Lesser Evil

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Sometimes I hate having enhanced senses.

I can hear Jeannie crying into her pillow in the room across the hall. I know it'd end in violence if I tried to comfort her now. Turns out those damn attacks she was suffering from weren't caused by Charlie screwing with her brain to keep his little teacher's pet happy. Her powers were evolving, the mental shields Weapon X torturously erected in my mind don't work that well when it comes to her. I wasn't counting on that.

Hell, I never meant to hurt her. I love her. I've never loved another person before in my life... At least not that I've been allowed to remember. She loved me too, I knew that, I could see it, smell it, sense it. She may be able to fool herself, but I know how she reacts to the Boy Scout and how she reacts to me, I know which one of us she wants, which one gets her hot and bothered. I know she's not a whole lot more than a kid and I was willing to wait, to let her figure out for herself what I already knew, but Charley cheated me. The Boy Scout worships the ground she walks on, he couldn't take it when she chose me, so he left. We all know it's true, sure he was mad at Charley and upset about McCoy getting hurt, but the day Jeannie gave in to her attraction to me is the day he left.

After that everything hit the fan. I had to tell Jeannie the truth. Okay I didn't handle it so well, should of waited till after I'd carved up Mags to tell her I switched sides, handing her his heart as proof of where my loyalties lay would've been nice. Still we were getting past that, she was starting to understand where I was coming from, to forgive me for why I came to the X-Men in the first place. Still I did screw up and it was my own fault she gave Scotty-boy another chance. I wasn't worried, the little wimp had had a year and a half to make his move and he'd never gotten up the nerve to do it. Jeannie's not the kind of girl to wait around forever pining like some kid with a crush. She's not the type to be satisfied with a milk-toast sop who probably intends on staying virgin till he's got a ring on her finger. I've been with her, I know he can't satisfy her; I could afford to wait until she learned that.

Then the rug got pulled out from underneath me. Jean changed. She took the lead with him. She started wanting someone to make her feel safe and protected, coddled, when before she wanted to spread her wings and fly. He was stifling her and suddenly she wanted that. It didn't make sense, `less you paid heed to rumors that Charley was playing with our heads. Not mine, he's strong, the strongest `path on the planet I hear tell, least till Jeannie got her Phoenix thing going on, but not strong enough to get into my head. Then it all made sense. And guess what? About the same time Jeannie starts having her attacks. It all made sense, she's a `path herself, screwing with her head shouldn't be easy, but she trusted Charley, let him in her mind. I figured at some level she knew better, she knew the score, and the episodes were her body's way of rebelling against what was being done to her. The timing was right, the pieces fit, it made sense.

I thought about finishing what I came there to do and killing Charley, but I couldn't do it. Not even for Jeannie, I couldn't do it. He's got this dream that bigger than us, something besides bloodshed and hate, something so grand I can't even imagine it. Weapon X tortured anything resembling hope out of me, but Charley, he could make you believe when he talked. He could dream for the whole world. Without him I didn't know if that dream could ever come true. With him gone now, maybe it's gone too. Maybe there's nothing let for it but to fight until the world's scared enough to leave us be or until it kills us, but Jeannie still dreams and I try to see the dream in her the way I saw it in him. Charley, he believed sure and strong, so convinced you could almost see it over the horizon. Jeannie, she's all full of doubts, she puts on a good face but they're there. Damn, even now I don't know how we're going to make it without him, not without falling into the sort of hopeless surviving I'm so good at but's hardly worth the bother.

That left the Boy Scout, the teacher's pet... No Scott, no reason for Charley to be keeping Jeannie and I apart anymore. Callus, hell yeah, I can't stand the little prick, but he does try. He tries so freaking hard, even tried reaching out to me, tried to make me feel more welcome, even when we both knew I was going to get the girl he dreamed about. Hell I didn't want to kill him, but something had to be done to stop Jeannie's hurting. Sometimes problems don't have neat, nice solutions. You pick the lesser evil, you do what you have to and you live with it. It was either Scott or the Professor.

I didn't know this Phoenix crap was anything more than Jeannie's reaction to having her mind messed with. Sometimes you don't have the luxury of waiting for all the answers to be handed to you. You act on what you know, take your best guess at filling in the gaps and if you were wrong you pick up the pieces as best you can afterwards.

I made my choice; all that was left was implementing it without ticking off the rest of the team. They're tough kids, they've all lived through one hell or another, but they aren't me. They aren't that hardened. Lucky them. They couldn't know what I was planning, it couldn't look like I set out to kill him, it'd destroy something precious in them. I tried to make my chance then fate just handed it to me. Of course I took it.

I never counted on Jeannie being able to see into my mind. I never counted on her being alone, having to cope with the death of someone she thought she loved, or maybe feeling guilt cause she knows I did it for her. She's right, I only know one way to change things and it isn't pretty. I did what I did for her. I couldn't stand to see her hurting like that, thinking she was losing her mind. I believed I was protecting her, saving her from that. I never meant to hurt her, but I did and there's no way to escape that, no way to fix that. I hate this, this whole thing, this helplessness, their naivety, my mistakes, all of it. I hate it all.

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