo in those gallon jugs that
come in economy size. With Hank's fur, he needed all that shampoo as
Scott could just feel the grime on his smooth skin. The stench of
the month or so long captivity settled in. He could almost smell blood
all over his hands. He took a bottle of body wash and poured it all
over his body. He lathered the sweet smelling liquid up and down his
The water splattered all over his glasses. It was getting hard to
see with them on. He smirked to himself as he cracked open the door
and carefully lay the glasses on the floor. He didn't need them now.
He took a very small amount of shampoo to wash his now long hair.
He had to wash it. The long hair tickled at his back and his neck. He
felt the it run through his fingers.
He let the hot, steaming water rinse off the foam created out of
the soap and shampoo. He stood motionless as he closed his eyes and
felt the spray of water hitting him again and again. **Scott? Are you
done yet?** Jean's voice echoed in his head, interrupting his quiet
He sighed and focused outwards, **Almost, Hon, are we being
**No, but we are getting impatient. It's been half hour already.
It's not like you to take such long showers. Well, unless you have
company.** Jean said the last statement with a wicked note laced in
**Maybe, later.** Scott sighed as he turned off the spray of
soothing hot water and stepped out of the stall. He saw a device next
to the stall that was labeled 'Instant dryer'. He stepped in front of
it and pushed the 'start' button. A swirl of hot air circled him as he
felt his hair drying immediately.
He picked up the clothes. It was a pair of black shorts with a gray
T-shirt. He searched and found a pair of underwear and socks in the
pile. He put on the clothes and looked in the mirror. The man standing
there smiled back at him. Scott shook slightly when he saw that pair
of red-on-black eyes beaming back at him. "The glasses,"
Scott recalled, as he looked down to see his pair of ruby quartz
glasses still sitting on the floor. He bent down and picked them up.
They were still wet from their brief time in the shower.
He took a small toilette and wiped them dry. There was a time when
he wouldn't so something so careless. A time when he wouldn't even
think about forgetting something as vital as his glasses. Of course,
at that time, he needed those glasses like a fish needed an aquarium
on land. Now, they were just a fancy pair of sunglasses that he could
put on and take off any time he wanted to.
He slid on the glasses as he used to do constantly. They felt heavy
on his nose. It had felt that way back in the alley when he needed to
look normal. Before, he hadn't minded the weight.
With one last glance at the frowning man in the mirror, he left the
He reentered the med. lab to see his friends sitting and waiting.
"What took you?" Warren asked. "You were in there for
over forty-five minutes. We were afraid that you'd got lost."
"Nah, I lost track of time," Scott replied. "I
haven't taken a voluntary hot shower in over a year. I think I
"Of course. I pray that you did leave some hot water in
there," Hank said, as he stood up.
"I don't know. Sorry." Scott said, as he looked down at
his outfit. "Where's Bobby?"
"He left on an errand," Jean replied. "He said that
he hoped that you're feeling better."
Scott blinked as he looked around. Bobby would feel nervous around
him since Scott had been part of Apocalypse. After Bobby learns that
Scott´s rescued by Sinister, he might be more nervous around him.
Soon, everyone would know and treat him differently.
Scott sighed and lay down on the bed for a moment. "I have to
tell you something," he said, as he sat back up and bit the
inside of his lip nervously. "As you know, Sinister was the one
who saved me."
Warren opened his mouth as Scott continued, "He did more than
just make me sun sensitive." He took off his glasses and looked
at them with now piercing red-on-black eyes.
Jean and the others stared at their friend. Even Hank, who knew
about Gambit's DNA, was shocked at the eyes. "Oh my stars and
"I know this must be a shock." Scott said, as he started
to put his glasses on again.
"Keep them off," Jean ordered, as she put her hand on the
hand with the glasses to stop Scott from putting them on. He looked
into her eyes and noticed how green they were. Jean said, "I like
seeing your face. Why do you need to wear those glasses again?"
"I thought that well...you know," Scott fumbled, as he
gestured to his eyes again.
"Jean's right," Warren said, as he stepped forward,
"Why not? Don't worry. Remy and I settled our differences a long
time ago while you were...away."
"I'm glad that you don't mind my change," Scott said.
"After dark, I'll tell the other teams. Please don't tell them
now. I don't want any unnecessary rumors going around." He lay
the glasses on the bedside table.
"There is nothing to worry about, my friend," Hank said.
