Make It Okay: Part 3

by Diamonde



Over the next day Scott seemed to adjust to the disillusionment with the efficient resiliency of childhood, just becoming a little less hyperactive and more determinedly affectionate. Apparently he didn't want Alex to feel that his less than overjoyed reaction had affected how much he loved his long-distance father-figure. Alex, apart from being more than happy to accept even more little-boy smelling hugs, was incredibly touched.

It was during one of these hugs that Scott smiled cutely (still being a nine year-old child, after all, and not adverse to a little manipulation) and looked pleading. "Star Wars?"

"I suppose so." Hell, he'd be the first to admit that a cute smile from an adorable blond would get just about anything out of him.

But Scott wasn't done yet. "If we can have Chinese food and sundaes and you let me play with your stuff you can invite what's-his-name too."


"Yeah, him." With all the beguile genes which had apparently come packaged with his X chromosome, Scott blinked huge blue eyes and looked angelic. "I promise I'll be nice. Please?"

"Okay, but if you make yourself sick you tell your mother that you were coming down with something when you left HER place, okay?"

"Deal." Scott vaulted off his lap and sprinted for the few coveted pieces of Star Wars merchandise that Alex kept because they'd probably be worth something someday, and he rather liked them.



"Going on another mission, suck-up?" Dani grinned.

"Nope. Alex wants me to meet Scotty while they do some father-son Star Wars marathon."

Roberto looked over the fridge door with an aggrieved expression. "I knew it! You've left me for another best friend!"

Grinning, Sam followed the act. "Bobby, you know Ah'd never replace you with anyone! You're mah best friend, honest. It's just that... well, Ah'm not sleeping with _you_, so Ah wouldn't have to impress your kids even if you had any."

Roberto processed that for a second, then shrugged. "Fairy. And why wouldn't you want to impress my kids? I'd have great kids!"

"You mean they'd be stuck up, self-important little da Costas instead of just unstable and dangerous like Summerses. Shorty."

"Is a comment on my height the best you can come up with?"

"Ah'm in a good mood. But Ah wasn't referring to your height." Sam ducked as Roberto threw a jar of peanut butter at his head.

Dani caught the jar with the ease of long practice. "Okay, catch up poor lost little me. Sam, since when did you like guys?"

"That's a kinda personal question, wouldn't y' say?"

"And not the important one." Julio looked repulsed. "Since when did you like _Summerses_?"

Sam knocked on the door confidently, waited a minute, then let himself in. He knew about children, and wasn't about to let himself be at all nervous or show anything other than complete confidence. They could smell fear.

Of course, he wasn't expecting Alex's son to ram into him as soon as he was two steps inside. Looking down, he decided it was probably due to the over-large stormtrooper helmet than actual aggression, and then couldn't resist the obvious line. "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?"

"I'm a Summers, I'll grow." The family resemblance was obvious as soon as he pulled the helmet off. The blond hair, large blue eyes and stubborn expression were all heart-warmingly familiar. Alex, Sam decided, must have been one hell of a cute kid. "How did you get in?"

"Ah've got a key." He decided not to mention that he'd only come in by the door out of politeness.

"Huh. Even Maddie doesn't have those."

"That's because Maddie doesn't USE keys. Telekinetics are pretty rude about that, I've come out first thing in the morning to find Cable sitting in my living room." Alex put down the lightsaber and made an attempt to look adult while he got his breath back. "Hi Sam."

Sam grinned. "Afternoon, Obi-Wan. Is there a Sith Lord in the kitchen, or am Ah safe to get a drink?"

Scott shrugged. "Magneto is the only one who does a really good Darth Vader, and the one in this universe doesn't wanna play."

"Scott... you ASKED the Magneto in this universe?" Alex had the calm sound of a parent who's gone into post-accident hysterical stress.

Frowning, Scott nodded. "Of course I did. He said he was too busy, but he was really nice about it... he suggested Cable, but I haven't actually met him so it would have been a bit funny."

"Figures." Sam laughed, then patted Alex calmingly on the shoulder. "Don't worry. Magneto likes kids in his own weird way, he probably thought it was funny."

"He did laugh a lot." Scott grinned. "I'll keep working on him, you haven't seen _nothin'_ until you've seen him say 'do not underestimate the power of the dark side'."

"I bet..."

"Uh, Scott, Ah think you're scaring Alex."

"He underestimates me a lot."

