Disclaimer: Marvel's not mine. If Scott was mine there would never have been an evil clone of his true love, Nathan would be his and Jean's son and never would have gotten the TO virus or been sent to the future, and he'd spend A LOT more time shirtless. :-)

Notes: This my first attempt at writing a POV fic so go easy on me.

by Mickey

I love you wife.

What the Fuck was I thinking?

Yeah, I know. Good ole, steel rod up his ass, Boy Scout, Scott Summers doesn't curse. So sue me. After spending six months sharing my body and mind with a six thousand year old manic mutant bent on world domination I think I have earned the right to be a little... bitchy.

Back to the point. I can't believe I actually said that to her. I regretted it the moment the words left my lips. I could feel her surprise and hurt through our link, even though I have only allowed it to reopen just a little. I could feel it, but I didn't even try to take it back or apologies. I heard her crying later that night. I didn't do anything then either. Or on any of the many other nights I've heard her cry herself to sleep. I don't sleep in our room anymore. I sleep on the couch. Partly because I don't sleep much anymore and I don't want to wake her with my tossing and turning and constantly getting up. Mostly, I afraid of what might happen if she startles me while I'm sleeping.

Sam and Nathan came to the mansion to visit about two weeks ago. Sam was sitting to my right at the kitchen table a few days ago. I was sort of off in another world, not really seeing or hearing what was going on around me. When Sam reached in front of me to get the sugar, I moved like lightning grabbing him around the neck and damn near snapping it. Sam gasped and that snapped me out of it. I immediately let him go. I think I even scarred Nathan. He jumped up and came to Sam's side. I starred at him. He opened his mouth to say something then clamped it shut, helped Sam up, and left the kitchen. He's still here, but I haven't seen him or Sam since. I'm surprised, and very relieved, that I didn't kill him. Contrary to what some believe, Sam is only invulnerable when he is blasting. Being immortal, he wouldn't have actually stayed dead, but it still hurts when he dies. Hurts when he comes back too. I asked him once shortly after Sauron killed him.

I think I scare Logan too. Or at least unnerve him. He doesn't know how to deal with a Cyclops he can't goad anymore. Or one who can sneak up on him. We've been friends for a while now, but he still takes every opportunity he can to get my goat. Or he did. Now he avoids me. When I was younger I thought it would be cool to be able to scare the Wolverine. As I got to now him over the years I came to realize that very few things scare Logan. The though that I scare him now should scare me. It doesn't. I've taking a somewhat sadistic pleasure in it.

I've been so cold to her lately. To the others too. I thought I was free of him. Free of the evil I could feel spreading through my mind like a wildfire. I thought the taint was gone when Jean pulled his essence from me and Nathan ran his psimiter through him. I'm not. I can still feel Apocalypse. I can still feel the hate that entwined itself with my soul.

Jean is worried about me. So are the others. I hear them talk. They think I can't, but I can. They think Apocalypse didn't really die, that he fooled Nathan, Jean and I, that he is still in me. Maybe they're right. Maybe Apocalypse fooled us all and he is still inside me. It would certainly explain a lot. Now I know how Warren felt. Apocalypse corrupts all that is good in you. He take your hopes and dreams and crushes them while he magnifies and feeds off your fears and anger.

A few of them think that I've simply gone off the deep end, that I couldn't handle my ordeal and lost my mind. I guess that's possible too. I once heard Emma say that I was colder than Bobby in his ice form. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

The truth is I feel cold. Inside. When I first got home I spent a lot of time in front of our fireplace. I also drank more hot chocolate in that first week than I have my whole life. Jean kept giving me weird looks, but she made it when I asked. Even at three in the morning. I took a lot of hot showers too. I mean hot as in my skin was bright red and tender to the touch when I was finished. I could feel Jean's worry trickling through our link. Which, I guess, shows just how worried she was because I was totally blocking her at that time. My shields have become much stronger, much to Jean's chagrin, since my return from the dead. It's part of the reason I stopped. Only a small part, honestly. I also just got sick of hot chocolate. The main reason though, is that I came to realize that the cold I felt had nothing to do with the weather.