"Your little DNA change is nothing major. You still look like you
without the glasses on. At least you didn't turn blue," Hank
added, as he gestured to himself and Warren.
"Or have any clones that posed as you," Jean said.
"As far as I know, you barely changed," Warren said.
"You were overdue for something like this."
"You mean that I was meant to be a semi-clone of Gambit?"
Scott asked. Before anyone could answer, Scott yawned and lay back
down on the bed. "I'm tired, do you mind if I sleep for a
"Sleep? At nine in the morning? I thought you'd be up all
day?" Warren asked, as he looked up at the clock.
"I'm just tired," Scott moaned, as he put his hand under
Jean nodded and sat beside him. "I'll stay here with
"I'm certain Remy will let you have a day off," Hank
said. "Perhaps after sunset we shall waltz down to Harry's for
drinks and celebrations."
"Hmmm...I wouldn't mind a cold beer," Scott said, as he
smiled, "It's been too long since I had one."
"We may have to do more tests," Hank said. "You may
not be out of the woods yet. -- Hello?"
Scott didn't listen. His eyes were closed as he buried his head in
the pillow. Jean sighed as she pulled the blanket over him.
"Leave him alone. He's exhausted," she said, as she stood up
and graced her hand over his cheek.
"He look so...different like that. Asleep, no glasses, no
visor," Hank whispered, as he and Warren left the med. lab.
"Yeah, he does," Warren said. "He looked just like
Gambit like that."
"There has always been an uncanny resemblance between the
"I never noticed." Warren said, as he recalled the
various times he'd seen Remy and Scott in the same room at the same
"Neither have I before now. It's most interesting what we
X-Men tend to miss. Like that time Bishop vanished and no one
The sands rose as a lone figure screamed from within the pyramid.
He ran around, looking fearfully for any possible way to get out of
the tomb. The walls shook and small stones started to come from the
ceiling. "Let me out!" he screamed, as he fired an optic
blast out, only to do no damage. Scott shook with rage as he fired
again. He was in his tattered X-Men uniform.
Suddenly, a rope appeared seemingly out of nowhere -- it led to the
ceiling. Scott grabbed it and held on tightly. The rope slowly pulled
itself up and toward his possible freedom. He smiled in relief as he
saw a small light in the ceiling becoming brighter. The light grew so
bright that he closed his eyes. He felt a strong hand grabbing his.
"Thank you," he said with joy, as he stepped down with his
He felt the rope looping around him. He opened his eyes to see the
rope transformed into a long cobra. The cobra was large, black and it
had red-on-black eyes. It arched as it´s hood spread out.
"Help!" he screamed, as he tried to break free. It wrapped
itself tight around the young man as he started to struggle to
"No one can help you now," a deep voice said, as Scott
looked up at his 'rescuer'. The figure had morphed into a pale-faced
man with red lips and black armor. Sinister laughed as Scott saw the
snake melt and cover his entire body. His clothes changed from blue
and yellow spandex to pink and black armor. His hands were free as he
watched a pair of skintight gloves cover his hands except for his
first and third finger. A trench coat sprouted out of his back and
covered his body with it. The visor fell off and crumbled into the
A tombstone rose out of the ground. Scott, now transformed into
Gambit, stumbled forward to read the inscription: 'Scott Summers,
beloved husband and father. R.I.P.' We will miss you?´ He screamed
out as he tried to rip the clothes, "NNNNOOOOOO!!!"
Scott opened his eyes and screamed, “NO! GET IT AWAY!!! I´M NOT
DEAD! I´M NOT DEAD!”
"Scott!" Jean exclaimed, as she touched his shoulder.
He looked at her and felt her soft hand with his own. "I'm
fine," he lied, as he looked at the clock. It was five p.m. In an
hour, the sun should be setting.
Jean shook her head. "Not from the emotions I sensed while you
**I am me. I am Scott,** Scott reminded himself, as he shielded his
mind from his wife. "I just had a nightmare. That's all. Have I
been asleep all day?"
"Pretty much," Jean answered. "Hank wanted to do
some more tests but I convinced him to wait till you're all rested up.
He told me that he's got a surprise for you." She paused as she
watched Scott putting on the glasses again. Scott sighed in relief as
he looked back up again. "Scott, I know what's it like to wonder
who I am. With all these twisted memories of Madelynn and the Phoenix
my mind, at first I didn't know who I was either. You are you. Despite
the DNA change, you are still Scott Summers. You are still Cyclops.
