Pairing: Jason Street/Scott Summers
Rating: Mature Themes
Spoilers: Set after FNL season finale and assumes you have seen it.
Author's Note: Many moons ago, I was happily slashing away on "Always and Forever" (remember that? I had this series about the OT3 going) when 1407graymalkin begged me to write Jason/Scott for this kiss and cuddle challenge thing. "No problem" I (foolishly) thought, the TimMuse will --
The TimMuse was run over by
Thanks to wolfenm for a very speedy beta.
Author's Note pt2: The XMen I depict in this story are an amalgamation of the movies and the comics. You don't need to know either to enjoy. And if you do know the comics, I did a grab bag of a bit of everything from Marvel, so don't look for one particular era or continuity.
Legalese: FNL and Marvel Universe characters are copyright their respective owners. This is a labor of love, not money.
As the Dillon Panthers headed out of the doorway to board the buses to take them to State, they all reached up and smacked the P in a time honored good-luck ritual.
Except for Jason Street who wheeled over and looked up wistfully.
Without a word, Tim Riggins came over and hefted Jason out of his chair, lifting Jason as high as he could. If Jason strained, he could just --
The next thing Jason knew he was on the floor, legs on a bench, with Tim, Coach, and a very worried trainer huddled over him.
"Tim, you're crushing my hand," Jason whispered.
"Oh. Sorry Six, but --"
"Jason, are you okay?" Coach asked.
"Yeah," Jason groaned, blinking and trying to turn away from the too bright penlight the trainer was flashing in his eyes.
"Pupils are reacting right. Pulse is back to normal. Breathing is good."
"What happened?" Jason asked.
Tim looked at him, eyes huge pools of worry. "You touched the P and then you -- you -- your eyes rolled up and you groaned like something was really hurting you and you p-passed out."
"Yeah ..." It came back to him now. "I just felt ... overwhelmed." Jason said.
The trainer chalked it up to the excitement of the situation and the fact that Jason's central nervous system was extremely compromised and "glitchy" these days. Coach gave him the eagle eye and told Jason that if he felt the least bit faint, he was to tell him immediately.
Tim hovered so much over the next few days that Jason, as much as he loved Tim, wanted to reach out and strangle him.
A week after the triumphant return from Austin, a letter arrived for Jason from the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. They had heard about his football career, his accident, and his phenomenal invitation to try out for the National Quad Rugby Team. They had also seen the 60 Minutes documentary on the Dillon Panthers "Cinderella Season," which had mentioned his mentorship of Matt Saracen. Based on these things, as well as his other qualifications, representatives of the school were interested in talking to him about the Institute and why it would be a good fit for him.
The language wasn't that much different from the recruitment letters that Jason had received back when everybody and their mother wanted him to quarterback for them, but ... something about the letter, holding it in his hands and reading it filled him with warmth and hope.
Encouraged, Jason went online and researched. Xavier Institute turned out to be a small private school in Westchester County, New York. Though mostly a college prep school, through partnerships with several colleges and universities (CUNY, SUNY, Columbia, Cornell, Fordham, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Barnard College) the Institute offered BA and BS degrees across a range of disciplines. Furthermore, the small size of the Institute meant that students received individualized instruction in a self-designed course of studies. The Headmaster, Dr. Charles Xavier, not only held PhDs in Genetics, Biophysics, and Psychology, but he was also a paraplegic. Finally, Jason kind of dug their motto, "Mutatis Muntanis," which meant, more or less, "The necessary changes having been made."
After talking it over with his parents and Tami Taylor (who goggled with shocked delight -- the Xavier Institute was very prestigious, it turned out) Jason sent back a polite letter saying that yes, he was willing to meet with representatives of the Institute.
Privately? Sheeeah. Right. Even with financial aid up the wazoo, it was going to be fucking expensive for him to go to school at UTA , and private schools like SMU? Out of the question. An itty bitty ivy-league type private college? Not in this life.
Two days later, he was hanging at a smallish get-together at Tim's house, sitting out back by an impromptu fire-pit, talking with Matt, Julie, Tyra, and Landry (Matt's nice but weird friend who was torching for Tyra) when Tim, excitedly talking to Landry about this comic book called Preacher that Landry had loaned to him, popped the top off a Blackened Voodoo (a huge in-joke after State) and handed it over to Jason, and Jason gasped in shock and nearly fell out of the chair.
