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L. Burke

Beneath The Floor Boards 

DISCLAIMER: The characters belong to Marvel, and are
used without permission for entertainment purposes only.

"Jean listen to me.  We all know what you're going through. "  Kitty Pryde pleaded looking right in to Jean Gray Summers green eyes.  "We all miss him."  "Kitty with all do respect" Jean snarled back at her "YOU have no idea what I am going through right now.  I just lost the man I love, my best friend and my husband of about thirteen years.  Don't even pretend to know what I am going through.  I just people would just leave me alone." "Jean don't block us out."  Kitty pleaded again, "You dealing with it alone would be the last thing Scott would want you to do."  Jean just ignored her and continued to look out the window of the home that she had shared with her husband.  Jean was tried of hearing how sorry the X-men were.  She was tired of hearing how sorry Charles Xavier was.  She was tired of hearing that Cyclops had given his life to save the spinning planet.  She was tired of hearing Nathan tell her how sorry he was that he never really took the time to get to know his father.  She was tired of it all.  She was tired of the whole spinning fight.  She was tired of getting up everyday to save a world that would rather see her dead.  She was tired of trying to figure out why she was still here.  Above all that she was tired of trying to figure out what she was fighting for anymore.  She realized at that moment she was just tired and something in her snapped.  She spun around and met Kitty Pryde's eyes and said "Get out.  I am tired of everyone telling me how I should handle this.  Get out of my home.  I will deal with this in my own way.  Now just get out!"  Right at that moment the coffee mug she had been holding flew out of her hands, like it had a will of it's own, hit the far wall in the other room, broke in two large pieces and hit the floor with a strange 'thunk'. "Damn."  Jean muttered softly "I haven't done that in a while."  She flinched inwardly thinking what Professor Xavier would have said if had seen that display of her temper. "Jean look over here."  Kitty called from where she was picking up what was left of the coffee mug.  "The mug didn't sound right when it hit the floor.  I think there is something under the floor boards." Jean just looked at her in surprise.  "There can't be anything under there Kitty.  The floor boards are fit to close." Kitty just looked at her "Yup, there's something here alright.  I am going to need a knife or something to get it out though."

It ended up being a group project which all of the X-men participated in.   Logan and Kitty ended up using claws  and a knife respectively to loosen the floor boards, Jean and Nathan ended wedging the small section of floor up with their telekinetics , Bobby and Gambit quickly stuck something underneath and Rogue with her super strength lifted the floor boards up so they could see what  was inside.  Kitty had phased through the floor earlier and all she could tell them that it was a box.  It was to dark to see what was in it. "If I didn't know better I would swear that Scotty planned this."  Logan grumbled out loud "It certainly took a team effort to get the damned thing.  You want us to open it Jeannie or do you want for us to leave and you can do it by yourself later?" "Open it Logan.  I have never seen a box like that before, I have no idea what Scott could have put in it." Logan just smiled at her "World War II ammo locker.  They were designed to take a pounding like nothing else.  You want me to cut or pick the lock?"  "Pick it."  Jean replied to his question, "I don't know what is in it.  Let's try to damage it as little as possible okay?"  "Got ya."  Logan replied as he started picking the lock "Lets see what Scotty thought was so important that he had to hide it."

At the top of the pile was of course Scott's will.  Why was she not surprised, Jean quickly read it all Scott's worldly possessions went to her.   There were times like this she really hated her overly responsible husband.   There was a lift insurance policy in her name, she would be able to collect it in three years when, they could declare him legally dead.  It was for enough that she knew even without her money she could live comfortably on it for the rest of her life.  Dated three weeks from the date of his "death".