You are still the man who offered me a chair when we first met."
"You grabbed the chair away from me," Scott reminisced.
"Only because I wanted to show four hormonal teenage boys that
I'm wasn't frail," Jean reminded.
"Those were the days."
"Nice try at changing the subject," Jean said, poking
"Damn it. I know what you're trying to get at. We have to tell
the others about this," Scott said, as he lifted his glasses to
reveal his eyes.
"They will understand," Jean said. "It's nothing out
of the ordinary. After all, we've dealt with Betsy changing, Warren,
Hank, and several others."
"I know. It's just that I'm afraid," Scott said, as he
stared down at his clothes.
"Afraid of what?" Jean asked. She knows the answer, but
had to hear Scott admit it.
"What if I'm not Scott?" he asked. "What if Sinister
created me out of his Cyclops and Gambit DNA and just implanted
memories in my mind? For all we know, Sinister killed Apocalypse and
made me just to see what would happen."
"Don't think like that!" Jean snapped, causing Scott to
stare at her. She grabbed his shoulders and his shirt. Her voice
smoothed into a soothing tone. "You are you. Our telepathic link
may have been down, but our bond is deeper than that. I know about
Sinister because Logan told me about his and the Marauders' stench on
your clothes and your body. I know what Sinister can and would do. He
can make up people who think and act like the real thing. But you are
not creation of Sinister. You are the man I loved and married."
She held herself to him and said, "I know that you are you in
mind, heart, and soul. I love you no matter whose DNA you have, no
matter what that monster did to you. Just don't think for one second
that you are not my husband; you are."
Scott stared at her as she tried to fight the threatening tears
from her eyes. "Jean," he whispered, as tears trickled from
behind his glasses, "I'm sorry. I'm just scared. I've been
through hell with Apocalypse and I'm just tired of fighting."
"Then stop. You're home. We can have the children we always
"Hmmm... Yes. Of course, Gambit will be like the uncle in a
genetic sense. Oh god. How are we related?" Scott asked as he
held his head to the growing complications of his family tree.
"See? You're angsting about your genetics and children that
don't even exist yet. You're Scott Summers."
"Okay, I believe you," Scott said, smiling. "At
least, I don't have to worry about Gambit taking over my life."
Jean started to smile, then her smile faltered. "Ummm...I know
this will sound odd, but did Nathan or anyone else tell you what
happened over the past year?"
"About?" Scott asked, confused about Jean's smirk.
"Gambit and Rogue are co-leaders of the X-Men now," Jean
said, as she looked, waiting for Scott to respond.
Scott stared at her. Jean stared back. He blinked and asked,
"WHAT?! Those two?! Why? HOW?!"
"It's kinda complicated," Jean said.
"What about Ororo? Or Kurt? Or even Nathan? They had past
experience as leaders."
"Ororo refused because she was looking after me while I was
mourning. Kurt is pursuing a more religious way. Nathan and Gambit
fought for leadership and Nathan lost," Jean explained. She had
expected Scott to ask who was in charge of the X-Men, and even
expected him to react the way this way.
"Are they good leaders?" Scott asked.
"Yes," Jean replied. "Rogue and Remy are more
proactive. They have different styles of leading. Things have changed
"No kidding," Scott said. "Where's the Professor? I
expected him to be here constantly to see if my mind is okay. Is
"No!" Jean replied. "Not at all. He's in space.
"No. Do you remember the Skrulls that were with
"Yes. I remember many of them remaining."
"Charles ran off with the remaining Skrulls to help them find
a new homeworld to settle. He felt guilty for not being able to save
their first homeworld. We tried to contact him when we found you, but
we're having no luck so far." She frowned and said, "I wish
I could tell him 'I told you so' right now."
"Does that explain the various Skrull technology that I
recognize around here?" Scott asked, as he gestured towards
various pieces of equipment.
"Yes," Jean said, as her voice became lined with
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Jean replied. "It's just that Charles
and I have a little disagreement about your 'death'. I don't want to
talk about it."
Scott nodded as he lay down. "So, when will the sun set?"
