The Last Meeting
by Maria Cline
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~ means the dream
** means telepathy
~Slymm was disappearing in front of young Nathan's eyes. "Come back Slymm! Come back!" he cried out. But he just faded away.~
Nathan woke up in a cold sweat. He looked around, and at himself. He had been having the same dream for the last several nights. He looked at the calendar. It was his turn to visit. It might be his last chance.
He went to the mansion via the Packrat. He remained silent as he piloted the craft. He landed and everyone just stared. Nathan glared at them. The last thing he wanted was sympathy. But he felt their sorrow emanating.
He went up to the med. lab. Hank walked up to him, his face filled with exhaustion and frustration. He said, "I'm trying all I can. I've been trying all I can to save him but..." Nathan put his hand over Hank's mouth to shut him up.
"Just try. It's not your fault. I have faith in you to do what is necessary. After all, you did conquer Legacy."
"Of course, my friend." Hank left.
Nathan walked up to the med. lab where his mother and father were waiting. It didn't look like the med. lab before it happened. The place was covered with wallpaper and posters. He looked up to see some posters on the ceiling that had clowns and jokes on them. It looked more like a bedroom than a hospital. The only things that even marked the fact that it was still a med. lab were the IV units, the smell of antiseptics, and a man lying on the bed with a woman holding his hand.
Jean looked up and smiled, "Hello, Nathan." She was beautiful. Her hair was fixed and her clothes were clean. But her face was filled with the effects of a lack of a good night's sleep.
"Hello, Jean." He said. Jean stood up and Nathan hugged her. "How are you?"
"I'm fine." Jean wearily sat down again. She held her husband's hand tightly.
Scott looked over at his wife and whispered, "Go - Jean. Rest."
"No," She said stubbornly, "I'll be fine. I'm just tired."
Scott looked at her and said, "Nate's - here. He - will - keep - me - company. He - will - contact - you - if - I - want - you - to - come - here. Just - rest. For - me."
Jean sadly looked at him and nodded. She went up to Scott, kissed him, and said, "I will take a nap. If you need me just call." She walked up to the doorway and stood there, as she just stared at her husband and son, both infected with some horrible disease. She ran off knowing the sooner she rested, the sooner she would come back.
Nathan and Scott both watched as Jean reluctantly left. Nate sat down where Jean once sat and said, "Thanks. I know how stubborn she can get."
"All - those - years - with me, some - of - it - must've - rubbed - off."
Nathan smiled and said, "Of course." Then he looked down at his father and asked, "How are you, Scott?"
Scott looked at him and said, "I am - bedridden, - crippled,- and - now - turning - mute. Other - than - that - I'm - fine."
Nathan smiled at Scott's attempt at humor. "Well, you can always use your psychic rapport with Jean to communicate when your voice goes."
Scott shook his head and said, "I - want - to - talk. It's - the -only - thing - I - can - do - on - my own."
Nathan held his hand with his flesh hand and said, "Of course. Just talk I'll listen."
"I'm - proud - of - you."
"For what?" Nathan asked confused, "I didn't do anything."
"You - guided - people. You - saved - the - world. You - stopped - Apocalypse. You - stopped - using - the - guns - and - started - relying - more - on - your - gifts." Scott said blissfully, "How - can - you - say - you - didn't - do - anything?"
"Good point." Nathan said. He absentmindedly looked down at his metallic arm, the result of his own disease. "I know what's it like to have a disease, you know."
"I - know. But - that - virus - made - you - who - you - are. The - virus - is - a - part - of - you. My - virus - is - destroying - me. But - I - believe - that - Hank - will - find - a - cure - for - me. You - can - fight - your - virus. I - have - to - cope - with - this."
Nathan felt a deja-vu come over him. "Do you remember the day when you and Redd... Jean went back to the present?"
"Yes," Scott answered. "I - wanted - to - stay - so - badly. But - I- had - to - leave. If - I - could, I - would - have - stayed."
"It was one of the worst days of my life. But, when I figured out that you and Jean were Slymm and Redd, I felt shocked, amused, and even like dancing with joy."
"How - did - you - figure - it - out? I - couldn't - figure - out -how - you - knew."
Nathan smirked, "I am a telepath. I recall every detail of my life. When Hank told me that your old nickname was 'Slim', it all just clicked in. The similar powers you had, the constant telling me about my destiny, the way you two just faded away mysteriously, and the words 'son' and 'blender'."
"Jean once said the word 'blender' and I had no idea what the word meant. That and the word 'son,' an archaic word. What troubled me was that I didn't realize the similarities sooner."
"I - seriously - doubt - that - would be - first - thing - on - your - mind - when - you - first - meet - 'Cyclops'."
"I hated Cyclops when I first saw you as him. When I first realized that I was your son. That I was Cyclops's son, I was mad at him. After all, I considered Slymm to be my father not Cyclops."
"What - do - you - think - of - Scott?"