The faintly smug look on Scott's face seemed more than a little suspicious to Sam, although he was more than ready to believe the underestimation part. If this kid was anywhere near as devious as his cousins, he'd need quite a lot of careful watching.

And no sooner was that thought finished than Scott looked up and smiled a knowing, superior little smile before pattering off almost radiating innocence. "Time to order the food!"

_Whoops, forgot. Telepath._


_Guess so. Live with telepaths, but Ah'm still not used to people just answerin' my thoughts that way._ The polite hint was that Cable had better manners than to listen in the first place.

#Touchy... Anyway, I can't help it if you don't think quieter. I'm only a kid.#

Sam tried to think happy thoughts. _Happy thoughts, happy thoughts... puppies and food and absolutely not sex. Happy thoughts. The Hellfire Club as target practice? Naah, too violent. Fun, but violent._ A faint giggle from the other room showed he'd managed to get somewhere, and he smiled as he tightened his shields. _And boy am Ah lucky Ah like Star Wars..._

"I take it that he's not saying anything nasty, then?" Alex sighed. "He couldn't block people out at all for years, and still isn't very good at shielding. I tend to think that's because he doesn't really want to, he gets uncomfortable if he can't pick up at least basic emotions."

"He's just acting like a kid, and kids are something Ah know a fair bit about. Don't look so worried."

Alex stepped closer and slipped his arms around Sam's waist, resting his head comfortably against a convenient shoulder. "I'm not worried, I just know the kinds of things he tries to get away with while I'm not watching."

"See? All kids do that, 'Lex. It's part of the fun." Sam grinned and pulled Alex up for a quick hello kiss. Getting away with things while the kid wasn't watching was part of the fun as well.



When the started the marathon, Scott very quickly positioned himself in between the adults on the couch. Both of them noticed but pretended that they didn't. After changing the video and a quick bathroom break, he came back to Alex's lap.

Sam stretched out and enjoyed the extra space, reminding himself uncharitably that Scott was going home the next afternoon anyway. _Damn, Ah'm nearly as possessive as he is._ The thought got a grin out of him, and he held firmly to his sense of humour. If he didn't, he was just going to start taking it personally even though he knew it was stupid. _One of us has to be adult and mature here, and he's nine. Lord knows Ah'd probably act the same in his place._

And it was a cute picture. Alex and a near-perfect miniature, cuddled up together. And if Scott was clinging tightly it was because he _loved_ Alex. And Alex thought the sun shone out of him, so Sam was just going to have to Deal With It. And he did, right up until the landing on Cloud City, when he blinked and somehow forgot to open his eyes again.

When Sam woke up, Scott was sitting on the floor and avidly watching Luke Skywalker head towards his meeting with Emperor Palpatine. Alex had long since slid into naptime, and was resting rather awkwardly against one of his shoulders.

Still on automatic pilot, Sam turned a little and slid sideways. Alex ended up snuggled against his chest, where he muttered something about evil oranges and sighed contentedly before going still again. Sam grinned and went back to watching the movie, not only to take his mind off the horrible pins and needles in his arm. The last lightsaber duel between Luke and Darth Vader had always been a favourite scene.

Apparently Scott liked it too, he watched all of it avidly without moving a muscle. Hair and skin bleached by the cool light of imaginary weapons he looked almost like a little statue of a prepubescent godling, only the glittering eyes gave him away.

Sam patted Alex's hair absently. _Sweet kid, 'Lex. When he's not being a pain in the butt._

If he heard the thought Scotty was too absorbed to comment, and Sam politely thought quietly until the movie was over. Then Scotty sighed and flopped over, wriggling around until he was looking back. Sam waited silently while Scott looked at his father curled happily against another man, then made a formulaic face. "Eeew, gross." There was no venom behind it, though.

"Not unless he drools."

Scott grinned. "He never makes it to the end... and he's not gonna wake up, either. We should take him to bed."

"Good idea." Sam contemplated the problem of getting a rather large person off him and onto his feet, without disturbing him so much that he stopped looking cute.

This dilemma didn't both Scott at all, he'd done it before. "C'mon, Alex, time to go to bed..."

"Mlphkz. Don' wanna." Alex burrowed more firmly into Sam and frowned.

Wincing, Sam gave him a gentle push. "You have to. Go on, get up..."

Between the two of them, they managed to wake him up enough to get him onto his feet, whereupon Sam took responsibility for guiding him into the bedroom. "That's old people for ya, can't stay awake..."