Because Tim was horny as fuck. Okay, no surprise there.
By some miracle Jason didn't blurt that out. Instead he mumbled something about reflexive spasms and quietly sipped his beer as his mind reeled.
It only got worse over the next week. Lobbing (as best he could) a football around with Tim and Bo, the motor-mouthed pip-squeak 4th grader who lived next door to Tim, Jason found himself blinking back tears because Bo just hero-worshiped Tim like nothing Jason could put into words, and playing with Bo made Tim so happy, but it was all mixed in with a bit hurt over the fact that Jackie, Bo's mom, just saw Tim as this stupid, horny kid, not as someone who could be her man. Lyla's simmering rage slapped him when he reached up to shove yet another "I'm sorry" card through the slit in her locker. Picking up a pen to sign for a package let him know that his mother had broken down and cried while filling out some insurance paperwork. Tami Taylor handed him a copy of her letter of recommendation to the Xavier Institute and her worry and excitement about what a pregnancy at her age could mean crashed over Jason.
That night Jason sobbed into his pillow.
He'd figured it out.
On top of everything else, every fucking thing else, he was a mutant.
The only thing that kept him from going to the gun cabinet, grabbing the shotgun, putting the barrel in his mouth, and pulling the trigger was the fact that he had such limited use of his hands that he'd probably couldn't load, cock, and fire it, and that if he tried, he'd probably make such a huge fucking ruckus in the process that he'd wake his mom and dad up and then he'd probably end up spilling the beans when they asked him why he wanted to kill himself.
He looked and felt like shit the next morning when he wheeled into Tami Taylor's office for his meeting with the representatives of the Xavier Institute. Coach was there, too.
"Son, are you alright?" Coach gave him a worried frown.
Jason gave a huge sigh and said, "I didn't sleep much."
Coach grinned at him and said, "I don't either, the night before any kind of big opportunity like this."
Yeah. Wait until they find out I'm a mutie. And then it will all dry up and blow away. Fuck. And when you find out? When the school finds out? I can kiss my job good-bye. Jason forced a smile onto his face.
Five minutes later a jaw-droppingly gorgeous red-headed woman in a neatly tailored grey and blue suit walked in and introduced herself as Dr. Jean Grey. She was accompanied by one of the students, a blonde, athletic looking guy -- a little bit younger than Jason -- named Bobby Drake.
Jason tried to be polite and act excited but his heart just wasn't in it. The more Dr. "Call me Jean" Grey talked about the Institute and the programs and how there was a Quad Rugby squad just a short drive away -- all things that would be taken away as soon as they discovered that he was a mutant -- the more Jason felt his head throb from a mounting tension headache.
::Would you like a little break so you can take some aspirin?::
Jason started and nearly shrieked.
::Sorry about that. I don't mean to pry, but you're "broadcasting" and I can't entirely shut it out.:: Jean smiled warmly at him and went on to say something about mentorship opportunities at the Institute and yes, although Jason was coaching here, he really was being paid out of the budget used to hire people to scout other teams and log stats, wasn't he?
You -You're --
::We all are, Jason. I'll tell you more later.::
Jason felt his headache begin to melt away. He noticed a slight lessening of tension at the edge of Jean's mouth.
"Yes, he is being paid out of that budget," Coach said with a sigh.
"I completely understand why you gave Jason this position and why you don't want to lose him. I understand that option pass that Matt Saracen threw is something that even many college level quarterbacks can't do, and that Jason is the one who taught it to him. But at the same time, Coach Taylor, Jason can't be hired into a full coaching position for the school until he gets a four year degree."
Coach ran his hands through his hair. "Yeah, I know. I know I'm going to lose Jason sooner or later." He shot Jason a mock grumpy look. "Damnit."
Jean smiled and continued, "Obviously, we don't do intercollegiate athletics at our school, but we do have an intramural athletic program and the director, Mr. Summers, does have his hands full with our programs. Jason would be a good fit, I think, and it would give him an opportunity to work with teens and even some adults who have a variety of athletic capabilities, from the gifted --" she winked at Bobby, "to those whose 'middle name is grace', and even others with physical challenges."
