Disclaimer: The X-Men belong to Marvel, and various other people including Bryan Singer. This version was created by Singer, and his happy cohorts at the movie studio. No money is being made from this fictional story, and there is no intent to infringe upon the rights of any individual or company.

Summary: Set in the X-Men movieverse, we meet Jean Grey, who has just begun earning money as a new doctor. In steps fate and a young man named Scott Summers.

Cinnamon Street

by Ana Lyssie Cotton

"Growing up on Cinnamon Street,

Everywhere you look there are lots

of people to meet, it's seven o'clock, the

breakfast treat. Now, the school bus is

here, hurry up and grab a seat. All the

dreams are tiny ones, another week has

just begun on Cinnamon Street." -- Cinnamon Street, Roxette

Her name was Jean Grey; and it started when she was 13. Little things, like knowing what her mom was going to say before she said it. Or, being able to reach stuff on the top shelves without climbing the counter. And then her mother caught her at the moving and told her to stop it.

She tried. But she suddenly found she couldn't. And it suddenly got worse, papers, books, silverware and glasses flying around. None of it broke, though. And then her mother slapped her. The storm halted as fast as it had begun and she stood there, shaking, her eyes wide.

"Don't do that again, Jeannie, please don't."

"I'm sorry, mom." She cried.

The incident passed and they never spoke of it. And Jean learned to not use her powers, to hide them, submerge them, even when she got headaches from the minds around her. Weren't people ever quiet?

Years passed and she slowly forgot most of what she could do, except a bit of telekinesis. And even that she hid from everyone. With the thought of learning how to cure herself and others, she entered pre-med classes, passing them with flying colors.

Jean Grey graduated in the top ten of her class at Yale. She went on to become employed at a family practice in Pittsburgh.

It was during her second week there that things went wrong. She'd just found an apartment and settled in, and was beginning to like her co-workers. And then it happened. It was a little thing. So little.

She'd knocked a bottle of serum off the counter and caught it mentally. Her mind on other things, she didn't even think about it.

An hour later, one of the younger nurses, Betty, pulled her aside and whispered, "I've cleared your afternoon, Jean. I'm afraid Dr. Clyde wants to see you."

"He does? What about?"

"I don't know." But the young woman was lying, Jean realized, as her eyes flickered around and showed something... almost, fear.

"All right. Let me wash my hands and I'll be there in a minute." Jean was puzzled. After all, she was being quite exemplary, she'd thought. Her work was impeccable, her job fairly tame. There wasn't anything she could think of that would warrant a discussion with Dr. Clyde.

Doctor Josiah Clyde ran the office with an iron fist. Even though she was new, Jean knew that if he wanted to talk to you, something bad was bound to occur. He'd been the one to fire the girl in the position she now held. Gossip claimed it was because the girl was found shooting up.

A few minutes later, Jean stepped up to the door of Clyde's office and knocked. "Come in."

Plastering a calm smile on her face, she stepped in, "You wanted to see me, Dr. Clyde?"

"Ah, Jean." He nodded to the seat in front of his desk. She sat, "I wanted to see you because I received a disturbing report from one of your co-workers. Now, be truthful here, my dear."

She nodded, puzzled.

"Your co-worker claims you are a mutant. Is this true?"

Jean stared at him, startled. Of all the things he could have asked, this wasn't one she'd thought of. "I-I am sir, yes. At least, I think I am. I've never been tested." She gave a half-laugh. "Never had the time, really."

"Ah. Tell me, Jean, are you happy here?"

"Yes, I am." She smiled genuinely, "The staff here are just wonderful, and I feel like I learn something new every day."

"Well, you're going to learn something else." He smiled, the warmth gone from his face; "I am terminating your employment, as of now."

She gaped at him, cheeks flushing, "But--sir!"

"I'm afraid we just can't have someone as dangerous as a mutant around our patients. I'm sure you understand." His eyes glittered coldly, "I suggest you try somewhere else, although, don't lie about you mutancy."

"Lie? I didn't lie!"

"I'm afraid you did, my dear. Omission is still a lie." He held out her resume, "You see? No mention of the fact. I'm afraid, too, that you will be unable to receive references or unemployment compensation from us."

Stupid little mutant bitch. Jean's eyes widened in shock as she heard the thought from him. It echoed around her, angering her. That he *dared*. She stood, back rigid, face set, "Very well, Sir." Her voice turned it into an expletive.

Unbidden, papers began flying off his desk. They swirled around the room for a moment, then fell to the floor as Jean fought for control.

"I'm afraid you should leave. Now. Or would you rather I called the police and reported you for assault?"

"Dr. Clyde," Jean stode to the door and turned back, eyes glittering with sudden tears, "You are a bigot."


In a mansion in Westchester, New York deep in the bowels, there's a semi-sentient-psi-enhancing computer. Its name is Cerebro, and one Charles Xavier is currently using it.

