Make It Okay: Part 2
With a soft click, Sam replaced the receiver carefully in its place. Then grinned hugely and choked back a laugh. Of all the reactions, he'd never expected that one. Alex had cunningly arranged a day off, and had asked him out on a date. Well, it would probably end up more of a dirty night away, but it was the closest thing to a first date they'd have. And a last bit of private time before they admitted it to the general public.
Sam thought quickly. There was absolutely no doubt he was going, he just had to figure out how to get away with it. Of course, there was that half-joking half-surreal little 'chat' a few days before... He got up and padded out of the room. Time to look cute. "Cable?"
Looking up with years worth of suspicion, Cable showed no signs that the cuteness was working. "What?"
"Can you do me a really big favour and send me out on a bogus mission tomorrow night?"
"If you want to go on a date you can say so like everybody else."
"But Ah _can't_. Not until next week. Alex made me promise he could tell Scott first."
"Why?" Cable frowned. He didn't see why telling his father something like that was so important. He usually avoided it for as long as possible.
"No, the little one from the alternate universe. The one that's your half-brother."
"Oh, that one." He thought about that for a moment. "No, still not doing it."
"But Ah _promised_."
"_I_ know. And Dom knows."
"That's different, you guessed. It doesn't count." Sam ran swiftly across the top of that shaky moral ground and went back to being appealing. "Just this once?"
_Those eyes should be registered as a deadly weapon._ But he was looking so damn happy. And Cable liked seeing his kids happy. "Okay, this ONCE. But you have to actually do something for me on your way. What you do after that is none of my business."
"Thanks." Sam beamed gratefully and ducked back out. Almost bounced, in fact.
Cable stared at the door and laughed softly to himself. _I've turned into an utter pushover._
A day later, Sam was humming contentedly to himself as he flew towards Alex's apartment. He was even a bit early. Which was a good thing, the flight to LA might take a while.
Sliding in through the window again, Sam dropped his bag on the chair and wandered into the kitchen. Then blinked. Alex was indeed there, sitting at the table while sipping something brown and steaming. So was a dark-haired and petitely beautiful woman. For a moment the jealousy came back, but it disappeared as Alex stood up and smiled, hurrying over for a welcoming kiss.
Sam blushed. He was going to have to get used to having other people around when he did that. For her part, the woman at the table was grinning delightedly. "Um, hi."
"Whoops, sorry, got distracted." Alex didn't seem to mind. "Sam, this is Matina, the pushy woman who gives all the unwanted relationship advice. Matt, this is Sam. Hands off."
"Hi Sam. But it's Matt, nobody calls me Matina except my parents. And is it too early in our relationship to say that you two are utterly adorable?" She laughed. "I never realized you were a matched set."
"Huh?" Alex looked at her suspiciously.
"Blond hair, blue eyes, about the same height... you didn't notice?"
"Well, not really." Alex looked at Sam thoughtfully. Sam looked back.
"Wow. Men ARE all like that..."
"Hey, this man's lending you his apartment so you can work in peace, so be nice."
Matt clasped her hands together and widened almost-black eyes to an amazing extent. "I'll be good."
"And pigs might fly."
"How are you getting to LA again?" Matt cocked her head to one side and smirked.
Alex laughed. "Okay, bad choice of words there."
"You should know better than to leave me an opening like that," Matt agreed. "So, are you two ready to run off into the sunset, or are you hanging around?"
"LA is south of here. And yes, we're going now."
"Hey, don't interrupt my cliches with fact." She smiled again and made a shooing motion. "Go on then. Do all sorts of things I wouldn't, as long as it's fun."
"You're an archaeologist, Matt. Your idea of fun isn't human." Alex ducked out of the room quickly, dragging Sam after him.
Matt followed. Sam suspected that neither of the two would be willing to let the other one have the last word, and sighed.
"Excuse me? At least I'm not a _geologist_. I like my rocks to have had at least something to do with humankind."