"So you're both ... mutants?" Jason said softly when he found a quiet enough place in the tour of Dillon High he was giving.
"Yup." Bobby said.
"Ice. If there's water, I can make ice."
::Telepathy, obviously, and telekinesis.::
"How ... did you find me?"
"We have ways of looking for people like us, " Jean said. "When you went active a few weeks ago, you made a sort of spike in the astral plane. Gave several of us teeps quite the headache --"
"Sorry," Jason murmured.
Jean shook her head. "No need. It wasn't like you meant to have a neural overload so intense you passed out."
Jason sighed. "So why me? Why now?"
"Evolution," Bobby said. "Plus the fact that you're a guy and we don't really fully mature until we're 21. You're just a late bloomer is all."
Jean laughed and said rather dryly, "Although it's rather debatable if men ever mature."
Bobby stuck his tongue out at her.
"I rest my case." She laughed and smiled at Bobby.
"I don't know," Jason's mother said, wringing her hands. "New York is awfully far away."
"I have to leave home some time, Mom."
"I know, baby, but --"
"Mom, how do you know that after I go to college I wouldn't find a job in some place like New York, or Seattle, or LA? I mean, isn't that one of the things you wanted for me? A chance to get a good education so I could find a real job and support myself?"
His dad spoke up. "Speaking of education, how much is all of this going to cost? I mean, we do okay, but we're not exactly made of money."
"The school has a large, multi-million dollar private endowment. Your tuition costs would be based on entirely what you can comfortably afford to pay. About 25% of our students have the entire cost of their education and expenses covered by the endowment."
"And when she says 'comfortably' she means it," Bobby added. "I can't, of course, tell you what they'd decide for you, but my family pays $1000 a month for me."
Jean smiled at him, "But others pay a lot more, Bobby."
"Well, yeah, but Kitty's and Warren's parents are filthy rich."
Jean smiled and sipped her iced tea. "We're not here to do a hard sell. We want you all to know that this offer will remain open indefinitely. Jason can complete his senior year of High School with us, or he could take his GED and get started on a four year program. He can start at another college and transfer. The Xavier Institute has a lot to offer him, and we think that a young man with his talents and, well, frankly, gumption, has a lot to offer to fellow students at any school he chooses."
::The sooner you start training to control and use your power, the better it is.::
I don't think it has an on-off switch.
::We can help you accommodate that, too.::
"Mom, Dad," Jason said the next morning at breakfast, "I really want to go to that school."
"I don't know, honey," his mother replied, reaching over to stroke his hair.
Jason wanted to scream at her that just touching the fork told him how much she worried, and that when Dad handed him a glass of OJ, he could tell that he had mixed feelings, on one hand wanting Jason to be a man, on the other, worrying just as much. "I just think it's the right place for me, is all."
"But what about UTA? You were thinking of them not six weeks ago. And it will be a lot cheaper, too, and in-state."
"You don't know that. Depending on how things are, it could be cheaper or even the same cost for me to go to the Xavier Institute."
"Jesus, Mom! Please, please, please don't call me that any more. I mean, I know I'll 'always be your baby' and all that, but I'm not a little baby any more. I'm going to be 18 in July. Yeah, so I can't fucking walk, but I can take care of myself, all by myself, I'm a C7 break, not a C1, for crying out loud. Do you know what that means? It means functional independence, which I'm never going to have if you think that you need to mother hen me for the rest of my life." He threw his fork down. "Y'know what? I'm going to get dressed and go to school. I'll call Tim and see if he can't give me a ride, and if he can't, I'll wheel my functionally independent ass there." He spun away from the table.
A few minutes later, Jason's father knocked on the door. "Son? Jay, I'll -- I'll give you a ride."
"No, Dad, it's okay, I called Tim. He'll be here in 20 minutes."
"Can we at least have a man to man for a few minutes?"
"Sure," Jason grumbled.
"Jay ... your mom ... your mom loves you and she wants what's best but --" his dad sighed. "This has been really, really hard on her and --"
"Hard on her? I think it's been a little bit harder on some of us than on others," Jason snapped.
"Look, what I'm trying to say is, if it turns out we can afford it, I'll back you. But, I have concerns, son, I mean, are they equipped to handle a person with your kind of needs?"
