Hurt & Comfort

Book 2: Circumstantially Hurt

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Chapter 17: Transcendental Facelift

"How are you doing Scott?" Jean asked with concern.

"I'm really alright." Scott answered honestly.

Jean could hear the truth in his words and couldn't help but ask, "How?"

"Andrew mostly." Scott said with a fond smile.

At her questioning look, he continued, "He made me see that I was obsessing over you partly because I was afraid to be alone. Jeanie, I love you... and I think I always will... but you were right. I'm not in love with you either. I wanted to be part of a couple; I was so afraid to be alone that I couldn't consider the possibility that I wasn't in love with you."

"But Andrew fixed that? How did he do it?" Jean asked, truly interested.

"He let me know that he would be my friend and I wouldn't be left alone. He and my brother, plus Xander all said that they would be there for me. And I know they meant it... they even asked me to move into the boathouse with them when we're all recovered." Scott finished with a smile.

"Xander?" Jean asked in confusion.

"Yeah, he's being examined by Doctor McCoy right now. He's from Andrew's dimension too." Scott said simply.

"I'm glad you've been able to accept this... I'm really surprised that you were able to accept it so quickly." Jean said honestly.

"I'd probably be alone and depressed for the next few weeks... or months... if it weren't for the professor making me talk to Andrew and Andrew telling me exactly what he thought about the situation." Scott said, a little shyly.

"So, do you think you're spoiled on relationships for a while or will you be out on the prowl again soon?" Jean asked with a hint of teasing in her voice.

"I've promised Andrew that I won't date anyone for one year... and I think he's right. I need to understand myself better before I think about getting into another relationship." Scott said seriously.

Jean nodded in agreement and comprehension.

"All I'm worried about now is the relationship between us Jean. Are we going to be okay?" Scott asked with caring showing through his voice and expression.

Jean thought about the question and a smile came across her face. "I think we're going to be fine. You've handled this better than I could have imagined. I didn't consciously realize it at the time, but your behavior was obsessive, and your probable reaction concerned me. Now that I don't have to worry about you going all suicidal or stalker on me, we can be the friends I think we were always meant to be." She said serenely.

Scott pushed himself out of the chair and walked to the bed to hug her.

There was a knock on the door. Jean and Scott turned as one to see Jubilee's head peek in the door. A moment later she withdrew and closed the door.

Scott could barely hear, "Okay, I owe you a dollar Andrew, how did you know?"

Scott began to laugh and made his way back to the wheelchair.

"Come on in guys." He called loudly enough for those in the hall to hear.

Everyone came into the room along with Xander, Remy, and Hank.

"So how did you check out?" Scott asked Xander and Remy.

"Neither man has been excluded from candidacy for an organ transplant thus far. I have reached the limit of my experience and must defer to Doctor Samuelson who will be here this afternoon." Hank said to the group.

Scott looked at Xander with a questioning look.

"We're fine. The next doc will decide if we get new eyes." Xander paraphrased.

Scott made an 'oh' face as the rest of the group seemed to relax at the news.

Xander, being his gregarious self, walked up to Jean's bed, leading Remy.

"I'm Xander Harris and this is Remy LeBeau." He said, extending a hand.

She shook his hand and then he led Remy to greet her.

Remy took her hand and kissed the back.

"A pleasure to meet you both." Jean said with surprise.

"Xander is from Andrew's dimension, Remy is from Alan's." Scott said informatively.

{We've got our very own dimensions.} Andrew whispered to Alan, yet everyone in the room heard.

Hank cleared his throat and got the attention of the occupants of the room.

"While I have you all here, I would like to see Scott, Alan, and Andrew in the examination room." Hank announced.

Scott shook his head at Jubilee, indicating that he would get there under his own power. The other men followed suit and the three men in wheelchairs paraded out of the room.

"What is it that makes them so special?" Jubilee asked the group who had fallen into silence.

"Their love." Xander said absently.

When he noticed that everyone was looking at him, he clarified. "They are each strong, loving, caring men. When they're together, they're complete. Whether they're lovers or brothers or friends doesn't matter. They empower each other and bring out the best that each has to offer."

"What about you?" Dawn asked, noticing that he hadn't included himself in that explanation.

"They're my friends and I love them all, but... I'm not a part of their special bond. Eventually I'll move on, but until then I'll enjoy every moment I can with those three. What they have is something special, something rare." Xander finished in awe.