"Soon," Jean replied. "Don't worry. Hank ordered
that all curtains and shades get pulled down and Ororo put up some
clouds over the mansion to help. She doesn't know about the DNA change
"Good. I'll tell the others about what happened to me,"
Scott said, as he rubbed his chin. "After a shave. I really need
Gambit felt the stares of his teammates as he sat there. He
remained calm as he shuffled his cards. He knew exactly what everyone
(including himself) was thinking. Now that Scott was back, would he go
back to co-leading the X-Men? At first, he'd had trouble being the
leader instead of the rebel. The constant weight of responsibility
that weighed on him grew heavy on him. He'd had to deal with Jean's
grief, Cable's stubbornness, as well as his own powers starting to get
out of control. There was also the matter with his formerly dead
ex-wife. He'd remained a partial outsider and became more responsible.
"Ca te rappelle de quelqu'un, Remy?"(1)
he asked himself, as he smiled ironically.
"Who are you thinking about?" Rogue asked.
"Nothing, Chere," Remy replied.
"Je sais le francais aussi. (2) I know what
you said under your breath," Rogue said.
"I know," Remy said, as he flipped another card. It was a
"What do you think? Ah mean, about Scott coming back and
Gambit blinked and replied, "Looks like my chances with Jean
are gone now."
"I'm serious," Rogue said, as her southern accent faded.
It was a habit of hers that she started when she began to lead the
X-Men. A way for her to seem more serious and enable her orders to be
understood better. "You know about how Scott would react to you
being one of the leaders of the X-Men."
"If he want's the job back," Gambit said, as he lit up a
card with his power, "he'll have to fight to get it back."
"Why not? I know that he could be trusted before, but now...I
mean, do you think that he could survive being possessed by Apocalypse
for that long with all of his marbles?"
Rogue reluctantly agreed. "Okay, so he's been through a lot.
We can't just stop trusting him."
"I'm not saying that, Chere. It's just...who knows what he's
been through the past year,"
"I'll tell you as much as I can," another voice said,
from behind them.
Gambit held his still charged up card up and turned to see Scott
and Jean standing there. Remy decharged his card and asked, "How
long have you been there?" He quickly had a look over of Scott.
He was wearing his usual sunglasses. His long hair was tied up in a
ponytail and his clothes looked familiar, somehow.
"Long enough," Scott said. "We...need to talk. I
need to tell the teams something big."
"What is it?" Rogue asked, as she noticed Scott staring
at Gambit. She wondered if he knew about Gambit's leadership of the
X-Men. Scott seemed to have a very stoic face on like he was hiding
"I'll tell when the meeting starts," Scott said, as he
and Jean walked toward the War Room.
Rogue and Gambit followed them. Gambit's eyes widened when he
remembered where he'd seen those clothes before. "Are dos my
clothes?" Gambit asked Scott.
Scott looked down and said while he smiled almost in irony,
"So they are. Thank Bobby for me when you see him," then
walked out of the room.
Rogue looked at Remy and asked, "How did Bobby get your
"Ummm...you don't wanna know."
Scott sat down as groups of X-Men entered the room. He could feel
everyone's stares and hear everyone's unasked questions. He knew that
some people wouldn't trust him as much after he revealed what had
occurred. Jean sat beside him and held his hand in support.
He looked up to see that all of the X-Men had arrived. Among the
familiar faces were a pair of different ones that he'd never seen
before. Alex was there as well with Lorna. Nathan sat in the back with
his arms crossed.
"Is everyone here?" Scott asked, wanting to make sure
that he didn't miss any of his teammates.
“Yes.” Jean answered.
"Okay," Scott said, as he took a deep breath and put on
his most serious expression. " As everyone here knows, I was
possessed by Apocalypse when you last saw me. I know that all of you
have questions about how I escaped. Hank, Cecilia, Moria, Nathan and
Logan already know but they haven't told anyone, yet."
His hands shook as he briefly looked down and then looked up again.
"Mr. Sinister was the one who managed to separate me from
Apocalypse. He was the one who gave me a new body and destroyed
He paused as he heard the various gasps of disbelief and murmurs.
"I am me. I'm not a clone," Scott said, as he regained his
voice. Jean squeezed his hand to make him go on. "But Sinister
did alter me. As you might have noticed, I remained in the med. lab
"We thought that you and Jean wanted privacy," Kitty
remarked. Scott looked at her and noticed that Kitty had a very short
haircut and her stance was similar to Logan's. The phrase 'Kitty got
claws' sprung to mind.
