by Dex

All recognizable characters and settings belong to Marvel; I am using them without permission but mean no harm and am making no profit. The plot and original characters, however belong to me. Any and all feedback is appreciated at [email protected]. Redistribution of this tale for profit is illegal. Please do not archive this story without contacting me first to obtain my permission. Note: Some elements of this story involve events that occurred in ˇ¦rphans'. It can be found at

"It's pretty crazy in there, Bossman. I thought you should know. Everyone is right on edge, and ready to snap. The Prof is slipping bad, an' everyone is going every which way. I think it's going to come down to Gumbo leading one of the teams. Can you believe that? I'm sure you're spinning right now. That is, if you were there."

"Nightcrawler is messed up pretty bad, they say. They don't really want me to know. Being a kid and all that. But, it's pretty easy to tell. S'funny, you know. I never thought a lot about reading into what people don't say, until you suggested it. Only one who ever fit speeches into dramatic pauses. You missed your calling, chief. Acting was were it was at. Seriously. Thousands of girls screaming your name. Lots of money. Funky costumes... well, alright, one out of three ain't bad, I guess."

"Some of them have left already. No one says anything anymore. Like no one wants to mention that everything is falling apart. Have I mentioned recently that I hate Kitty? Well, not hate, I guess. Jealous of her. She's keeping Wolvster together, and I'm just the visiting cousin. Sucks, don't it?"

"Bobby left last night, you know. I dunno where he's going, but he slipped out after midnight. Only the Cajun and I saw him off. He didn't want to talk about the funeral or anything. Which, by the way, was really nice. You'd have liked it. Three types of meat at the buffet. Swank, I know."

"Anyhow, Drake just slumped to the door. Like when you used to complain about my posture? Well, he was way worse. Gambit went to talk to him, but he didn't want to say anything, you know. Gumbo gave him an envelope and left. I think it was some contacts or something. More of the 'don't tell her 'cause she's just a kid' syndrome cropping up. So, Bobster got to me next, and way deluding himself that he could slip past. He didn't. Oh, and the ice walls in the hall shouldn't cause too much water damage."

"I never knew the Icecube had it in him, ya know? All red-eyed and angry, like he was ready to burst up Bastion, Sinny, and Magneto at the same time. He didn't want to talk to me, but he did. Especially since I know that really ticklish spot on his elbow. Actually, I had to rabbit punch him in the solar plexus first, but that's just tough love."

"He gets all indignant and stuff at me. Drake being offended. Can you buy that? Me neither. He's gonna take some time off, he said. Get his head in order and figure out what he's gonna do next. Did'ja know that he considered you his older brother? I guess a lot of people did."

"Anyhow, he's gone now. Probably half-way to Boston, after saran-wrapping the toilets in Grand Central Station. A lot of others are thinking the same thing. Big Blue locked himself in the lab; trying to work and ignore everyone for the next while. I guess he needs time to deal with it to."

"Why did you do it, Cyke? Did you have to throw yourself in the way? I mean, this whole master tactician thing you had going made me expect at least some other play in the works then the fifty yard line tackle. Geez! The old optic blast combo getting a little stereotyped or something, Boss?"

"You know, I've been trying to get used to the idea of the X-Men coming back short a person for a long time, but I never figured on you. I mean, Cyclops. The chief. Top. Boss. You're not the one that gets it on the chin."

"But maybe you do get it sometimes."

"I think they're going to put Jean away. She insists she still hears you. No one believes her. Even Wolvie thinks she's just off her nut with grief, like she's the tissue woman who falls apart at everything."

"She's starting to hate them."

"I can tell. Spend enough time around Angelo, Frosty or Wolvie, and you can see through a mask at two hundred feet at night. In the rain. With sunglasses on. I thought she was going to put Kitty out the window today. She comes in all 'I know how you feel' to Jean, and trying to act concerned for her obsession with believing you're alive. I could feel her getting pissed from the next room, ya know? I guess Pryde got the message too."

"Jean's been talking with Frosty a lot these days. Something to do with telepathic bonds and inserting thought commands and stuff that is totally lost on me. Frosty also told her she was welcome to come and teach. I think she might. If she stays here much longer, she's gonna kill somebody."

"Even Wolvie doesn't get her right now. I think he's all confused and it's messing with his senses. How often do you see him off balance, eh? He ditched your funeral. You know him. Has to do his thing on his own. He's pretty beaten up over this too. I think you know this, but you meant a lot to him as a friend."

"Chuck couldn't speak at your funeral. He tried. A lot. But he kept breaking up after the first couple of words. Irish read his speech out for him. It was real nice, Scott. You'd have liked it. Probably gotten all weepy and stuff, like when Jean got the pictures of your wedding back. You know, I think that's the only time I ever saw you cry."

"I- well, I didn't just come out to give you all the news. I got your letter. Geez, you needed six pages of the neatest handwriting on the planet for me alone? Beast musta got War and Peace by Cyke in his letter."

"I wanted ta say thanks."

"I know I probably gave you an ulcer or something over the years, but I'm proud that you believed in me, Boss. I don't know what's gonna happen to the X-Men, or Chuck, for that matter. But I promise you that we ain't gonna stop fighting. That's what everyone keeps saying. I think I believe Jean when she says that you ain't dead. Or maybe it's because I want to believe that. I don't know, but she's not gonna let it go, and she's sure as hell not going to let them shove her aside. I think Frosty is gonna help her. Did I tell you? Frosty spoke at your funeral. Got up, said 'I respected Scott Summers' and sat down. Storm and Pryde looked a step away from strangling her, but Gumbo and Jean got it. I got it."

"I dunno what else to tell you, Cyke. Do me a favour, will'ya? Don't give up. If you and Apocalypse got all caught up together, beat him. You can do it. Everyone says that you're the most stubborn person they know. Use that and beat him. If Jean and Frosty can't help you with that, then no one can. I don't want to say goodbye to you now. Not like this."

"I still have the watch, you know. Betcha thought I lost it already. Well, I did for a bit, but found it again. After I washed it. But it still works. Works really well. I thought that... well, maybe... I thought that you'd want to know that I had it. And I still remember what you said to me when you gave it to me."

"Went like `when I first put on that uniform, my only thought was that I might be able to help someone like me. Someone who was scared and lost and needed something to believe in. That watch represents why we struggle. Because, somewhere outside is a person who is just like we were, and needs someone like Scott Summers or Jubilation Lee to show them something to believe in.' Man, you shoulda gone in ta politics or something."

"I believe, Scott. Gonna make me cry here... I-I just wanted to say thanks again. And make sure that you know that it ain't gonna be wasted. X-Men don't quit, do they?"

"No, they don't. I remember that. Make sure you do to."

"Goodbye, Cyke." Jubilee said, shifting in her perch on the bench. In front of her was a burnished bronze plaque, the name ˇ¦cott Summers' embossed in capital letters. There was no date or inscription, only a small ˇ¦' capping the screws at the corners. Jubilee looked at the face of her watch, and then back to the plaque. A tear made a solitary track down her cheek as she stood and brushed her fingertips over the metal, cool in the autumn air. After a long moment, she slipped the watch back on her wrist, and turned back to the mansion to rejoin the living.