"He's right. I'm so happy that Scott found those two. They've obviously helped him to grow and develop far more than he ever did with me." Jean said with happiness for Scott evident in her tone.

"You should have known Andrew before he met Scott. He was a jerky little guy. I couldn't stand to be in the same room with him because he was so awkward." Xander said to the group.

"Alan be so worried bout what other people tink, he don tink for himself. Gene be like de puppeteer, non?" Remy said.

"Mr. S. was all business. I didn't think he knew what fun was. A major stick-up-the-butt." Jubilee said.

"So, who's going to tell me the whole story of what I've missed in the past month?" Jean asked the group.

* * * * *

After a slightly more intensive examination than usual Hank announced to the group, "Gentlemen, as I had hoped, you're all recovering well. Your trip to the dining room this morning was what prompted me to check your conditions."

The men sat riveted to his words, each hoping that he would rescind the bedrest order.

"I believe you all three still need rest, but you no longer need the complete bedrest that I originally ordered. You have been upgraded from recovering to convalescing. As such, you will still need help for certain things such as walking any significant distance. But you will be able to take your meals in the dining room and come to the common room to watch a movie if you like." Hank said, receiving the pleased reaction he expected.

"Piotr, Bobby, and Kurt are currently in your room, removing Scott's bed and returning it to his room." Hank said and saw the men's expressions fall.

"In the place of Scott's bed, they are setting up a series of single beds so everyone will have their own place to sleep... though Andrew and Alan will be sharing Andrew's bed." Hank said with a smile.

"So, we're going to have three beds in the room?" Scott asked in confirmation.

"Four actually." Hank said and waited for someone to figure it out.

"Remy?" Andrew asked hopefully.

"Yes, I see no reason that he can't leave MedLab, and since the cohabitation has benefited the rest of you so well... why change something that works?" Hank finished with a shrug.

"Thank you, Doctor McCoy." Alan said sincerely.

"Yeah, thanks, you're the coolest doctor I've ever known." Andrew said with honest admiration.

"So, are we done?" Scott asked Hank, ready to get back to Jean.

"Just one thing. If you feel tired, rest. You are not healed, if you try to push yourselves too far, too soon, you'll end up back in bed... and this time I'll restrain you." Hank said without a hint of humor.

"Understood." Scott said and got out of his wheelchair and walked out the door.

* * * * *

Conversation stopped as the three men made their way into the room on foot.

"I'm guessing that it was good news." Dawn said with a smile.

Each of the men found a chair and sat heavily, the walk having taken it's toll on all three.

"Yeah, we're allowed to walk and eat in the dining room now. We still need help, but we don't have to stay in bed all the time." Andrew said happily.

"I guess I'm not out of a job after all." Xander said to no one in particular.

"So, what are you going to do with your new-found freedom?" Jubilee asked the men.

"Right now? I think I'm going back to bed. Between breakfast and the examination, I'm tired." Alan admitted reluctantly.

Scott and Andrew nodded in agreement.

"Oh yeah, Doctor McCoy had a bed put in our room for you Remy, if that's okay with you?" Alan said casually.

"Who else be in dis room wit me?" Remy asked cautiously.

"Me, Andrew, Scott, and Xander." Alan said without inflection.

Remy nodded in acknowledgement.

"Is everyone ready to go? I'm beat." Scott said.

"Let's take the short cut." Andrew said to the group.

"Are you sure you're up to it, love? Remember yesterday." Alan asked with caution.

"It'll be easier on me to open a portal for a minute than to try to walk both halls and stand in the elevator." Andrew said honestly.

"We could get the wheelchairs." Tara offered.

"No thanks Tara. I'd rather walk the halls, than ride the wheelchair anymore. I feel like a complete burden in the wheelchair." Andrew said and noticed a twinge in Remy's expression.

"Okay, I guess it's decided then. Jean, I'll come back and visit soon. Everyone who's going up to our bedroom, follow Andrew." Scott said in his team leader voice.

Xander placed Remy's hand on his elbow and followed the group through the portal.

"What jus happen?" Remy asked, as he heard the acoustics of the room change and felt carpet beneath his feet.

"Sorry Remy, I should have warned you. Andrew just made a portal from the MedLab to our bedroom so we wouldn't have to walk so far." Xander said and led Remy to one of the vacant single beds.