"He's okay. Oath, I've heard about the various love/hate relationships between fathers and sons but nothing like the relationship we had." Scott smiled and started to let out a harsh, grainy sound. Nathan concerned asked, "Should I get Hank?"
Scott shook his head, smiling. "No. That - was - my - laugh - or - what's - left - of - it. That's - reason - Rogue - was - forced - off - the - roster."
Nathan remembered. Rogue was forced not to visit Scott anymore, since she couldn't handle Scott being in such a horrible condition. She constantly started to break down every time she visited. She dedicated her time now to fighting and not thinking of him, crippled and dying. It was only a couple of weeks ago that she stopped visiting. The other X-Men were on the verge of loosing it as well.
"Oh," Nathan said solemnly. "What were you laughing about?"
"Just - realized - that - when - you - told - me - about - Slymm - raising - you - before - I - got - married - to - Jean, I - was - so - jealous - of - him."
"And now, you know you're Slymm and Cyclops. Are you jealous of him?"
"He's - me. We - better - stop - talking - about - Slymm - and - Cyclops - like- they're- separate - people. I - hate - talking - in - third - person."
"Aren't they?" Nathan mused, "After all, Slymm was the man who raised me. Cyclops was the leader of the X-Men. And Scott Summers was the human behind them all."
"They're - all - separate - after - all." Scott said.
"Yes, but they all made up a great man."
Then, Nathan sensed a presence coming. "Ororo's coming."
"Her - turn," He whispered. "How's - the - weather?"
"It has been gloomy for awhile," Nathan answered. The weather had been gloomy for months.
He remembered the dream he constantly had been having. Nathan realized that this was his last opportunity to say what he needed to say. "I love you, Father. I have always loved you. You and Jean gave me the family that gave me the strength I needed throughout all the years I fought. I am proud to be an X-Man."
"You - called - me - father," Scott observed. "Thank - you, I - love - you - too. Take - care - of - your - family - especially Jean. They - will - need - you."
Nathan sadly looked down at his dying father and decided to do something he had thought he would never do. He leaned over and kissed gently him on the forehead. "I will take care of our family," he said, "just don't tell anybody I did that."
Scott said candidly, "You - have - a - reputation - to - uphold. I won't - tell." He smiled.
Nathan telekinetically raised his father up and wrapped his huge arms around Scott's wilted frame. Scott wishing for the strength needed to return the hug rubbed his head on Nathan's shoulder. "Goodbye Slymm. I hope we see each other again."
Nathan lowered Scott back down and stood up. He said telepathically, **Take good care of Scott, Ororo.** She looked at him and nodded. Nathan looked at him and walked out. He leaned on a nearby wall. The patience it took to hold that conversation was excruciating. But, it was worth it. He had told him what was in his heart before it was too late.
Later, Nathan was having a cup of coffee in the kitchen, when Logan walked in with a face filled with sorrow. Nathan remembered that Logan was supposed to be with Scott right now. He was not the type to walk away from an obligation. Nathan felt a chill in the air. Nathan could see the possibility of what had happened. Logan walked up to Nathan and said with a voice filled with grief. "I'm sorry Nathan." He reached in his shirt, and pulled out a visor. "He's at peace." He gave the visor to Nathan.
Nathan felt a great mixture of sorrow and relief. Sorrow for losing his father. Relief at the knowledge that Scott was out of his misery.
"Does Jean know yet?"
"Not yet. But, I think she could sense it. She's asleep."
"Did he say anything before he... left?"
"He said to tell all of the X-Men that he loves them. To tell Jean that he loves her. And that he will be waiting." Logan recited.
Nathan sat down and said, "At least he didn't die alone."
"Yea, well he was miserable. Never the type that liked being taken care of."
"Yep." Silence overtook the two. Each not knowing what to say to the other. Nathan's mind began to wander. He felt the memory of the dream overtake him. Like before, Slymm vanished. But then a new part of the dream occurred. He saw Scott Summers getting up in an island paradise with Jean helping him up. He smiled, "Logan?"
"I've had this strange dream every night for a long time. It was about the time Scott, as Slymm, was fading away. I thought at the time that he and Redd (Jean) died. But they ended up back on their honeymoon. Maybe, Scott is in 'paradise'. A place where he's free from the optic blasts and the disease. True, he is probably missing us right now. But we'll meet again, like we did before."
Logan smiled, "Yeah, he's probably watching us, right now, having this conversation."
"Yeah and he's probably wondering if we will fight each other."
"He would be mad if we fought right now."
"Yep. We better hold off until he's not watching."
"Yeah." They remained silent for a second. Logan broke the silence,"I hafta go and tell the others."
"Hey, if ya ever need to talk..."
"I'll let you know. Thanks for being there for Scott. I'm sure he appreciated it"
"Yer welcome. And I'm sure he does."
Nathan watched Logan leave. He closed his eyes. He could still remember the years he spent with Slymm, the good and the bad, the lessons taught, and hardships. That was all that's left of him now. But he would be with him again. Someday. He hoped. But for now, he would only dream.
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