"Are you saying mine don't? You had great fun telling us all how you were three miles away from the epicenter of LA's last little quake. I'd say that my rocks had a lot to do with you right then."
Matina laughed. "And since I was trying to have sex at the time, I suppose they even have a sense of humour. But the fact remains that my field is better than your field."
There was only one way to end this. "How's this for a fair solution? Neither of you has the last word, _Ah_ do."
Sam gently but very firmly put one hand across Alex's mouth. "Alex, Ah'm going right now, and if you say a word Ah'll leave you behind. Okay? Just nod."
Alex nodded, pretending to look submissive. Matt giggled.
"Goodbye, Matt, it was nice to meet you."
She waved as they left, but managed not to say a word.
Five minutes in the air, and Alex still hadn't said anything. Sam was starting to wonder if he'd been replaced by a Skrull. If he had, the rest of the night should probably be cancelled or run the risk of some very convoluted religious questions. "'Lex?"
"Oh THANK God!" Alex gasped for air as if he'd be drowning. "I thought my head was going to explode. Never realized not saying anything was going to be that _hard_. How the hell did you manage to stay quiet for so long? I thought of at least six really funny things to say, but I've forgotten them now and it's all your fault. I'd stop speaking to you, but that would be really stupid."
Sam laughed. He couldn't help it. The laughter just bubbled up and wouldn't stop.
"And you're laughing at me. Now I'm not talking to you."
Playing along with a grin, Sam managed to stop laughing long enough to speak. "Ah wasn't laughing AT you, honest..."
Alex turned towards a cloud. "Did you hear anything, fluffy? No, neither did I."
Sam knew the trick now. He just snuck a quick look at his watch and didn't say anything, cultivating a remorsefully hurt silence.
After 6 minutes and twenty-seven seconds Alex broke. "Okay, I forgive you."
"Good." Sam smirked and quickly kissed Alex's hair.
"Are we there yet?"
A pause. "Are we there NOW?"
"Don't make me drop you."
The night they'd planned probably wouldn't have seemed very romantic to someone else, but they liked it that way. It wasn't supposed to be romantic, it was supposed to be fun. Sam had managed to explain it with a perfectly straight face. "See, if someone saw us in an expensive restaurant, they'd get the wrong impression."
"The wrong impression?"
"Yup. They might think you're _not_ easy."
Somehow in the middle of the resulting mock-argument they'd agreed to do things they both enjoyed. Basically, eat way too much pizza then go to a movie and make trouble.
"Okay, I give in. You can eat more than me." Alex groaned. "Although I don't know how."
Sam grinned. "Mutant metabolism. Took a lot of energy to get here, Ah need to replace it somehow." He eyed Alex's half-eaten piece of pizza. "You gonna finish that?"
Alex pushed his plate across the table. "You might have to carry me. I don't think I can move."
"How about we walk slowly. Still got... half an hour to go five blocks." Sam finished off the last mouthful with a sigh of satisfaction.
"After that I could probably use the exercise. Keep forgetting I don't have to run away screaming anymore. Supervillains do keep you fit, I'll give them that much..."
Sam grinned. "You especially, Ah've heard. Two mile run, they say..."
"That is NOT true. Wolverine and Gambit are both much worse than I am. Anyway, Madelyne doesn't really count."
"She tried to have Earth taken over by demons. She counts. And what about Fatale?"
"I was undercover. She doesn't count either."
"She wasn't a supervillain, she was the nanny."
"You think that's any better?"
"No, but at least it's different. Now shall we change the subject, or will I have to bring up what _you've_ been doing in the last four years or so?"
Sam looked innocently at a fingernail. "Ah think we can change the subject."
The movie turned out to be unadulterated trash. They both enjoyed it immensely. There are a lot more ways to entertain yourself in a movie theatre than just watching it. There's kissing, for a start. And ridiculing the plot holes and bad acting, to the point where they were unceremoniously evicted from the premises.