The founder of the school is a fucking paraplegic, Dad, I should think so. "Dad, why don't you call them and double check?" Pause. "Thank you."
"I love you too, son, and ... it's different for men, but it doesn't mean that I'm going to find it strange to have an empty nest."
"You'll get used to it. And ... you and Mom can find other things to do. Or," Jason gave a wicked grin, "you could have Tim move in, if you think that will help."
His dad looked horrified for a moment then laughed, then looked horrified again and said, "Don't even think of saying that where your mother might hear. She just might actually take you up on that. And I like Tim, I know he's like a brother to you, but ...."
"So, I'm wondering what I should do, Mrs. Taylor. Just finish out my school year there, or cram like mad for the GED and start college."
Tami Taylor steepled her hands in thought for a moment, then said, "I'm going to vote for GED, and here's why. Say you get up there and it doesn't work out and you come back. That puts you way behind on your diploma. But if you get a GED you can just apply to a Junior College and then transfer to a four year school."
His father took a look at Jason's letter of acceptance from the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. "Twelve thousand dollars a year for tuition and board, payable monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually? I think we can swing that." He flashed a huge smile at Jason.
"But what about plane tickets, I mean, can we all afford to fly up there?"
"Perhaps we could drive," his father mused.
"Mom, Dad. Um ... perhaps I should go by myself. Say my goodbyes here. I mean, I think it would be best for me to make kind of a clean break."
His mother nodded sadly and smiled as two tears spilled down her cheeks. "My ba --" Jason glared at her. "My son, going out into the world ...." She dried her eyes and smiled at him proudly.
"Well, no sir, I haven't bought a plane ticket yet."
"I'm going to be giving a presentation on human evolution at UTA in about two weeks. I'll be flying down in my private plane. There's no reason you can't fly back with me. You'll be able to take more of your personal belongings that way, too. What do you say?"
"I-I, well ... I'm flabbergasted, Professor Xavier."
"Call me Professor X, Jason. All the students do."
"Well, thanks again, Professor X, that's -- I'll tell my parents right away. That's so cool -- I mean generous of you."
"It's cool, too. I'll email you the details." Pause. "I'm looking forward to meeting you in person, Jason."
"Yeah. I mean, I'm really looking forward to meeting you too, and going to school and meeting everybody and thank you again, sir."
"It's not my birthday, Six," Tim said, looking down uncertainly at the present Jason had very laboriously wrapped for him.
"I know that. Just ... open it, okay?"
Tim goggled at the prepaid cell phone and minutes cards.
"I know it's not really a fancy one, but it's not like I'm made of money. It's just ... I know you don't have a lot of people you can talk to, and I still want to be one of them, you know?"
Tim didn't say anything. Just hugged Jason so hard he could barely breathe.
"And I'm going to be calling you, too, Riggs. Just because I'm in New York for the next four doesn't mean we still don't have Texas forever."
Tim hugged him again. "Texas forever, Six, I mean it," he whispered in Jason's ear.
"Look, Lyla, can I just talk to you for a few moments?"
"Sure," she replied in a voice as cool as a January morning.
Inwardly Jason rolled his eyes. Outwardly he sighed and said, "Lyla, I'm sorry for how it ended between us. I'm sorry we stepped on each other's hearts. But ... we went through a lot together over these past four years and, it would've felt wrong to leave town without talking to you, so --"
"We're talking." She gave a brittle smile.
"Things that bad at home?"
"No ... it's just ... you going like this, it's just more of everything changing on me and I feel so --" she sighed, "helpless sometimes."
"You'll get through. You'll see." He said and squeezed her hand gently.
"You just make sure you show them wussy NY boys how we play the manly sport of Murderball down here in Texas." Herc said, holding up a bottle of Shiner Bock.
Jason toasted it with his bottle of Lone Star and replied, "Well, somebody's got to school 'em, Herc."
"Damn, I'm going to miss you, Sparky," Herc said after guzzling down about a quarter of his bottle and belching softly. "But I'll tell you another thing, if you had even thought of saying no, I'd've kicked your ass. I mean, a snooty college asking after you, and not the other way 'round? An opportunity not to be missed."
Jason piffed. "Don't get too complacent, Herc. I'll be back in a few years, and next time I'll be on that squad, giving your geriatric ass a hard time."