Scott snorted. "You fell asleep too."

"Yeah, but Ah woke up again." Sam tugged the blankets over Alex, who was already asleep again, and stretched. "And Ah think Ah'll stay this way for a little while... Ice-cream, maybe. Want some?"

The little face tilted to one side and looked up assessingly. "I'm not supposed to eat ice-cream this late. And I already had some."

"Well, Ah'm allowed to eat it this late and as much as Ah like. And Ah can't really eat it in front of you and not let you have any, can Ah?"

"Nope." Grinning, Scott followed him to the kitchen. Anyone who supplied ice-cream in the early hours of the morning couldn't be all bad.

Alex woke up with a rude surprise. He had a blurry but definite memory that going to sleep had involved Sam, but now when he rolled over there was no Sam to snuggle against. In fact, he had far too much room to be sharing a bed with that chronic sprawler.

Rubbing his eyes grumpily, he also realized that he was wearing far too many clothes to be sharing a bed with Sam. Then again, according to his not-entirely-reliable alarm clock it was nine in the morning. Too late for Sam to be in bed. Well, in bed and _sleeping_.

_Damn morning people._ Alex wasn't a morning person, but despite taking any attempt to get him up before eight as a personal affront he seemed to be surrounded by them. _Matt is, both Scotts are, Sam is..._ He paused. There was something important in there that he'd missed. _Scott and Sam are both morning people. I'm not. They'll be up and perky. I'm not. They're up and perky together... and neither of them woke me up._ That was unusual enough to make him worry, and with an impressively selfless effort he heaved himself vertical.

Opening the bedroom door allowed the sounds of the argument to reach him. Alex winced and stumbled faster, then the actual words started to reach his muzzy mind. "You're _cheating_." Tenor voice and southern accent despite the childish words.

"I can't help it, so it's not cheating!"

Alex looked into the room cautiously, then blinked. Sam and Scott were sitting on the floor, which was even messier than it had been the night before, even though he'd have sworn that wasn't possible. And they were playing cards.

Since he was facing the right way, Scott spotted him first. "Finally! How much sleep do old people _need_?"

"Far too much." Sam grinned. "Good morning."

"Like you can talk..." Still muzzy and more than a little confused, Alex sat down heavily.

"Sam woke up at _six_."

"Because some little snot came and leapt on the bed, which scared me but didn't even get his father to twitch."

"And he didn't even swear at me or anything." Scott smirked. He'd learned some truly fascinating words when he woke Alex up in the early hours, it had taken days to find out what some of them meant.

"Which Ah thought was pretty impressive, considering Ah didn't manage to get you into bed until four."

Scott shrugged. "You shouldn't have given me ice-cream then. It makes me hyper."

"Ah'll remember that next time. And it's your turn, so hurry up."

"I'm going to win, you know." Scott looked quite certain. "Sure you don't want to quit now and save yourself the embarrassment?"

"Just play, Scott."

"Okay, okay. Look I'll give you a hint." Scott looked at the neat stack of card next to the discard pile. "The next one's a five."

"But Ah don't want a five."

"No, you want a ten and I've got them all. So suffer." Scott looked thoughtfully at his hand, then tossed down a three. "I _told_ you I was going to win."

"Fine then, we'll play another game." Sam smiled innocently. "You'll still have an advantage, but... have you ever played a game called 'speed', Scott?"

"Oh dear," Alex said mildly to the fern. He HAD played speed and, more importantly, had seen Sam play it. For the first time in a short life, Scott might well get a good run for his money. Of course there was no way he'd stand for that, and the game had a tendency to be addictive...



Several hours later the room was still a mess, but there was one less person in it.

"Ah warn you now, Ah'm not gonna help you clean up. Your kid, your home, your mess."

"That's okay. I don't think I'm going to clean up either." That would have meant leaving the exhausted tangle they'd fallen into after Scott had left, and Alex was fairly sure that he didn't have the energy. So they stayed in comfortable silence for a few minutes until Sam spoke again.

"He took that pretty well, didn't he?"


Sam frowned. "Actually, for a little kid that was pretty damn amazing. Ah was expecting him to hate me for YEARS."