"You woulda thought they'd at least let us see the end," Sam looked offended, as if it wasn't his loud theorizing on the main character's sexual habits that had finally got them thrown out.
"There was much posing by everyone, the hero got the girl and the bad guy was accidentally killed by a piece of machinery as he tried to off the hero. See? Easy." Alex glanced around the nearly empty street, rather glad they'd got outside before everyone else. It was nice, and they ambled aimlessly along quite happily.
"You don't know that. Could've had some huge twist, where it turned out that who we'd thought was the hero was really a Chinese double-agent..." He looked over at Alex's dubious expression and sighed. "No, you're right. Villain, machinery, happy ending."
Laughing, Alex slid his arm around Sam's shoulders and kissed him quickly on the temple. "We should make our own movie. We know much more about it than those people."
"Yeah. Like how saying 'before you kill me, at least tell me the secret plan' to our villains just makes 'em laugh."
"And they never want to fight man to man. They just look offended and tell the minions to beat you up some more."
But Sam didn't laugh, he was too busy glaring angrily at a woman they'd just drawn level with. "_What_ did you just say?"
She looked back, probably would have given the look down her nose if they hadn't both been at least six inches taller than she was. "I wasn't talking to you." She turned back to her slightly embarrassed-looking companion.
Sam ducked out from under Alex's arm and two took furious steps towards her. "No, you were just talkin' _about_ me." Then the anger seemed to leak out and he sighed. "You don't even know me."
The woman shrugged. "I've got eyes."
"Did they tell you that Ah'm twenty-four? Older than you, by the looks of it. So Ah'll make mah OWN decisions about who Ah sleep with, if you don't mind."
Alex had heard more than enough. "Sam, come on. Bleached-blonde snobby little bitches like that aren't worth the aggravation." By the efficient method of grabbing Sam's wrist and towing him, Alex managed to get him moving. But when he heard the woman mutter something along the lines of 'twenty-four my ass' and cradle-snatchers, he nearly turned around and yelled at her himself.
For his part Sam was still fuming, enough that he barely noticed Alex pulling him onto a bus and into a seat neat the back. "Fucking bitch." He still didn't swear often, but that just made it all the more satisfying when he did.
"Sam, _calm down_. It's not her fault you still look twenty, and it's not yours either. Let it go."
"Ah don't WANT to."
"Because Ah'm not done being angry and offended at certain judgmental little tramps, that's why."
"She pissed me off too, but it's just the stupid opinion of someone we're never going to see again, and not worth ruining my good mood for."
"Mine's already gone."
Alex snorted. "Mine will be too if you don't stop sulking. It doesn't _matter_. I don't give a shit what she thinks, okay?"
"Spoken like someone who doesn't still get carded at bars." He was still annoyed, but managing to find his sense of humour again.
Alex smirked. "I haven't been carded since I was nineteen, no. But it still doesn't matter, okay?"
"Glad you think so. Because just imagine what people are going to say if we go out with Scotty."
Alex laughed ruefully. "Scott'll think it's funny. I swear, that boy inherited his mother's sense of humour... but I still don't care." A quick glance around the bus showed that nobody was looking outraged or whispering, which was assurance enough given that they'd hardly tried to speak quietly. So he ignored them all, and kissed Sam instead. It was a good kiss, cozy and calming and tasting faintly of popcorn. That was what mattered, not what anybody assumed.
The imaginary boundaries that exist between strangers on public transport was suddenly shattered by a loud wolf-whistle. Alex looked up to see a teenage girl grinning at him as she took her fingers out of her mouth. The other girl sitting next to her shook her head. "Day-AMN, there's an image I'm not gonna be able to get out of my brain."
"Two for one," the first girl agreed, then waved her hands in a shooing motion. "Hey, don't let us disturb ya. Go right back to what you were doing..."