"That too," Scott said, trying to lighten up the
situation slightly. He cleared his throat and added, "The main
reason is that my skin cannot stand the sun anymore. The smallest ray
would cause me great pain and burns. Hank and the others will be
trying to find ways for me to get out without burning. Until then,
I'll have to wear a complete body costume suit or remain in the
mansion with the curtains drawn."
There were more murmurs as well as a few, "Sinister did
that?" "Poor guy." "How will his powers
Scott spoke up again. "My powers work differently now because
I have a different source of power. That's another thing I must tell
you. My new body is a mix of two different sets of DNA, mine...and
Ororo stood up and asked, "Forgive me for asking, Scott, but
you look unchanged. You look normal."
"I know I may not _look_ different, but I am." Scott
looked at Gambit who seemed fairly distant, yet had a look of sympathy
in his red-on-black eyes. "This will be fairly shocking for you.
In fact, it's still shocking for me. I would appreciate if there were
no jokes whatsoever from any of you." He closed his eyes and took
off his glasses. There were sounds of shuffling chairs and feet as
most of the X-Men anticipated a pair of deadly optic blasts coming
their way. Several people fell over anyway when he reopened his eyes.
Some of the X-Men were staring in shock at Scott's now red-on-black
eyes. More looked at Gambit to make sure that he was still there.
Gambit looked up with his own red-on-black eyes and muttered, (3)"Il est moi...He's me." He looked at
the various faces that were looking back and forth between Gambit and
Cyclops. It was as if they were watching a tennis game from the center
line. Gambit grinned falsely and said, "Looks like I got another
brother." He secretly scowled. Scott had no control over the
situation and he knew that, but he felt a deep sense of disgust.
Red-on-black eyes were his eyes. No one else had anything like that
and it was what he loved about having them. Now, Sinister had made
Scott looked like Gambit. Remy leaned back and wondered why Sinister
had altered him like that.
"I won't be able to be on active duty until I can get used to
this new situation and my new powers," Scott continued, as he
watched the various shocked expressions widen. He knew that the rumors
would now start running faster than Quicksilver on a sugar rush.
"New powers?!" Gambit exclaimed. Everyone looked at him
oddly as he schooled his face into an illusion of composure and
calmness. He silently prayed to whoever watches thieves and rascals,
**Please don't make those powers identical to mine.**
"Yes," Scott said, as he picked up a piece of paper.
"I can't make objects explode like Gambit can." He held the
piece of paper in his fingers as it glowed in a crimson red. He took
out a small quarter, then tossed the quarter into the air, took the
glowing piece of paper, and slashed the quarter in half. "I can
make objects harder and sharper than before, but I still have my optic
blasts," he explained, as he fired a pair of tiny blasts at the
two halves as they fell. They landed with a pair of pinpoint holes in
them. "Any questions?"
There was silence as the group sat there trying to think of a way
to say something without hurting Scott's feelings. Finally, Alex
raised his hand. "Yes, Alex?" Scott asked, as all eyes fell
on the younger brother.
"So...how do you feel?" Alex asked. Deep down, he wanted
to ask more than that one question. Was Scott still immune to Alex's
plasma blasts? Was Alex still immune to Scott's optic blasts? Did
Scott still consider Alex to be his brother, despite the change in
"I feel fine," Scott answered. "Thanks for asking...
Alex gave off a faint sigh of relief as he nodded.
"Whose team will you join when you return to active
duty?" Rogue asked.
Scott frowned in deep thought. He hadn't considered that. He'd just
thought that he would just lay back for a while and lead one of the
teams again when he'd recovered enough. Jean and Nathan, Scott's wife
and son, were on Gambit's team. Scott could join them but his current
similarity to Gambit could pose an interesting issue. "I'm going
to join Jean and Nathan," Scott replied. "I'll still let
Gambit lead for a while."
Remy resisted the urge to glare at Scott. He made it sound like he
was giving permission to Gambit to keep on leading. Remy knew that
Scott couldn't trust him with the responsibilities of being a leader,
but he had done a considerable job especially considering the fact
that he´s leading the Guild of Thieves along with the X-Men.
"That's all," Scott said, as he put on his glasses. Jean
knew that he put them on just to show that he was still Scott. The
glasses were his mark and part of his very identity. Very few people
had seen him without the glasses for any length of time. Scott walked
out of the room, glancing behind him to see several X-Men already
rushing to the phones.
He and Jean walked off to get ready for the long night ahead.
