by Tomato



Nathan and Jean belong to Marvel Comics. I don't have their permission to use them, but I'm only doing it for fun, honest. I'm not making any money off this but maybe someday... please don't sue. Just find out I can write and hire me, and we will call it even, okay? *giggle*

You can send feedback to me at  but be nice like your mommy taught you.

If you want to archive this little story, please ask me first, okay? Thank you.

If you want to MST or POP this story, please do not. Sorry.

Jean says that she believes Scott is not dead.

She says she's certain that he is alive -- his psyche and cells simply overwhelmed and subsumed by Apocalypse's absorption of him.

She says she can still hear him -- albeit faintly -- through the psionic rapport they have shared for all their adult lives.

I want to believe her. With all my heart.

She's my mother, Redd, and Scott Summers -- Slymm -- is my father.

I want to believe her. That my father is not dead and gone. That my whole purpose for coming to this time is not wasted. Apocalypse lives, and now is young and strong again.

And if my father lives, then my father fights -- even if only from the inside.

But the others ... Oath, the others. They think losing him, feeling his death in the deepest parts of her consciousness has driven Jean into denial. They fear for her sanity. Charles is certain that there is no trace remaining of Scott Summers in the entity that calls itself Apocalypse. Of course, they would know. Good little soldiers, good little troopers -- they don't question their war general.

And since this loss was his lieutenant -- his right hand man -- that has just fueled the fire of determination in the rest of them.

And for not the first time, since Egypt -- I doubt.

I don't doubt Jean. I believe her. I know her well. She's my *mother*. There is no one, save my poor, lost Jenskot I love more and know better. If she says he's not dead, I *believe* her. I know insanity. I'm intimately acquainted with it. Over the decades-spanning travels in my existence, I have seen madness. I have felt its fetid breath in my face as it laughed. I have watched it rend apart people's dreams, and I have fought it, only to have it skip away laughing, and return later to strike at those in my care -- or in my sentiments.

I ... doubt Xavier.

He has been the linchpin of the X-Men for all of *his* adult life. He's lost X-Men before. Mimic. Thunderbird. He's even lost Jean before, after a fashion. He's lost children of the X: Douglas Ramsey. And he's allowed his X-Men to think *him* lost.

What kind of a man does these things?

I say I know madness intimately...and I feel my heart speed and denial build in my throat. Madness wears Xavier's face sometimes, now. Scott was his *first* student. Scott was his most devoted follower. Scott was the one who blazed the trail.


Why, then, is Xavier so willing to declare my father dead and gone and vanished and destroyed?

Why is he chalking up the strength of my mother's convictions as simple grief and denial? For his dream?

I look at the X-Men with whom we travel now, back from Russia. Besides my mother, only Hank McCoy of the original five is here with us. Iceman's in New York, being an accountant. Angel is in New York as well, though his lady Psylocke is with the other team of X-Men.

The others refuse to fight; they say it wouldn't be a respectful remembrance to Scott.

Hank remains, though he would rather die than admit it -- because he worries about Jean.

And my mother remains because it keeps her busy. It keeps her mind off her beloved husband. And it gives her somewhere to channel her rage.

Against Xavier. Xavier who taught her to control her powers when she felt someone die with her telepathy's manifestation. Against Xavier, who threw the X-Men into a fight for the life of the entity that believed itself Jean Grey. Against Xavier, who professes to know better than the UN. I am no happier than he about Genosha, but there has been no great upheaval or attempt on Magneto's part to take over the world. He wanted his mutant homeland; he got it. He has been quiet since.

It seems to me, and perhaps to Jean -- which would explain her rage -- that his Dream takes precedence over the thoughts, feelings, or belief of his X-Men... or anyone else.

So I doubt, and I hate myself for it.

Ororo wraps an arm around me in a sisterly hug. She lacks telepathy but has always been good at reading people. I smile, pat her hand, and tell her I'll eat later.

Jean still thinks, when she's sure no one but me can hear her -- that her husband's existence has not been pinched out like the flame of a candle. I think that's part of why she remains now -- even wearing her Phoenix of mourning. She knows that if Scott's psyche does exist, and needs her to help pull him out -- she must be *strong*. And she will not grow strong living alone as a widow in Alaska.

And when that day comes -- for I believe in Redd -- I will be at her side, with every micron of my strength and power -- to return Slymm to this world he was too soon removed from.

But for now, I must meditate as the Askanii have taught me. I must remember Ray. I must remember X-Force. I must think of Redd. Too many who care about me, need me. I cannot let the techno-organism encroach and expunge my humanity. I cannot permit my sense of failure to overwhelm me and drown my determination. I cannot allow my doubt to push me away from the dream.

I will simply stand beside my mother, and be her strength.

When she is proven right and my father is restored to us -- we will rejoice.

And we will all address our doubts together.

--the end--

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