"Here's a bed for you." He said and moved to Remy's left and took the next bed.

"This will be my bed. Once everyone has settled into their place, I'll walk you around the room so you can find your way to the bathroom and chairs if you need to." Xander said as he laid back.

"It hard for Remy to say da words, but tanks Xander." Remy said sincerely.

Xander could tell by Remy's self-sufficient nature that he'd probably not said that to more than five people in his life, so was honored by the thanks, but aware enough of Remy's pride not to say more than a sincere, "You're welcome."

"Andrew, are you still planning on opening the portal at noon?" Dawn asked quietly.

"Yeah. Have you decided what you're going to do?" he asked with interest.

"Yeah. Today we're going through the portal to visit with Buffy and the others. We're going to take the next week to visit and pack. Next week we'll come back and start our jobs here." Dawn said while holding Tara's hand.

"That sounds like a good idea. This way you have plenty of time to explain things to Buffy and you don't have to do without your clothes like Xander and Alan have been doing." Andrew said with a smile.

"Xander, if you like, I can pack your things and have them ready tomorrow." Dawn said helpfully.

"Yeah, thanks Dawn... Are you going to tell the professor before you go?" Xander asked as an afterthought.

"Yeah, right now." Dawn said and gave Tara's hand a squeeze to signal that she was ready to go.

Jubilee gave a little wave at the group and followed Dawn and Tara out of the room.

"It's just 9:00 a.m.? I feel like we've been up all day!" Scott said in wonder.

"I know, the day really drags when you spend it in bed." Alan said with a smile.

"Remy, c'mon and I'll give you that tour now, in case you need to get something." Xander said and got off his bed.

Remy thought about protesting the action; but reasoned that Xander was giving him the tools to be able to depend on himself, if only in this room.

Xander took Remy to the wall and counted out the steps to the bathroom. He took a moment to walk Remy around the bathroom to familiarize him with the layout. After the quick tour, Xander led him back to the bed, then to the door, and back to the bed, to the chairs, back to the bed and finally took Remy's hand from his elbow and said, "Would you find your way to the bathroom for me? That's the one I want to be sure that you can find."

The group watched silently as Remy found his way from the bed to the wall, then set off across the room and went directly to the bathroom.

"Good. I'm going downstairs for a while; I don't need to rest right now. You wanna come with me or stay here Remy?" Xander asked casually.

Remy realized that Xander had gone through the whole procedure of showing him how to find the bathroom so he could honestly have this choice. It seemed such a little thing on the surface, to be given the choice of going or staying, but this was probably the first time he had the opportunity to make this type of decision in weeks and it felt frightening... and good.

"Tanks Xander, Remy go wit you. Don need ta sleep now and don wan ta keep dese guys awake." Remy said with a hint of a smile.

"I'm at the door when you're ready." Xander said to let Remy know he was waiting for him, more than his location.

Remy made his way to the door and felt Xander take his hand and place it on his elbow.

"We'll be back later guys, get some sleep." Xander said and closed the door.

* * * * *

"Ms. Summers, Ms. McCoy, come in and have a seat." The professor said in a much happier mood than he had had in recent days.

"Thank you, Professor, we've come to a decision." Dawn said as she and Tara took their seats.

Professor Xavier moved from behind his desk, then looked at Dawn, prompting her to continue.

"We're going to go back to my universe for a week so I can get some things and make sure Buffy's okay with this. Then we'll be coming back to accept your offer." Dawn said happily.

"Very good. It may seem on the surface that I created these jobs to encourage you to stay but we do really have a need for both of you here." Charles said sincerely.

"I agree. The children need to have someone to channel their energy during their free time, and Doctor McCoy seems to have been stretched to his limits." Dawn said seriously.

"I have another matter to discuss with you before you go. You will be needing an identity when you come here to stay. I have been working on providing identities for Andrew, Alan and Xander so I decided to get you one too." The professor said and moved his chair to reach some papers from his desk.

He handed a paper to Dawn and waited for her reaction.

"I'm Scott and Alan's sister?" Dawn asked in disbelief.

"Yes. Your parents exist in this universe, as well as Buffy. It would be nearly impossible to make a false identity as Buffy's sister without their cooperation. Since I'm already creating a false identity for Alan, I just added you as his sister and it was easily done. This way, we only have to get Alex to cover our story." The professor said with pride in his accomplishment.