"Welcome back, Scott!" Harry greeted, as Scott and Jean
walked in. Scott was wearing a silk shirt with a pair of blue jeans
that Bobby loaned him. His long hair was tied in a ponytail. He was
still wearing the glasses for his sake of identity.
"Thanks, Harry," Scott said, as he adjusted his glasses.
**Scott, you don't have to wear those glasses, remember?** Jean
**I don't want Harry to mistake me for Gambit and there are
civilians in this place.**
"He won't," Jean said verbally.
"What would you like?" Harry asked. "I make it a
custom to give people free drinks for special occasions like
retirement, starting a new company... returning from the dead."
"Thanks," Scott said, as he went up to the bar,
"I'll just have a beer."
Harry nodded and then asked, "I heard a rumor that you don't
need those glasses anymore and that you're now Remy´s clone. Please
tell me that last part isn't true."
"I would, but then I'd be lying. I only have a small part of
Remy´s DNA," Scott said, as he leaned forward and briefly lifted
his glasses to reveal his now red-on-black eyes. "I just need my
glasses for different reasons. It's personal."
"I understand," Harry laughed fakely, as he handed Scott
"By the way, where did you hear that?"
"I got several phone calls warning me to make sure that you
and Remy don't get mixed up."
Scott sighed as he slowly sipped his beer. "Figures."
"Hey, Slim!" a voice yelled out. "Wanna see if
you've still got it?"
Scott and Jean looked up to see Logan at the pool table with Bobby,
Betsy, and Warren. Logan was holding a cue stick in one hand.
"I've still got it," Scott said, as he got up and went to
the pool table.
Bobby stepped to the side as Scott picked up a cue. Betsy said,
"Scott, I just want to say, I'm know what you're going through. I
mean, having another person's DNA."
"It's not like I'm Gambit's clone," Scott said, as he
rubbed the end of his cue. Betsy had once been a different person
physically until a bizarre trip through the Siege Perilous. She'd got
the body of a ninja and a small part of another person's mind. Scott
didn't look that much different, but the DNA change was there and he
did have the eyes. "I don't look any different, but thanks for
He took the cue stick and the white ball. It had been a long time
since he had played the game. He lined up the ball with the other
balls and carefully calculated the right shot. He was tempted to use
his optic blasts but he decided that he'd better just do it the
old-fashioned way. He drew back the stick and slammed the white ball
The ball raced toward the other balls and banged right into them.
They scattered all over the place. Several of them fell into the
pockets. Calmly, he took his stick and rubbed it again with his chalk.
"That's three," he said, as he took his stick and aimed it
again at the white ball. The overhead lights were dim, and he was
having a hard time seeing. He rubbed his eyes under his glasses and
"You okay?" Logan asked.
"I'm fine," Scott replied, as he shook his head.
"If it's your glasses, just take them off," Betsy said.
Scott blinked and asked, "How did you know? You didn't use
"No, I didn't use my telepathy. I just guessed."
"Okay," Scott said, as he took off his glasses and put
them on the table. As soon as he took them off, the pain faded. His
eyes were starting to hurt and he didn't know why. He aimed again as
he drew back the stick. This time, the brown stick turned crimson red
as Scott bumped the ball again. Scott's eyes widened as the ball
started to crash into the other balls at a speed that normal billiard
balls don't travel at. "Shit," he said, as he put both hands
on the table and focused. The entire table and the remaining balls
glowed red as the rampaging white ball started to slow down. He sighed
in relief as the table stopped glowing and he took his hands off of
"How did you do that?" Jean asked.
"Ummm..." Scott said, "I don't know."
"We must examine you," Hank said, as he grabbed Scott's
arm. "This is an astounding use of powers."
"Later!" Scott snapped at him. He closed his eyes and
said in a more calm tone, “Tomorrow. You can test me tomorrow."
"Remy? How did you do that to the table?" a waitress
The group looked at Scott who was staring blankly. "Ummm...I
think you must be mistaken," he said, as he started laugh to
himself. "I need my clothes back."
"Diana," the real Gambit said, as he walked up behind
her, "dat's Scott Summers."
"Scott Summers?! Jean's _dead_ husband?" Diana said,
"Formerly dead husband, yes, that's me," Scott corrected,
as he put on the glasses again.
"I'm so sorry. It's just that you look just like him,"
Diana said, as her face turned red.
"No need to apologize," he said, as he smiled softly at
her. She blushed redder as she walked off at a quick pace. He felt his
hair and added, "I really need a haircut too."
