Between the Darkness and Light

by Talya Firedancer

Part Seventeen

The room emptied out around him, and then there were none. Almost every person departing took the time to say something in passing, some word or phrase that went past him like water down the drain. It was only a comfort for those that spoke it. Scott heard the words but they would not resolve into any semblance of sense. He stood, holding firm to the grip of his cane, wondering if anyone realized his eyes were closed.

Someone gripped the handle of the door, working it, but declined to close the door behind them when they left. Scott stood immobile, his ribs beating a tattoo of pain against his side, and the silence of the room enclosed him. Nevertheless, he knew he wasn't alone.

"Are you sure you don't want to reconsider?" Scott asked of the room, stolid and drained of emotion. The cut, when it came, had come from a direction he hadn't expected. If he picked over the events of the past couple of years, though, Storm's turning on him made sense. Ever since her first solo mission she'd been seeking a point position more and more.

"Nah," Logan's gruff voice answered after a moment. "Don't think I had anything better to do right now, anyhow."

The corners of Scott's mouth lifted in a humorless smile. Some other time, perhaps, he might overanalyze it. What drove Logan to stay? What had driven Logan to speak up for him? Right now, though, he had nothing left.

And everything.

He would give away some of Xavier's things in his role as executor, and then the bulk of the remainder was his. The wealth, the jet, the mansion and grounds, the school...everything. He'd come a long way from that orphan in Colorado with nothing but a jettisoned parachute and crying younger brother to his name.

"All right," he said, accepting Logan's offer without a word of thanks. They weren't going to call it even, and that was fine by him. "Well, I've got work to do." He opened his eyes.

Logan stood by the window, half-turned with his arms crossed over his chest, head turned toward the grounds. "Slim," he said.

Scott waited, unmoving.

"It's not going to be easy," Logan warned him.

Scott barely cracked a smile. "Nothing worth it ever is," he said, quiet, and turned to make his painful way from the room.