"You missed the early bit." Alex slid over and rested his head in Sam's lap. Thinking about it brought back the first horrible reaction, that there was something wrong with his baby that he couldn't fix. "He was a bit shocked and all, but he really made an effort, except that... he said 'this means you and mom really aren't going to get back together again'. And then he cried. Christ, Sam... I never thought it would hurt him that much. And I couldn't just tell him it was all going to be okay because it _isn't_. Not like that. It's a miracle that Madelyne and I don't _hate_ each other..."

Sam played idly with Alex's hair as he thought. "Ah can't tell you it's all going to work out this way either."

"I know. That's when you have to grow up, isn't it? When you find out that someone can't make it all alright again just because you want them to." He sighed. "You don't have to fix anything for me, Sam, these aren't your problems. If you could just stick around so I don't go absolutely nuts, that's just fine."

Sam smiled. "Ah don't plan on going anywhere."

"Good." Alex found a hand to hold onto and kissed it absently. "You know, it's kind of embarrassing the way you act more adult than I do. I am older than you, after all..."

"Yeah, but Ah had to grow up earlier than you did."

"True. I avoided it for quite a while, I don't think I really wanted to."

"It's not all it's cracked up to be."

"No. So let's stop thinking about it, it's depressing."

"You're right, we should be happy. Scott didn't absolutely hate me, which is a good thing. And Ah actually thought he was kinda cute, for a Summers."

Alex laughed softly and closed his eyes. "Why are people always picking on my family?"

"Because it's so damn easy."

"Bite me."

"Can't. You're all the way down there, and Ah said Ah wasn't movin'."

"Which means I can bite _you_. So there."

"Oh yeah, you're an adult..."

"Blow me."

"Ah repeat, you're all the way down there and Ah'm not moving..."

"I could make you come with me and meet my grandparents, you know."

"Ah could make you spend the weekend with mah family. Consider yourself lucky."

"True. Damn, all the stuff with Scott, I forgot... there are a few other people I should probably tell before X-Force decides to spread it."

"Alex, they've had almost twenty-four hours already. You'd better hurry up, _Sinister_ will know by tomorrow."

"That won't be a good thing, you know. He's rather attached to the idea of all Summerses reproducing early and often, he might take it personally."

Exactly what Sam suggested Sinister could do with that idea probably wasn't physically possible and certainly shouldn't be repeated.



Despite Sam's assurances of X-Force's gossiping capabilities, there were still a few people Alex felt he should say something to directly. Even if it was over the phone or, in the case of his father, an extremely brief and slightly pointed email which would probably bounce around outer space for around six months or so before actually finding him. That done, he moved on to the next easiest.

Madelyne took all confessions in her stride, even when Alex supplied extra detail just to see if it would get a reaction. "'Lex, I'm a telepathic astral ghost. I know sexual tension when it smacks me around."

"Point." Alex untangled his keys from the phone cord without wondering how on earth they'd managed to get that way in the first place. "So, what's new with you?"

"Um... well, I do have a little confession. Just an itsy bitsy one."

The more itsy-bitsy Madelyne said something was, the more important it was. Being taken over by a demon, for instance, hadn't even rated a mention. Returning from the dead was hardly worth interrupting your busy life for. "Spill."

"I think I'm turning villainish again. Not completely, but a bit."

"Just a bit evil."

"I never said EVIL. I was thinking more like Robin Hood. Rip off the rich and corrupt, give to the deserving. Meaning me, mostly. And maybe some other stuff?"

"Other stuff. What brought this on?"

Madelyne groaned. "Domino told me how much money she used to earn. I nearly died."

Alex grinned. "I should have figured... your kid's friends are a bad influence on you."

"Influence shminfluence. Can you imagine how many cars I could buy with that much money?" She sighed gustily. "And I saw this _beautiful_ Harley Davidson yesterday. It was black and RED, with the softest leather seats and so shiny..."

"You've got to be the only woman I know who gets obsessed over anything pretty with a motor." He laughed.

"I am not. The rest of them just don't tell their gay friend all about it."

"I'm not gay."

"And I'm not obsessed. I'm in LOVE." Madelyne purred. "Shiiiiiny..."

"Maddie, you know I love you, but being a villain again? No matter how pretty the bike is..."

"I'm not going to try to take over the world or anything. Nope, those days are behind me. But it's my life, and high time I started doing something I enjoyed with it." Another sigh. "When you quit heroing, I didn't think it was because you were taking a job as my conscience."

"Given the way you act, being your conscience isn't a job -- it's a vocation."