"Why didn't you get one earlier?" Warren asked, as he
lined up his shot.
"I couldn't find any all-night barber shops." Scott put
his stick down and said, "I'm done. I'll be back later."
His eyes wandered, looking at the various people. Many were his
teammates and family. A few were just some customers who wondered what
had occurred. He felt various stares as he looked behind him. He was
used to being talked about behind his back. No one knew he heard the
comments that were spoken about him; 'The Fearless Leader', 'Stiff
Summers', and 'Mr. Anal-Retentive'. He heard them all and never really
minded, as that was what he wanted them to see. He wanted them to see
a brave straight-laced hero that followed the rules. They used to
trust him with their lives.
His image was cracking. People weren't as trusting of him. He could
feel it or was it just his paranoia? Maybe he was just scared of
himself. **It's okay,** Jean's voice said inside his head.
Scott cringed and whispered telepathically, **Jean, I'm fine.**
He looked up to see Cable tossing some darts. He walked over to
Nathan. "Hello, Nathan," he said, standing to the side.
"Hello, Scott," Nathan said, as he tossed another dart
into the bullseye.
"I thought you call me 'Slymm'," Scott said, as he
watched his son. Nathan had changed a great deal over the year or so
that Scott had been gone. Cable still retained the white hair and the
scar over his eye, but his face had fewer wrinkles than before and he
seemed to have slimmed down slightly. Scott smiled slightly. He could
see the resemblance to himself.
"Yeah, well, I forgot."
**A telepath never forgets. You know that.** Scott reached out,
startling Nathan as he tossed the dart. It landed at the edge of the
Nathan scowled and asked, **How did you do that? Your thoughts,
they sounded like actual telepathic communication.**
Scott shrugged in a confused way. **I just thought out loud.**
"Scott? Nathan?" Jean said, as she stepped closer.
Nathan said, "I have to leave. Excuse me." He went up to
the dart board and yanked off the darts, one by one.
"Wait!" Scott said, as he put his hand on Nathan's
shoulder. **Maybe, we can talk later. Are you okay, son?**
"I'm fine," Nathan replied, as yanked himself away. He
walked off in a hurry, dropping the darts on the table.
Scott sighed as he looked around. He then looked down at his beer
and drank the rest of it.
Scott sighed as he stared out over the quiet pool. The water
rippled as the gentle wind softly blew. A part of him wanted to go
back to the celebrations, but he'd had enough celebrating for one
night. He'd told them and they'd understood. He'd made up some excuse
about checking the records to get updated about what had occurred over
the past year. They still believed that Scott was all business and no
fun. Jean had gone to bed since she had barely slept all day. He
needed to be alone anyway and sort out his mind.
"It's hard isn't it?" a familiar voice said, as Scott
looked up to see an old friend.
"Ororo. What are you doing here?" he asked. He felt
somewhat tempted to call her 'Stormy', but that would just make her
even more concerned about his well-being.
"You seem disturbed about something," she observed, as
she sat down.
"I'm fine," Scott said, as he looked down again and
touched the cool water's surface with his fingertips. More tiny
ripples appeared where he touched the water.
"Is it about Remy and Rogue being leaders of the X-Men?"
Scott remained silent as he slowly looked up at her. Ororo's long
white hair whipped along her back as her glowing white eyes pierced
the darkness. Finally he said, "I'm content with Rogue being a
"What about Remy?"
Scott's red-on-black eyes flared to a solid red for a brief second
then back down, and he said, "I'm still thinking about
“You had given up leadership before.”
“I know. I trusted you to be a leader to the X-Men in my absence.
You did a good job. Why didn´t you keep it?”
"I was busy helping Jean cope with your...disappearance,"
she said finally.
"I'm aware of that. Thank you. I know how hard it is to lose a
loved one," he said, and grinned. "You used to comfort me
when I thought I'd lost Jean." He picked up his hand from the
water and wiped it on his shirt.
Scott stared at her and asked as he held her hands, "About
thinking that I was dead?"
"No. I mean, I often thought that if I had been a better
leader, you wouldn't have suffered like you did," Ororo said, as
she jerked away. His touch felt so different from before to her
sensitive hands. "That was another reason I didn't want to be
team leader for a while. I wasn't sure if I was good enough."
"You did fine," he said, as he backed away, "And
don't feel so paranoid about me. I can tell by all those clouds
starting to appear."
