Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather

by Mara

Summary: Stuck inside during a snowstorm, the residents of the Ultimate X-Mansion talk.

CONTINUITY: Whenever you like .
NOTES: Readers of my Enterprise fic will see a resemblance to my story “Making
History.” I happen to like this format. So sue me. Thanks for the beta to
Captain Average, the superhero who encourages. Please note that Azurine did a
splendid remix of this story for the “We Invented the Remix…Redux” challenge.
You can find it here .

* * * * *

It wasn’t often the X-Men had nothing to do. If they weren’t being chased by
mutant-hunting Sentinels, or captured by rogue arms of the government, then
Professor Xavier had them doing some sort of team-building exercise.

But it was the middle of the worst snowstorm to hit the East Coast in a decade,
even the Sentinels and government agents had apparently decided to stay home
where it was warm, and the Professor was off in Washington sucking up to the
President.

Now, under normal circumstance, the members of the team would spend their
precious free time as far away from the others as possible. But something about
the immensity of the snow outside drew them together, and they all gravitated
into the living room.

Jean lit a fire and Hank cleared newspapers off the coffee table when Ororo and
Bobby came in from outside, where they’d been enjoying the weather. Peter
entered moments later, carrying a tray of cocoa and cookies, followed by Scott
holding mugs and spoons.

Hank drew Ororo onto the loveseat, as Peter settled down on the floor in front
of the fire with a sigh, and Bobby sprawled untidily in a chair. Jean tossed
Peter a few extra pillows off the couch and sat down next to Scott, pulling a
heavy chenille throw over herself.

The room was quiet as the young mutants distributed mugs, cocoa, and cookies;
clinking spoons, whooshing whipped cream, and the crunch of masticated chocolate
chips gave the room a friendly air it often lacked.

A rush of wind swirled past the French doors, making them rattle, and Jean
shivered, pulling the blanket closer around her shoulders.

“Before anyone asks,” Ororo said as she stretched out, dangling her legs over
the side of the loveseat, “no, I can’t do anything about this storm. Well, I
could, but for all I know, it would cause a drought in Bangladesh.” She leaned
against Hank, a healthy glow on her cheeks from the snowball fight she and Bobby
had engaged in.

“Well, I like it,” Bobby said.

Peter laughed. “You would. At least you have left the ice outside today.”

“I like it, too,” Scott said. “Sometimes it’s nice to have a little enforced
rest.”

“I agree,” Jean said, popping marshmallows into her cocoa and watching them melt
into mush.

Ororo had just opened her mouth when a voice from the doorway startled everyone.
“Well, isn’t this just charming,” Logan said, his muscular frame making the
doorway look narrower.

“Join us,” Jean said. One or two other faces briefly looked less than thrilled
at the prospect, but they managed to stifle that for the sake of politeness.

“Don’t mind if I do,” Logan said, slouching over to sit on the couch next to
Jean. He frowned at the coffee table, which normally he would prop his feet on,
but was now covered in snacks.

Jean smiled in amusement at his dilemma and offered him a mug. “Cocoa?”

“Um, no thanks.” Now that he’d made his point by staking out a seat next to
Jean, he wasn’t quite certain what to do with himself.

Jean handed Logan a cookie and wafted a few over to Hank when he held up his
hand.

There were a few moments of uncomfortable silence, before another huge gust of
wind slammed into the mansion. Doors and windows rattled and snow pellets hissed
against the glass like tiny bits of ammunition.

The noise made them jump, then look slightly ashamed. Scott said, “That’s us,
the big bad dangerous mutants, afraid of the wind.” Everyone laughed and relaxed
a bit.

“So, when is the Professor returning?” Peter asked.

“When I spoke to him this morning,” Jean said, “he said he would wait out the
storm in Washington and take the opportunity to visit a few more Senators.”

“Brainwash, you mean,” Ororo muttered, almost immediately looking sorry for
having said it.

“If that’s what it takes,” Jean snapped at her. Scott put his hand gently on her
arm and the redhead subsided. “Never mind. Sorry. Just feeling a little
claustrophobic in the house.”

“The storm will be over in another 24 hours, I think,” Ororo said in oblique
apology, and everyone relaxed again.

“Will we ever get normal lives?” Bobby asked suddenly. Everyone turned to look
at him and he blushed, fiddling with his spoon and mug. “I was just sitting here
thinking…I mean, I’ve never even had a girlfriend.”

Jean and Hank looked uncomfortable, but didn’t speak. Bobby didn’t notice. He
continued, “I didn’t ask to become an X-Man, and I wanted to know if any of you
thought we’d ever get to leave.”

“No,” Logan said, and all eyes switched to looking at him. He returned each look
with defiance. “Nobody ever gets to leave this kind of life. Once you’re in,
you’re in. No point in my tryin’ to sugarcoat it.”