"If God's got something to say about the way I act, he can say it in person instead of trying to work through my ex. At least, if he expects me to _listen_." Her voice went childlike, and he could almost see her twisting her hair around one finger. "I told you because I figured you'd understand... we're supposed to still be friends."

"Don't try the little-girl routine on me, Maddie."

"But you're just keeping an eye on me so I don't do anything wicked again," Madelyne continued, an artful catch in her voice. "I needed to talk to _someone_..." She paused. "Did it work that time?"

"Not a bit."

"Hmph. One of these days I'll get you, 'Lex. Just wait."

"I live in fear of the day, Maddie." He glanced up at the clock and swore mentally. "Look, I have to go if I'm going to catch Scott before he goes to bed... Take care of yourself, okay? Don't do anything just to prove a point."

"Same to you, sweetheart."

It took several minutes to psych himself up to calling his brother. He loved Scott, he really did, but the man was far too conservative. And unlike their father, who's reaction Alex didn't really care much about because the bastard was never around anyway, what Scott thought counted. It shouldn't, not that much, but it did. So he dialed the number and started to plan the most casual way to work it into conversation that he could.

But it wasn't Scott who answered, it was Jean, although for the first few seconds he wasn't sure if it was the actual woman or a message she'd left on the machine. "Hi, this is Jean. If the world is ending, I don't want to hear about it. If you've discovered the third Summers brother, I REALLY don't want to hear it. And if one of our other teams has got themselves into trouble again, it's their own damn fault and they can just think about that until tomorrow. Still there?"

"Hi Jean."

"Sorry about that, Alex." She sounded rather cheery, despite the list of things she didn't want to know. "It's been one of those nights, I'm really starting to think you might have the right idea."

"Oh, I know I do. I feel better than I have for years."

"That's good. Maybe Scott and I should try retiring again." Then she chuckled. "Speaking of retiring and couples and you feeling happy... care to admit that that rumour I heard after dinner is true?"

"That fast?"

"I'm the X-people den-mother, Alex. I know all." Then she laughed again. "Mostly because Bobby tells me, I admit. I have no idea how he does it, though."

"He's naturally nosy."

"Should I take that as a confession, then?"

"Depends on what exactly he said. I know Bobby too well to just say 'yes'."

"Damn. Okay, put it this way... is it true that you and Sam have been, and I quote Bobby here, making like friendly monkeys and climbing each other's trees?" She positively cackled as he choked on that. "Knew that'd get a rise out of you. And yes, if you were physically present I'd be nudging you in the ribs and winking madly."

Alex laughed, it was the only sane choice. "I keep forgetting that... _earthy_ side to your personality."

"Little old me who spent all her formative years around teenage males? Pure as the driven snow."

"Driven on by what?"

"Best not to ask. But seriously, Alex... if it's making you happy, I'm happy for you."

"Thanks, Jean."

"You're welcome. I think it's pretty cute, myself."

"What does Scott think?"

"I don't know. Why don't you tell him and see?"

"Oh, I can think of quite a few reasons. But I'll do it anyway." He grinned. If Jean thought it was cute he was doing well already.

"Hey, he managed when it turned out that Cable was Nathan Christopher. I think he can deal with something as mundane as that. Stop worrying so much about what he thinks of you."

"You first."

"Hey it's different for me, I'm married to him. Which means be gentle, because if he tosses and turns all night it's going to keep me awake and then you might seem less cute."

"Well, just in case... make sure Bobby knows that Cable and Domino knew days before he did, and one of my friends knew before _I_ did, so he's not as clever as he thinks he is."

"Ooh. I'll enjoy that, thank you. And since Scott walked in a minute ago and is now looking at me funny, I'm going to hand you over."

"Okay. Jean?"



"You're welcome. Take care of yourself, Alex." There was a rustling sound and an imperious order. "Scott, come and talk to your brother."

Some more scuffling, and the voice at the end of the line changed. "Alex?"

"Hi Scotty. How's life?"

"Not too bad. Got tossed around by Exodus last week, but Magneto assured us it was just because he was 'feeling needy and wanted some attention'. I should have guessed by the way I only got a mild concussion, except that I was concussed so I wasn't much good at thinking."

"Are you okay?" That was the downside of becoming 'normal'. People he cared about kept getting into trouble, and now he didn't even hear about it until after it was all over, let alone run out and help.

"Fine. I've got a very thick skull, you know that." The grin was evident in his voice. "How about you? Enjoying being a student again?"