Ororo looked up and frowned. Clouds had moved in around the
mansion. She waved her hand and they scattered away. "I'm
sorry," she said again, as she looked at Scott who just stood
there. He had his ruby quartz glasses on again, despite the fact he
didn't need them anymore. "Why?" she asked, gesturing.
"So you can recognize me," he replied, as he knelt down
"I can recognize you without the glasses," Ororo stated,
as she reached out and tried to take the glasses.
Scott dodged the hand and said, "I feel more comfortable this
"Of course," she said, as the wind started to gust around
them. More ripples on the water formed, as Scott stood there, calm.
"I'm going to try to sleep," he said, as he walked toward
the mansion. "Hank told me that he'll be doing a ton of testing
on me tomorrow." He frowned as he said the last part.
"He's just worried about you. Your powers are different."
"I know," Scott said, "but the way Hank looked at
me. It's like to him I'm some time bomb that needs to be defused or
destroyed. Is that how all of you see me? Like I'm some trap?"
Ororo opened her mouth to reply, when Scott added, "And tell me
the truth. I respect people who are honest with me."
A gust of wind blew as Ororo closed her mouth again. More ripples
danced on the water as Scott stared at her. Finally, she replied,
"It's just that you were one with Apocalypse for a long time. Who
knows what he did to your mind? And Sinister did create your new body.
It's hard to accept."
"That I'm alive? That I'm really Scott Summers and not some
damn clone? Why is it so hard to accept that, Ororo?" Tears
started to come to Scott's eyes as he looked down. He closed his eyes,
wiping away the tears.
Ororo went up to him and hugged him. "I'm sorry," she
"I've never felt so untrusted before in my life," he
said. "I want to be a leader again, but how can I be a leader if
my own team won't trust me?"
"I can't answer that," Ororo said, as she let go.
"I know," he said. "Do you know what's even more
Ororo turned her eyes to him and asked, "What?"
"I think Nathan still doesn't really believe that I'm his
"Are you sure?" Ororo asked, sounding surprised.
"He barely looked at me without glaring. I tried to talk to
him, but he just kept on turning away like he hates me."
"He's been through a great deal over the past year,"
Ororo said. "But he was mourning you. As part of his costume, he
wore your old visor around his neck in memory of you."
"But...I'm alive right now," Scott said, as he recalled
Nathan wearing something familiar around his neck when he was ambushed
by his family when he first returned to New York City.
"I know," Ororo said. "Nathan has just been through
a lot. He'll open up. He did miss you."
"I know," Scott said, as he stood up. "I'm going to
try to sleep. G'night, Ororo."
"Good night, Scott," Ororo said, as she watched Scott
walk off into the mansion.
In the security area, the cameras humed as a group of people
watched Scott enter the mansion and out of sight.
"So, is he showing anything different?"
"Frustration, anger, paranoia...typical reactions from someone
in his situation."
"Should we worry?"
"It's too soon to tell. He's obviously gained new powers from
Sinister. The question is, what is the full extent?"
"We must keep an eye on him. There's no telling what he might
"But this is Scott. He's the first X-Men. He's been in the
business from the beginning."
"Yes. That also means that he's dangerous. He knows about
virtually every X-Man here. Except for Re-animator and
"Many of the X-Men have different uses for their powers from
before. Gambit and Cecilia have been able to use them in different
ways that he couldn´t imagine before."
"So has Scott. Did you see what he did with the pool table? I
think he also gained some level of telepathy. I sensed it when he
'spoke' to me."
"So, it's settled. We must keep an eye on him no, pun intended
and watch for any signs that Scott's mind isn't all there."
"Oh my stars and garters, I never thought that we would be
talking about Scott like this."
"Things change, Hank. Remember that one time when Scott nearly
lost it back when we were part of X-Factor?"
"Perhaps, Robert, but Scott has always been reliable until
now. I don't know what to make of him."
The figures in the shadows came out of the room. Bobby, Hank,
Nathan, and Warren stood in the hallways. "Who wants the first
shift?" Warren asked.
"I will," Hank said. "I have to do more tests on him
In the shadows, a man watched the group and a small tear trickled
down from an eye. He stepped back and walked off. He walked into the
Danger Room and closed the doors. If for a brief second the Danger
Room wasn´t sound proof, the sounds of sobs and blasts would emanate
from the doors.