"It makes sense. And the guys are going to love having you as a sister." Tara said warmly.

"I didn't even think about my identity here. Thank you, Professor, I can't wait to tell them, they're going to love it." Dawn said happily.

"I might as well give you the profiles I have composed for the others. The official paperwork will be arriving in the next few days. After that all of you will need to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get identification, but I have secured documentation that will make that no more troublesome than a regular trip to the DMV." The professor said honestly as he handed over the other profiles.

"Andrew's name has been changed to LeeAndrew, is that a misprint?" Tara asked as she read over Dawn's shoulder.

"No, the best way that I could create an identity for Andrew was to remove the death certificate from his other self in this dimension and construct a history from the point of his death. His name was LeeAndrew Malachi Wells." The professor said matter-of-factly.

"Alan Sunshine Summers?" Tara asked with a laugh.

The professor just shrugged and smiled.

"What? You don't have some long convoluted explanation of why you gave him the middle name of Sunshine?" Dawn asked through her own laughter.

"No, I was picking the names, so that's what I picked for him." The professor said and gave into his own laughing urge for a moment.

"Alexander Lavelle Wainwright Harris?" Dawn asked, knowing the professor had a story to cover this one.

"Alexander and Alexandria were twins, separated at birth. Xander only recently found out that he wasn't the birth child of the late Felicity and Robert Wainwright. After some investigation, he tracked his origin and discovered that he had a twin sister. When he discovered his true identity, he took the name Harris and kept the name Wainwright as a second middle name." The professor said, waiting for questions.

"You've been watching soap operas, haven't you?" Dawn asked in accusation.

The professor didn't confirm or deny Dawn's claim as Tara asked, "Don't you think that his mother would notice that she didn't have twins?"

"With a little help from Cerebro, I altered her memories just a bit so that she remembers that she had two babies, and that the nurse had told her that the second one was stillborn." The professor said quietly.

"So when Xander shows up, she'll think that the nurse stole the baby and told her it was dead... Won't she try to sue the nurse or the hospital?" Dawn asked in disbelief at his flamboyant plan.

"She may, but the statute of limitations has run out for her to pursue any criminal actions, the nurse who attended Alexandria's birth has long since died, and any lawyer worth his salt will advise her that there is nothing to be gained from trying to pursue a twenty three year-old crime with no monetary damages to be won." The professor said simply.

"I don't know if I like your plan, but I suppose it could allow Xander to develop a relationship with Xandria and his mother if he wanted that." Dawn said.

"Yes, and I wanted him to have that opportunity, otherwise I would have created his identity without any surviving relatives." The professor explained.

Tara nodded in understanding.

Dawn finally agreed and got up to leave.

"We need to go back to Tara's room and pack a few things for the trip to my dimension. We'll be back in a week; Andrew can get a message to us if you need us any sooner." Dawn said and made her way to the door.

"Thank you, Professor." Tara said and followed Dawn.

The professor went back to his desk and started on some of the more mundane tasks of running a school.

* * * * *

Xander and Remy had taken a tour of the mansion and the grounds, just walking calmly and enjoying an unhurried morning without any particular purpose.

Xander led them to a pile of rocks that had been strategically placed to look natural, but also to provide a good sitting place.

"There is a rock right behind you, and it looks like a good sitting spot." Xander said and helped Remy find the rock with his hand before moving to his own rock.

"Remy got a question for you." Remy said, facing a group of trees.

"Sure, what do you want to know?" Xander asked as he rested back on his elbows and turned his face toward the sun.

"You heard what the doctor said to Remy bout my condition... I mean besides the eyes." Remy asked, a little tremble in his voice.

Xander closed his eye and said quietly, "I heard."

"How can Remy still be a man? Dey took dat away from me, an I don know what ta do now." He said in a defeated voice.

"I can't tell you what you should do or how you should feel Remy. I don't have those answers... but if you want to know what I think, I can tell you." Xander offered softly and honestly.

"What you tinkin?" Remy asked and turned to face Xander.

"I think that if Hank can get the testosterone balanced in your system like he was talking about, and if you let him insert the prosthetic testicles, the only difference between you and any other man will be that you won't be able to father a child." Xander said in a steady tone.

"You really tink dat?" Remy asked in wonder.