Scotty had changed a lot since Alex had first met him. For a start, he didn't answer to 'Scotty' anymore, which tended to cause a bit of confusion. He was also taller, leaner, and wiser. But in all the important ways he was the same little boy Alex had fallen in love with years ago, and when he stepped out of the portal he had the same grin.
Although, Alex reflected, the way he dropped his bags and held his hands above his head shouting 'tah-DAAAAAH!' was indicative of growing extroversion. Now that he had better understanding and control of his powers, Scott wasn't as quiet as he used to be. Sometimes Alex forgot why that was a good thing.
The nine-year-old ball of exuberance crouched for a moment, then threw himself into a tackle with no concern at all for possible injury to either of them. Alex caught his 'son' by reflex alone and staggered back a few steps, managing to strangle the curse just before it got out. Madelyne had Views on what language was appropriate for use in front of her baby.
"Jesus Christ, Scott, you're getting too heavy for this!" Blasphemy, on the other hand, was okay.
"Am not!" Scott demonstrated this by twisting backwards so that he hung upside-down and Alex nearly dropped him again. "See?"
"Seriously, I swear you've put on twenty pounds since I saw you last."
"Alex, that was only a month ago." Scott swung himself a little, giggling happily. "You are so full of crap."
"When did you pick up THAT phrase? And does your mother know?"
"Come on, Alex. I'm not stupid enough to say that in front of mom." He snorted. "Can't even THINK it, you know what she's like."
"Yeah. A mother." Deciding that any minute his arms were going to fall off, Alex swung Scott around and dropped him onto the couch where he bounced and rolled in the way that children do.
"Yeah, but a telepathic one. When SHE says 'don't even think about it' she really means it."
"Which is why you come visit me, right?" Alex plopped down next to his hyperactive visitor and grinned.
"Of course." He looked up seriously. "When your parents, or the closest things you've got, don't live together it's the one you don't live with's JOB to let you stay up late and eat junkfood and watch horror movies."
"Junkfood and staying up late maybe, but no horror movies. Remember what happened last time?"
"C'mooooon, I was only SEVEN then!"
"Scott, it was Monty Python."
"And it was scary!"
"You think you were scared, imagine how I felt when two freezing little feet appeared on my leg at three in the morning."
Scott sighed. "Okay, okay, no horror movies. Star Wars marathon?"
"It's tradition now. And it better be all five, not just the last three."
Alex wondered if Sam had ever watched all five Star Wars movies in one sitting before. Even if he had, Scott's capacity for it would probably still be amazing. Most kids nodded off before A New Hope finished, and Alex himself tended to at least nap before the end of The Empire Strikes Back. Scott made it to the Ewok party every time. "Tomorrow night, IF you don't wear me out to much by then."
"Cool." Scott grinned. "So what are going to do now?"
"Right now I'm going to finish my breakfast. You've got until then to sell me on something." Alex got up and went back to the kitchen to rescue his coffee.
"How about we go out and you buy me stuff?"
"How about I give you the spanking you deserve?"
"You wouldn't do that."
"If I'll do it to Nate Grey, what makes you think I won't try it on you?"
Scott looked surprised. "Mom. _Nate Grey_?"
"Long story. He deserved it." In Alex's not-so-humble opinion, Nate'd had it coming for a LONG time.
"Remind me not to piss you off, then." Scott reached for an apple and looked up innocently. "What?"
After three hours playing video games Scott had calmed down significantly. It might have seemed like an odd tactic, but watching Madelyne (the one from his universe, not Scott's mother) with a Playstation had been very educational. For some reason, flashing screens and blowing things up seemed to calm telepaths of all ages. Even Cable had been sprung once or twice. He claimed it was target practice, and faced with that look you admitted that with X-people you just never knew when being able to kill dragons might be an important survival skill.
But even then, Scott liked to eat in the park. Despite his skill he was only a kid and his shields reflected that. He was much more comfortable in quieter, less crowded places. And that suited Alex just fine, especially on days like this.