'You were right to hide this from me damn you Scott if I had found this in a drawer.  I would have kicked your ass.  I had no intention of becoming a widower and you knew it.'  Jean thought bitterly. "My guess he hid it from you Jeannie because he knew you would kick his ass if you found it."  Logan said out loud almost reading her mind. "Oh, God look at that."  Bobby Drake choked out as he reached for something inside the box.  "I didn't think he kept it.  I was going to college at the time, and one of my classes was going to Europe.  I didn't have the money to go and my dad was giving me a real hard time about giving it to me because we were fighting about what I was going to major in at school.  When I got a letter from Scottie saying have fun, with the check in the amount I needed to pay for my trip.  He just asked me to send him a miniature of the Eiffel Tower and here it is." Bobby choked "I didn't think he kept it.  I never really did thank him for the trip.  I really had the time of my life." Bobby looked up and Jean could see that he had tears in his eyes, "Can I?  I mean would you mind if I kept this?  Something to remember him by and all."  "Go ahead Bobby.  I have a feeling that Scot wanted you to have it."  Jean replied. "Hey look at that."  Warren grumbled pulling what looked like a picture out of the box and addressing Hank and Bobby.  "Do you two remember that ski trip?"  Hank just nodded.  "It was the first time the four of us got together after we thought Jean had died.  We got together in Denver and did some skiing." "Yeah," Warren added in suddenly "Drake covered up the triple black diamond sign with snow.  So you and I had no idea what we were skiing when we blasted down that slope." Hank just grinned at his long time friend "I guess it was a good thing that Scott was a little more cautious than we were." "Yeah, he was." Warren smirked back at him "It was good thing to.  He was the one who signed us in to the Emergency room when we literally hit the bottom." Hank just laughed  "He protected Bobby from us when we got out of traction to."
"Oh man, are you two still holding a grudge about that?"  Bobby grumbled with some laugher starting to come in to his eyes. " I told you I was sorry.   It was supposed to be a joke.  And if I remember correctly Warren, Scott covered for you when Candy caught you flirting with that cute little sky bunny." Warren looked over at Jean, "Could I have this?" Jean just nodded at him chuckling to herself, "I think I would have loved to be there to see your expressions." "Oh you missed a hell of a time alright."  Warren said looking thoughtful. This time it was Cable who pulled something out of the box on the floor.  It was a book he picked up very gently.  The cover said "Arabian Nights" "I remember," Cable started softly "The night he brought this book home.  I was about five at the time.  I think he must have paid at least two months pay for it or more. To this day I have no idea where he could have found a copy of it. He taught me to read with a copy of this book.  I fought him every step of the way.  I didn't think that learning to read was very important, and it was a skill I would never have any use for.  When I finally got in to the stories I couldn't put the book down."  Cable smirked up at Jean "Remember I got grounded for a week for neglecting my chores because I was to busy reading to do them?" Jean just nodded and said, "I remember.  Keep the book Nathan I think your father put it here for you."  Cable just nodded to her. "I remember this," Kitty whispered "I wanted to go to a move premiere in the city and all the other X-men were to busy to take me.   So Scott ended up taking me.  We ended up standing in line for five hours in freezing cold weather but I did get my autograph.  Poor Scott, I think by the time we got home he thought he would never get warm again."  Kitty just laugh "He didn't even rub it in when I got the worst cold of my lifetime."  Kitty held the ticket stub in her hand "Jean can I have this?"  Jean just smiled and nodded at her.

 There was something that everyone wanted in that trunk.  Hank took the magic eight ball, but would not explain the story behind it.  Gambit took a hurricane glass, muttering something about buying Scott one down in New Orleans when blue team took and the Brood.  There was a recipe for Rogue.  By the time that everyone was done the box was empty.  Except for a picture and a piece of paper. "I was wondering where he hid this.  I had it on my desk, up to the moment I left for space.  I was wondering what he did with it."  Charles Xavier said more out loud to himself than anyone else in the room.  It was a picture of Scott in an elf costume.  "It was at the Children's Hospital Annual Christmas Party.  Scott never had any family to go home to visit.   So he always volunteered for the party.  That year Santa's elf was sick, and Scott was the only one there skinny enough to fit in to the costume.  To say the least he was not very happy about that series of events.  That year to make things worse the director of the Annual Christmas Party wanted to recognize Scott for all his hard work.  Scott being Scott bolted for the door when they asked him to come up in front of the crowd so that everyone could thank him for his hard work.  If I hadn't been a telepath and knew he was going to bolt we never would have caught him.  I caught him at the door just in time.   I managed to get the picture sent to me later.  Scott always tried to 'lose' the picture but I would never let him."  Xavier chuckled softly, "I guess he saved it for me." Jean reached for the last piece of paper at the bottom of the trunk.  She knew this was a message for her when she read it.  It was a poem.

From Prometheus Unbound

To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
To love and bear; to hope until Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing that it contemplates;
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
This. like thy glory, Titan, is to be Good, great
and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory.

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

It was a poem describing the virtues that would make the Titans victorious again Zeus and the other Gods.  When Jean read it she just started laughing until she couldn't stop, Prometheus like the Cyclops had been a Titan and maybe Scott was right.  Maybe, just maybe, those  virtues would be enough to be Apocalypse's down fall.  Maybe a Titan would rise again.


Other Stories By L. Burke


Please Get Well For Christmas

There's No Place Like Home

Beneath the Floor Boards

We Will Always Have the Stars

Elves, Weirdoes and Ten More Degrees

What Could Have Been

The Suggestion Box

Friday Nights, Guy Talk, Stalkers and Other Strange Things

New Begginings and Second Chances

A Very Bad Day

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