Herc snorted and flipped him the bird.
"Well, I guess this is it then," His mother dabbed at her cheeks as they all stood on the tarmac looking a small, sleek black jet emblazoned with the Xavier Institute logo on the wings and tail.
"Don't cry, Mom," Jason said, blinking back a few of his own tears, "it's really all for the best."
His dad ruffled his hair. "And this way, you get to bring your quad rugby chair."
Jason laughed at that.
"Call when you get there."
Jason gave his parents one last set of hugs then wheeled toward the special ramp at the back of the jet. Professor X had offered to let them all say their good byes inside the plane, but Jason said he'd rather do it outside the plane, because he wanted it to be associated with heading towards a happy future, not with sad goodbyes.
Jason wheeled aboard to find Professor X accompanied by a handsome, brown-haired, athletic looking man who wore a pair of very unusual sunglasses with wraparound ruby red lenses.
"Jason," Professor X said, "this is Scott Summers. In addition to being the primary person flying us home today, he teaches geometry and oversees our athletic instruction. You'll be working with him."
Jason held out his hand and Scott shook it, grip firm. "Pleased to meet you, Mr. Summers. I'm looking forward to working with you."
Scott's teeth were blindingly white as he smiled, "Scott. Same here. I sure could use some help with our program. We don't do anything competitive, but ... coaching's coaching and if you can get a grip on the students here, you'll be able to handle anything, anytime, anywhere."
Just as Scott knelt to latch Jason's chair into place, there was a loud "Ahem."
"Ah," said Professor X with a smile in his voice, "This is our co-pilot, working on logging a few more miles so he can get his IFR certification, Logan."
Logan was a little taller and a little more powerfully built than Scott, with bushy dark hair, long sideburns and a stare like a blue-eyed wolf. He nodded a hello.
"Logan is our martial arts instructor."
Jason gave a rueful snort. "I don't think I'll be doing much of that."
"I dunno." Logan shrugged "You still got enough upper body strength to throw a punch?"
Jason gave him a level stare. "Yeah. As a matter of fact, I blackened an eye a few months back."
Logan gave a sharky grin. "Then you can still fight. I can show you what to do in the chair and how to fight back if you get knocked out of it."
"What? Bite ankles?"
"If you have to." He dropped and lay on the floor next to Scott. "Right now I can think of several things I could do from this position to incapacitate Scott here."
"Logan," Professor X said, a note of warning in his voice.
Scott piffed at Logan. "You try anything and you'll be walking home."
"Given that the alternative is spending the next four hours with you, while you nitpick my every move, that's not exactly a threat." Logan grinned almost feraly.
Scott gave Professor X a plaintive look. "You see what I mean when I say he's insufferable?"
"Scott," Professor X said in a slightly exasperated tone.
"Are we there yet?" Jason whined in an effort to break the tension.
"No." Logan said, shooting to his feet in a smooth, whip-fast motion, "And if you keep asking, I'm turning this plane around and there'll be no trip to the X-Mansion." He clapped Scott on the back. "C'mon Boy Scout, let's get this crate in the air."
"It's not a crate." Scott muttered darkly under his breath as he turned and followed Logan towards the cockpit.
"Are they always like that?" Jason whispered as soon as they were in the cockpit.
Professor X gave a long suffering sigh and said, "Believe it or not, they've gotten better about working with each other. The flight down ...." He massaged at his temples with his fingers, "I'm a telepath. Four hours trying to block out their bickering and snarking tested the limits of both my gift and my patience."
Jason smirked. "So, um, if they want to invite me to the cockpit to see how they fly the plane?"
"You might accidentally touch something." Professor X raised an eyebrow.
Inwardly Jason groaned. Despite several really unpleasant experiences, he still found himself forgetting that even casual touches could hammer him with a barrage of information. "Just say no," he said wryly.
Professor X looked at Jason's hands. "We'll have to see about getting you some gloves or mitts made ... hopefully that will be enough to block your psychometric abilities until you learn -- if you can learn to control them. Your gift might not have an on-off switch, you know, some don't."
"It doesn't seem to so far," Jason sighed. "And, is that the word for what I am? A psychometric?"
Professor X gave him a warm smile. "Yes."
"It ... feels good to have a name for it."