"Yeah, you need to talk to me." Scott licked some stray sauce off his fingers and reached for the thickshake. "I'm listenin'."
Alex thought a quiet curse at telepaths who cut conversational corners and didn't give him enough time to work himself up to things. "Well, you know how much you and Lorna didn't get along?" It was a cop-out beginning that might well blow up in his face, but on the other hand if he could start on a good point...
Scott's expression became instantly frosty. "TELL me that you didn't get back together with her AGAIN."
"I didn't." In fact, he was about as far from that as he could get. Which really didn't make it any easier to tell. _Please understand this, Scott..._
"That's okay then. If you had, I'd have been forced to kill you for your own good." He nodded firmly. "So what was it?"
"Well, the thing with Lorna was hard and I care about what you think, so this time I'm going to ask you earlier... Um, have you ever met Sam Guthrie?"
Scott paused, french fry halfway to his mouth as he stared blankly. "No, but I've heard of him..." he said finally, then shook his head as if to clear it. "Okay, you s'prised me that time. I was kinda expecting a new-relationship speech, but... um, not that one."
Alex was still waiting for the other shoe to drop. "Surprised is okay, I was expecting surprised."
"Like, _really_ not that one. I was expecting to hear that you were gonna marry Domino more than that one, ya get me?" Scott coughed. "Jeez, my precognition's not as good as they make it out to be... um, gimme a minute to be completely weirded out, okay?"
Alex waited while Scott mechanically finished his lunch, looking into the middle-distance and obviously thinking hard. When slurping sounds began to emerge from the bottom of the cup, he tried again. "Want to talk about it?"
"Nope, still weirded. Need 'nother minute." He sat silently for a while longer, then sighed. "Okay, okay. Talking, right." He nodded again. "You kinda got the jump on me there, Alex, and you KNOW how I hate it when you do that. So I'm pi- um, annoyed about that. But that's got nothing to do with the other thing, which is STILL weirding me out by the way."
"I'm sorry, but there's not really a lot I can do about that. You deserved to know."
"Better than walking in on ya, I suppose." He pulled off his ever-present baseball gap and ran a hand through his hair absently. "Okay, I suppose I have to be honest..."
"Fair's fair, I was."
"Whatever. Look, it's kinda hard to just take in. This is one of those things that happens to OTHER people, y'know? Although given the number of other-people things that happen to us anyway... Dunno, maybe it's just perspective. Like, this is much less weird than having my mom turn into a demon sorceress and try to take over the world. And it's not as freaky as when you turned up where my dad used to be. And not QUITE as gross as when I did walk in on you and mom by accident. But we're still making top ten here."
"Thanks a bunch." Alex shook his head and grinned.
"Hey, I'm nine! Cut me some slack." He looked up a little sadly. "Sometimes I wish I couldn't hear people. You're really happy, aren't you?"
Alex thought about it seriously. "Yeah, I think I am."
Scott sighed. "I knew it. And I guess I'm happy for you 'n everything..."
"But? There was a but in there."
"Only a little one."
"Don't call me that."
"Sorry. Scott. If you want to tell me, I don't mind. No matter what it is."
Scott sighed again. "It's just that... well, there really isn't any chance of you and mom ever getting back together now, is there?"
Alex looked down into those mournful little eyes and his heart nearly broke. "Well..."
"I KNEW that there wasn't, but I kept... I WANTED it to, okay? And now I have to admit that it's never gonna happen."
Alex pulled the little person into a hug. Scott buried his face against the closest thing he had to a father and didn't look up again. "It's never going to happen because your mom and I only get along well when we're just friends." And even that had taken quite some time. "We don't love each other like that. I don't love the Madelyne from this world anymore either, and your mom loved the Alex that died. I can't replace your father for her. I'm sorry."
"Me too." Despite the change of name and larger body, this Scott still broke down and cried for the family he was never, ever going to have again the same way as he had when he'd first lost it.
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