Disclaimer: Everybody here belongs to marvel, I'm not making any money. Don't sue me, ya know. The usual.
First, I'd like to thank everybody who sent me feedback on one of the other stories I posted recently ("Shopping for the girls") Ya know who ya are! Feedback is of course, welcomed. MSTing is fine, long as I get a finished copy. (And See, I wasn't too tired to forget all this stuff this time, JB! ::Grins::)

A Penny For Your Thought
by Paul Hamrick

Penny for your thoughts? Sometimes, I thought that sounded almost appropriate for some of our old times. How long has it been? Five, maybe six years since I last spoke to them, alive that is. Hmm, memories do have that problem, sneaking up when you least expect them to. I wonder if Scott would believe how much I've grown up in this short time. Probably not, he was always the leader, head-honcho. Never fall back, never be behind. That was Scott Summers. God, I'd give anything to see his annoying face again.

He knelt down, pulling a few stray weeds from a grave. "You'd think they could manage to take better care of you guys, Jean." He spoke out loud, to no one in particular. "So, how has everything been? Scott's behaving, I hope." He gave a small, wry smile. "I'm sorry I missed your birthday,thing's have been hectic lately. "

I can still remember the day it happened, almost like it happened yesterday. Jean had gone out shopping for a few things; she was gone about an hour when the mutant riot started. Naturally, the media had to be there, televising the whole thing like a Pay-Per-View wrestling event. Trish Tilby was our line-by-line announcer. He closed his eyes, a few tears slipping down his tanned cheeks. "You just couldn't wait, could you Jean? Of course not, you'd say. You were an X-Man, that was your job."

"I can still remember the shocked look on Trish's face when you showed up. Not as much as the look on Scott's, mind you. I think he made a record for getting the team up and into the Blackbird. Of course, it didn't do much good. We didn't know the terrorists, or their powers. You lasted a whole 15 minutes against them, Jeannie. You did well, real well; but nobody knew they had a member on their team who could negate other mutants' powers. Nor did we know they had a penchant for killing."

He slowly stroked his hand across the marble tombstone, reading the inscription out loud to himself like he has every time. "Jean-Grey Summers, 1968 ~ 2002. Loving wife and mother. Dedicated friend." He slowly wiped at his eyes, trying to keep back the tears that threatened to come forth. Slowly, he moved himself over to the tombstone beside him.

"Scott, it's been awhile hasn't it? I know, you always said I was the slacker. I made it though, just like I said I would." He shook his head, letting his memories spring forth like the reckless scene they were. Scott took Jean's death worse than anyone could have imagined, not like he actually talked about it. No, he did a 'Colossus'. Locked his feelings right up, along with locking himself in the boathouse. Personally, I think he tried to commit suicide. I just don't think he could ever bring himself to do it. Perhaps it would have been better if he had, because as it seems nature chose him for death. Scottie contracted a strain of Legacy Virus-3 almost a year to the day of Jean's murder.'

His eyes strayed down to the granite stone, taking in every detailed inscription. 'Scott Summers, 1966 ~ 2003. Dedicated Husband and father. Loyal friend.'

His gaze moved down to a tombstone a few rows back, standing and slowly easing himself over. He smiled, for the briefest of moments as tears forged by memories streamed down his cheeks. "Hey Hank, how's my favorite blue sofa doing? I brought you your favorite; a Twinkie, fresh from the store." Laying the cream-filled contraption down, he searched through his memories of his long lost friend. Hank, I suppose you really were my only and true best friend. The guy I could talk to anything about, who even would come swimming just so I could watch your blue fur clog up the drain. I miss you my friend, I really do. In the end, your work killed you.

He sighed, looking down at his watch. Not much time left. Turning his attention back to his friend, he continued. 'You spent weeks pushing yourself harder when Scott got sick, but it wasn't enough. Legacy-3 was a killer, and Scott died 4 months after he contracted it. The worse news came after his death though. It seems, true to its nature that Legacy had mutated again. Enough to make it about as contagious as the flu when the victim enters his last days. Of course, our resident Dr. Hank McCoy had to be on call at all times, not letting anybody else around. And that's how it was, for the next four months. I remember the last thing you said to me, Hank. "Above all else, you could make me laugh, my friend. I shall miss you." He softly patted the stone, standing slowly. Brushing the dust away, he took one last look. 'Hank McCoy, Brilliant Doctor, Will be forever missed.'

He looked up towards the blue sky, his thoughts drifting once again. 'Warren.. Nobody has seen Warren since Hank's funeral, most assume he died. Worthington Enterprises was taken over after the turn of the century, and that, I think, was the final blow to his already delicate psyche.

Looking around one final time, he wiped his eyes clear. "I shall miss you, my friends."

"Excuse me, Mr. Drake? It's time."

Bobby smiled lightly, Those nurses always did have bad timing. He turned, heading back towards the car. Leaning heavily on his cane. "Yes, of course. I'm coming. I just had to say good-bye to my friends. "

She smiled at him lightly, helping him to the car.

Whoever would have thought the Iceman would die of a broken heart? He sighed, leaning his head back against the leather headrest. Such as a penny for your thought.


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