All Year Round

Note and Disclaimer: I obviously don't own anything from X-Men. And with the Christmas special behind me, I thought to extend this holiday series until the next Christmas approaches and make it a series. Thank you and enjoy!

New Years Eve was always hopeful for Jean. Ever since she and Scott began their relationship, it was a sort of tradition for them to spend it alone upstairs. For them, it brought new beginnings, kisses as they watched the ball drop at Times Square (on TV of course) and a sense that there would be a better year for the school. It was a quiet affair, without their friends or the students involved, and it was quite romantic.

For Jean, it was difficult and quite different. Since Logan arrived, she had been questioning everything she had with Scott. She wished that this night, of all nights, the magic would still be there and the fires will rekindle. She did not want to complicate matters any more than they already are. She wanted to prove herself worthy of Scott and remain with him. That was where the steady path laid.

She had to get through the day though. The Professor followed the typical school schedule and had the students "on vacation", as it were. That meant that they were bored and underfoot until the next Monday rolled around. So, until Jean was able to lock herself upstairs with Scott, she had to contend with the arguing and backbiting. It was also annoying to have to use her own powers to hinder them from hurting each other with their own.

After dinner, when the children settled down in their respective rooms and the teenagers fought for a place in the living room, Jean snuck upstairs. Storm tried stopping her to inquire about something, but was intercepted by Logan at the bottom of the stairs. As Jean proceeded upward, she noted that he whispered something in Storm's ear that caused some laughter. Jean was curious. She had never heard her friend at ease so comfortably with Logan before.

She felt a little worry and dismissed it. Storm wouldn't stoop so low as to connive with Logan. Jean was sure of it. But the way the two were talking, it sure seemed that way, especially when Rogue and Bobby joined them. Jean tried listening in without being so conspicuous, but could not find a way. Logan kept eying her suspiciously and turning back to Storm.

He's watching me.

The thought scared and thrilled her all at once. Jean shoved the feelings aside. Nothing was wrong. She and Scott were going to enjoy the evening on their own and toast a new year. That was what was going on.

Then again…

She could have used her powers, but decided against it. She continued her way to the room she shared with Scott. Already, it was decorated as they agreed. The flowers he bought were fresh and in a vase of water. Balloons hovered overhead. Their champagne bottle was iced in a bucket next to the bed. Even the shrimp cocktail thawing on another table was a delicious thought.

All was well, Jean supposed. Nothing was out of place. Changing into her pajamas, she settled on the bed and waited for Scott to arrive. He arrived a few minutes later. The two laughed it off and locked themselves in. Jean used her mind to turn the key from the inside to ensure privacy. As Scott changed, he grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. Dick Clark was beginning his program as he curled into the bed.

Their ritual began in earnest. Scott grabbed their meal and Jean popped the cork. He divvied up the food and she poured. Then, they would hand each other the goods and watch the elderly man introduce a new year. The show itself was a tab boring initially (the music wasn't the same as when they were children), but Jean always found the ball drop exciting. She never experienced it firsthand, believing it too much for her (Scott also did not like crowds), and loved to view the thrills from the comfort of her room instead.

"How was your day?" she asked Scott.

It was a dumb question. Scott had a tough day. While he did not have to deal with the students himself, he had to train with Logan and learn teamwork with him. That was always an ordeal. Jean always heard about how Logan did this and that. At first, she thought that he complained just to see her reaction. She concluded that Scott never liked Logan's bad boy attitude and never will.

He grumbled. "The usual. What else is new?"

"Did anything come of it?"

"Other than Logan breaking the simulation again, nothing came of it."

Jean said nothing more. She drank half of her glass and put it off to one side. Her mind was suddenly elsewhere. Even though Dick Clark was introducing a new act, she paid it no heed. She sensed a presence outside and in the hallway. It wasn't unusual, but she did not like the aura. Something was definitely wrong.

A knock on the door confirmed it. "Scott, Jean, are you in there?" It was Storm. "Some of the students are missing. The Professor is getting Cerebro warmed up. But he needs us to search."

"Are you fucking kidding me?" Scott mumbled. Out loud, he yelled to Storm, "We're coming! Give us a few."

Scott scrambled to put everything away and decided to leave it for later. He switched the TV off. "You cover the immediate grounds. I'll head into the woods. Got it?"

Jean was skeptical. "Scott, I don't think we –"

"Look, we don't have enough time," Scott interjected. "This might be a prank. It might not be. But this is serious. We can't have the students off the grounds without one of us."

Jean did not argue the point. But something was definitely off. She watched Scott ready himself for the cold and rush out. She did not follow. She found the exercise fruitless. She knew who was instigating on this night. She did not need to use her telepathic powers to determine the culprit.

It was too late to stop Scott. Jean was prepared to confront Logan though, to stop the madness before it got out of hand. She got up from the bed and dressed appropriately. Just as she put her shoes on, she thought that some voices cross her mind, people nearby maybe. She ignored it, continuing her task until completed. Once done, she set the room to rights once more. The food and drinks were returned to the mini frig in the corner and the lights were switched off.

Enveloped in darkness, she heard something hard hit her window.