I think I know how Warren felt, now. Jean must have sensed my line of though on that because she has been dropping hints about it for a few weeks now. Maybe I will. If I can ever get him alone for more than five minutes. Betsy's death hit him much harder than I though it would. I should have realized it would hurt him like it has. Warren has been one of my best friends since I was sixteen. Just because you break up with someone, doesn't mean you don't love that person anymore. I know. Hell, I should be more affected than I am. She was a member of this team, of the family. The truth is, the whole Crimson Dawn thing still urkes me. Even after all this time. She became a lot more brutal, ruthless, afterwards. She tried to seduce me at a time when I was more vulnerable than I'll ever admit to being. I ran like a scared little boy. I hated her for that. I thought I was over it. But then, there are a lot of things I though I was over, old anger that I can feel rising again.

Jean is watching me again as I work on the Blackbirds landing gear, a caught a glimpse of her earlier. She used to watch me work occasionally. Never as much as she does now. At first I think it was just to reassure herself that I was actually here and okay. Mostly. Now, I think she's afraid I might hurt myself. Or someone else. I'll never forget the look on her face that morning in the kitchen. For the first time since we meet, she was afraid, not for me but of me. My task finally complete, I put my tools away and clean up my work area. I've always been a stickler for putting things back where they belong. Some things never change.

I'm ready to leave the hanger now and I pretend I don't see her, though she's come into the open. I've been avoiding her for over two weeks now. Even to the point where I've been sleeping on the couch. This time, however, she isn't going to let me off as easy as she has been. She asks, no begs me to talk to her. To let her in. I tell her there's nothing to talk about. I try to side step and go around her but she gets in front of me again. I curse, tell her to let me handle this, that there's nothing she can do. I lie and tell her I don't need or want her help. The truth is I don't want her in my head because I'm afraid of what she'll think of me if she sees the things I did and though and felt while I was merged with Him, and after. She isn't buying it and refuses to move. I can feel her presence in my mind and I try to force her out. She doesn't let me. Instead she sends reassurance and love through our link.

I can feel the anger rising in me. That scares me and I lash out. I threw up a mental brick wall that makes her stagger than push past her. By the time I reach the door I'm running as fast as I can. I can hear her sobbing, but I don't stop until I reach the lake. I stare at the lake for what seems like forever, though it's been less than an hour, before I finally move. My reaction in the hanger scares me more than I want to admit. I walk to the boathouse slowly. I feel like a kid again. Not knowing what to do and afraid of what the future will bring. Afraid of my indifference to what's been happening to my family, to me.

I reach the boathouse and head up to the bathroom. I need a shower. I know now that I can't wash away what that monster has done, but I can wash away the grease and the sweat. I shower and dress quickly. I see Jean on the couch, eyes red from crying, and I want to go to her but I don't. I walk past her as if she isn't there and head for the mansion.

I'm losing control and I don't like it. I know something has to be done. I can't handle this. Not on my own. As I walk into the living room a picture in the far corner catches my eye. I walk over to the small stand it sits on and pick it up. Than I go to the couch and sit. It's an old photo, taken shortly after Jean's miraculous return from the dead. We're all smiling. Even a stranger can see the genuine joy in our faces. I wipe off the dust. It's been in that corner for a long time. Time to find a new home for it. I walk over to the fireplace and put it on top. It's a good reminder for all of us, of happier times. I flinch as Jean comes up behind me and wraps her arms around my waist, leaning her head on my back. This time, though, I don't even try to pull away.

I since the questions in her thoughts, but I'm not ready to talk yet. She's disappointed, but she understands. She's content just holding me as we stand and stare at the picture, the fire warming us. My hair was still wet when I walked over here and the fire feels good on my chilled skin. We stand like that until my hair is almost dry before we finally move to the couch. Jean falls asleep almost immediately. I'm still looking at the picture.

I need to have a long talk with Jean tomorrow. I think I'll call Warren in the morning, I need to talk to him first. I know Jean will understand. I have to talk to him about what I went though, what he went through. Even though it was a long time ago and his natural feathers are back, I know it still affects him. It's about time we talked about Betsy too. I know what he's going through and I won't let him deal with it the way I did. I also need to have a long talk with the Professor. I need some time away from everything. Time to think. Time to rest. It's time I starting acting like a husband, friend, father, and leader. I pray It's not to late to show my son that I do love him, that I always have. And it's time I stopped hiding behind a mask of masculine pride. Maybe than I can truly be free of Apocalypse. As I look at the faces of the people who have been my family since I was a teen, I realize that I will never truly be alone. As I drift off to sleep, the cold starts to fade.

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