Scott looked like he was about to argue when Bobby interrupted him. “But what if
the humans accept us? I mean, if the Prof gets his bill passed and if humans
don’t hate us, then we won’t need the X-Men, right?”

Logan muttered something, and Scott answered Bobby. “I think that’s a lot of
ifs.”

“But isn’t that what we’re trying to do?”

“Well, yes,” Scott said, “but it’s not going to happen overnight.”

Bobby looked at him, then around the room at the others. “You don’t really think
it’s going to work, do you?”

“Now, Bobby-” Scott started.

“All this stuff we do and none of you really think the homo saps are going to
let us be.”

“I do,” Scott said simply. “I have to believe it or I’d go crazy.”

“Same here,” Jean said.

“I agree.” Hank spoke up. “The famous anthropologist Margaret Mead once said,
‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the
world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.'”

“Do you really believe that?” Ororo asked, twisting her head to look up at Hank.
“You really think the humans are gonna decide they’re tired of trying to kill
us?”

“Yes,” he said. “As my bespectacled colleague has so admirably put it…if I did
not believe it, I’d have to go insane.”

Logan smirked at him. “And who says you aren’t?”

Scott rolled his eyes. “Har-dee fucking har har. If you think our odds are that
bad, why don’t you just take off and go be a pain in the ass somewhere else?”

The silence that fell as the two men stared at each other over Jean’s head was
so deafening, it almost drowned out the hissing of the snowstorm.

Logan considered his answer and nobody was inclined to interrupt. “Because I
don’t have anywhere else to go,” he said, just as the pause became intolerable.
“And even if this doesn’t have a chance, it’s still a hell of a lot better than
any of the other options.”

Scott nodded slowly. “Okay.”

Everyone relaxed, the minor testosterone spat apparently over. Cookies continued
to be eaten, the hot cocoa was quietly decimated, and peace reigned.

“We’ll be okay if we can work together,” Scott said, and everyone looked at him.
“That’s what’s been going wrong. We keep splitting into little factions,
splitting and reforming. That’ll get us killed if we keep it up.”

“Mindless obedience isn’t too likely in a group like this,” Hank said with a
slight smile.

Scott slammed his mug onto the coffee table. “I’m not looking for mindless
anything. I’m looking for teamwork, maybe a little understanding of when’s a
good time to argue and when isn’t. You know, we’ve been through a lot of crap
together. Doesn’t that buy me *any* slack around here?”

Most of the faces held guilty expressions.

“Scott is correct,” Peter said from the floor, just as Logan said, “He’s right.”

There was a brief flurry as heads whipped back and forth from watching Scott’s
jaw drop to watching Logan to see if he was kidding. Apparently, he wasn’t.

He also wasn’t going to expand on his comment, so Scott kept going. “You think I
don’t know what most of you think of me? Anal-retentive Cyclops, always riding
your ass, no sense of humor. You think I’m doing it ’cause that’s how I get my
kicks?”

Scott looked at each of them in turn. Hank and Peter looked back with
equanimity, but Jean stared into her cocoa. Ororo crossed her arms and frowned,
while Bobby looked like a kid whose parents were fighting. Logan stared out the
window, but he was obviously listening.

“I’m trying to keep you alive. I’m not perfect, but I’m doing the best I can.
Just work with me, that’s all I’m asking.”

Logan turned slowly away from the window to look at Scott. His nod was almost
imperceptible, but it was enough. Around the room, heads nodded, then the
various members of the X-Men relaxed in their seats, watching the fire or the
slowing storm through the windows.

“We’ll be okay,” Scott said quietly.

“What if we’re not?” Bobby asked.

“Then we’ll figure something out. We’ve done pretty well so far, and it hasn’t
exactly been a cakewalk.” Scott looked around the room. “I know this isn’t the
group any of us would have chosen, but that’s not how it works. We got the X-
gene. We got the mutations powerful enough to make a difference. Either we do
something about it, or we give up and let the Sentinels kill us.”

Hank smiled at him. “‘We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang
separately.’ Benjamin Franklin said that at the signing of the Declaration of
Independence.”

“Exactly.”

The room was quiet, everyone lost in their own thoughts. Naturally, Ororo was
the first to notice the change, and her brow wrinkled as she concentrated.

“The storm is slowing down,” she said with authority. “It’ll definitely be done
by the morning.”

“Will it warm up enough for things to melt?” Scott asked.

She eyed him for a long moment, face solemn, before she answered. “What do I
look like…the weather girl?”

There was a beat of silence, then laughter rolled across the room, sweeping
before it all the tension that had built up during their serious discussion. For
just a moment, the X-Men were united, in purpose and in laughter.

–end–

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