"Yeah, I understood most of what Hank was saying in there. The treatment that Professor Frost was giving you was like a megadose of testosterone that got used up over a period of time. It was causing your system to go crazy because your hormones were so out of balance. Hank wants to check your levels each day until the megadose has flushed out of your system, then give you weaker doses, more often. You'll have a patch that you'll put on and that's all you'll have to mess with for the day. After a while, you'll be balanced and feeling just like you did before." Xander said with assurance.

"What bout de other ting? The pross ting?" Remy asked, somewhat ashamed.

Xander realized that Remy didn't understand what Hank had been saying and paraphrased, "He just wants to give you some fake nuts in your nutsack. That way, when a woman goes down there, she finds everything she expects to."

"So you tink the doctor can make Remy like before?" Remy asked in confirmation.

"Pretty close. I've lost enough things to know that when you lose something, it'll never be completely like it was before... but what's your other choice? Either give into it and let them win or keep fighting by living the best way that you can." Xander said simply.

Remy sat silently, thinking over the words.

After a long contemplative silence Remy finally said, "I tink I let da doctor fix me up. But Remy don always understand what he be sayin. You tink you be able to help Remy?"

Xander let a fond smile come across his face as he said, "Remy my friend, I promise that I'll be there to help you however I can."

"Remy don know how to repay you for dis..." Remy trailed off, facing away from Xander now.

"There is no debt between friends in my mind. Anything I give a friend, I give freely and anything I receive, I consider a gift. If you have something I need, I'll ask you and I expect you to do the same to me." Xander said simply and looked down at his watch.

Remy nodded either in agreement or comprehension.

"We should be heading back to the room if we're going to see off Dawn and Tara. Are you ready?" Xander asked as he got off his rock.

Remy stood and held out his hand, ready to have it placed on Xander's arm.

* * * * *

Xander and Remy entered the room to find Alan and Andrew snuggled together asleep and Scott laying in bed, reading one of Andrew's Star Wars books.

Scott looked up from his book and asked, "So what have you two been up to?"

"We took a walk around the grounds. How about you?" Xander asked as he led Remy back to his bed.

"This is it. I'm actually surprised at how good this book is." Scott said, holding up the book.

"Oh yeah, that is a good one, the next one after it is good too." Xander said, remembering the fanciful stories.

"Which one is that?" Scott asked, pulling out the box of books.

Xander looked through the books and after a minute came out with the next in the series.

"So, are they all in a row or can I read them out of order?" Scott asked, never having read any Star Wars books before.

"Either. But I enjoyed them in order because you catch subtle things in the story you tend not to notice if you read them out of order." Xander said and sat on his bed.

There was a gentle knock on the door.

Scott sat the box down and put the book aside as Xander walked across the room to answer the door.

Tara and Dawn walked into the room with one suitcase each.

"How do you have two suitcases of clothes when neither of you brought anything with you?" Scott asked in wonder as Alan and Andrew were waking up.

"We bought the things we needed. We didn't have identical twins here to clothe us like some people." Dawn said, looking at Alan who just put on his glasses and had a bad case of bed-head.

"What's my fault now?" Alan asked in playful mock-confusion.

"Everything... until further notice." Xander said with a fond smile.

"Ooo guys, the professor gave me these to give you." Dawn said and started handing out profiles.

"LeeAndrew?" Andrew asked in confusion.

"Wainwright?" Xander asked next.

"Sunshine?" Alan said in horror.

The men went to Alan and started reading, trying to figure out what had caused him such distress. One by one the men were choking, fighting down the laughter.

"Remy wan to know what happenin." Remy said indignantly from his bed.

Dawn sat on the edge of his bed and said, "Andrew was renamed LeeAndrew because that's what his double was named. Xander was given the second middle name Wainwright to fit in with some long story that might have come from 'Days of our Lives' or 'Oprah'. I'm Scott and Alan's sister now..." She said and got a great big smile as she noticed everyone paying attention to her story.

"What about 'Sunshine'?" Alan asked sourly.

"I guess the professor thought it fit." Dawn said simply and went back to Tara.

"Are you ready for the portal?" Andrew asked of the women.

"Whenever you are LeeAndrew." Dawn said with a smile.

"Just think, in one year you'll be my sister-in-law." LeeAndrew said with a grin.

"Cool." Dawn said with a smile as the portal opened before her.

To Be Continued...