"Yeah, I am. I can't believe I forgot how much I love this stuff. Then again, I forgot all sorts of other things which I'm now having to relearn. Trying to keep track of our family tree and all the villains who just won't stay dead must have written over it."

"Don't bother. The only person who understands our family tree is Cable, and I'm not entirely sure he's not just faking it as part of his whole enigma routine. But you can't blame me for that anymore, running off and having kids in an alternate universe is just as bad as anything I've done."

"I didn't _have_ him in an alternate dimension, he was already there."

"See? Now you have a vague idea of how I feel. When a middle-aged version with identical-triplet children of his own leaps out of nowhere and demands you understand, then you'll be closer."

"Please don't say things like that, Scott."

"Oh, it'll happen. Or something worse. And at least one of those triplets is going to be evil, you know that."

"That's it. Next time he visits I'm banning him from ever reproducing. Should be pretty easy to get him to promise now, he still thinks girls are icky."

"He's nine, right? If Nathan's anything to go by, I'd say you've got... a year and a half at most."

"Ouch. Maybe I should stop taking him to visit Luna, then."

"Thought you said he was still in the 'girls have cooties' stage."

"Oh, he is, it makes watching them entertaining. But it's good for them. They don't get to play with many other kids their own age who aren't going to be freaked by their family background, and that's usually enough to stop them getting too nasty to each other."

There was a pause. "We're talking each other about our children. Alex, when did we get old and turn into those horrible people who insist on showing everyone baby pictures?"

"Hey, pictures I don't do." His traitorous eyes slid over to the three in the kitchen, then back again. "Well, I don't _make_ anybody look. And Cable gets annoyed when you show people all those ones of him naked."

"You think that's good, you should see the long-suffering expression he has when we get to the one of him breastfeeding."

"I... haven't seen that one."

"They were in the bath. It's a rather private picture, not for general consumption. But Jean decided he was getting a bit too... what did you call it?"

Jean's voice didn't sound very far away at all. "Me Chosen One, you peasant."

"Yeah, that. So she went through the entire album and made him look."

"You married a rather cruel woman, Scott."

"But cruel in a fun way."

"That was so much something I didn't want to think about I just don't have words. Just for that I'm going to have to tell you about me and Sam." It had been too good an opening to pass up.

There was a very long pause before Scott tentatively spoke again. "You're joking, aren't you?"

"Nope. Deadly serious."

"Sam Guthrie?"


"Oh." He coughed. "That's, um..."

"You're allowed to be surprised, Scott. I know _I_ was."

"Okay, I'm surprised. And I'm not quite sure exactly what to say."

"Say that I'm your brother and you love me anyway."

"That goes without saying, Alex."

"And it's amazing how long you can go without saying it." That sounded horribly catty, but it was true. They rarely managed to be very communicative.

"Fine. You're my brother and I love you anyway."

"That's all I needed to hear, Scotty. Thank you."

"Actually, there's something else."

Alex winced. Scott still sounded a bit... shocked. "What?"

"Thanksgiving. Alaska. Apparently, we must bring Nathan and Scott or die in the attempt."

"Okay. I'll ask Madelyne, she should be okay with that."

"Dad might even be there, Scott could actually meet his grandfather."

"That might be a sign of Armageddon."

"Don't be so hard on him, Alex. He's just... okay, he's not much of a father. But he's what we've got, and he does care about us."

"Scott, he didn't make it to your _wedding_."

"I know. I think maybe that was his way of saying that he didn't approve of what happened with Madelyne."

Alex winced again, but this time at the genuine regret and guilt in his brother's tone. "Hey, I didn't approve either, but I still went. I just made fun of you a lot." He waited for a minute. "Are you sure you're okay with it, Scott? You still sound a bit funny... I can deal with it if you want to ask me something, you know."

"No... no, I don't think so. It's your life, Alex."

"Okay. Um... if you're going to go, could you put Jean back on for a minute?"

"Sure. I'll talk to you later, then. See you at thanksgiving?"

"With bells on."

A few moments of silence, which Alex accurately guessed was full of telepathy, then Jean returned. "Yes, o brother-in-law of mine?"

"Is he going to be okay?"

"Sure. He's a bit surprised, it'll take him a little while to work it out to himself. But he will, don't worry."

"Sorry if he keeps you awake."

"I'm sure I'll think of something distracting."

"Weren't you eavesdropping when I talked about things I don't need to imagine?"

A wicked little laugh was his only answer.

Part 4

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