Charles was a telepath, the most powerful one currently in existence. He enjoyed using Cerebro to stretch his limits and monitor the world around him for other mutants. Currently, he was just sort of 'drifting' as it were, over the states.

Something flared close to home, and he blinked, shifting perspective to gaze down at the city of Pittsburgh. With a twist of his mind, he descended to street level, searching for the mind that had flashed such power a moment ago.

He nearly passed her up she was so average looking. And then he saw the leaks coming through her badly built shields. She was older than his current students, most of who were in their teens. Except for Scott. He frowned as he studied the woman.

She was crying. Not out loud, but inside. He could hear it. And he could hear other things to. Things that worried him greatly.

With another flick of his mind, he resurfaced into reality and reached up to disengage the headpiece.

A few moments later, he wheeled into his study, Scott Summers behind him, "It's not that I'm worried Scott, it's just... There was something about her, as if she suddenly had nothing."

"If you think it's best sir, I'll head for Pittsburgh."

"Thank you. I'll write down the address she was heading to. You should be able to get there in about an hour, less if you go quickly in the Blackbird."

"Right, sir. And you want me to bring her back to the School?"

"Yes, Scott. I believe she needs our help."


Checking the address again, Scott walked up to the top of the hill and peered at the house sitting there. There were lights on inside the two-story building. Wood trim accented a pale cream paint job that was fading and peeling off in places.

The house itself seemed normal. Scott shook his head trying to figure out why he had a sudden sense of foreboding.

And then she appeared. Red hair, tall, slim, gorgeous. And she was walking with that walk he recognized when some of the more traumatized students arrived. As if she was afraid she'd start crying any moment. Well, time to fix that.


She blinked lovely blue eyes at him, "Hi. Do I know you?"

"No, but, um... I'd like to get to know you--and, this isn't some strange pickup line... I'm Scott Summers." He paused, studying her.

"Jean." She paused and held out her hand. "Jean Grey."

He smiled, "Well, Jean, I..." He paused. How to word it just so? 'I was sent to bring you.' No. Ah! "My mentor, Professor Xavier, heard about your plight. He needs a research assistant." There. The Professor could handle the rest of it.

She looked at him sharply, "Uh-huh. Look, kid, don't lie to me. Why are you really here? To gawk at the mutant?"

"No." He reached up and pointed to the red-lensed glasses. "See these? If I don't wear them, laser beams shoot from my eyes."

"Oh. Funny. Haha. I'm laughing, really." She reached out and pulled his glasses off. "Now, open your eyes."

"I'd rather not," He replied, from behind clenched lids. That had not been what he'd expected. "Give me back my glasses, please."

He sensed her uncertainty, then, "Why?"

"Because I don't want to hurt you. Or anyone."

"Here." She put the glasses into his hand and suddenly sounding very tired, she continued, "Who is Xavier?"

"He's a professor of psychology." Quickly putting his glasses back on, Scott reopened his eyes and smiled at her, "And he doesn't care what you are."

She gave a half-laugh, then shrugged, "I've got a better idea. Why don't you go away."

"I... He said I was to persuade you."

"Well, I'm not persuaded. Why don't you try something simpler, like... oh," she uncrossed her arms and snorted, "Taking me out for coffee."

Scott blinked. "I..."

"Just say yes. Besides, it'll give you more time to--persuade me."


"Great, I know this wonderful place not too far from here." She gave a sniff and wiped at her eye, "Let's go."


The Latte Shoppe had a nice ambience. Cream and gold and brown decor, comfortable chairs and calm music playing in the back. It was the epitome of yuppie. Jean loved it, because she could go there, grab a back table and become absorbed in a book with no interruptions. Nodding to Charlie, the man who was currently polishing the counter, she led Scott to her booth and then went to get coffee.

"Hallo, Ms. Jean."

"Hello, Charlie," She smiled wanly, "Can I get a cup of coffee and a large chocolate mocha?"

"Bad day?"

"You could say that." She watched as he poured the coffee, then began making her mocha. "Charlie? What do you think of mutants?"

For an instant, she swore his hands shook, and then he smiled at her, "Don't think much of them, unless they don't pay their tabs."

"Ah." Jean accepted the two mugs he handed her, "What do I owe you?"

"Nothing." He smiled again, "You and your young man have a nice day."

She blinked at him as he turned away and felt tears welling in her eyes again. After the day she'd had, the unexpected kindness nearly floored her. Sniffing, she whispered a thank you and then turned and walked back to Scott.

"Here, I hope you like coffee--sorry I forgot to ask."

"I do, thank you." He smiled at her as she sat, "So, where will you work now?"

"Huh?" She blinked at him, "How did you--" She half stood, eyes darkening, "I don't know who you are, but--"

"Ack." Scott reached out and caught her hand, "I'm sorry, that was badly put, Jean."

"How do you KNOW?"

"Professor Xavier."

She relaxed slightly, but still wondered how the Professor had known so quickly. "I don't know." She sat back in her chair and sighed, "I just don't know."


Scott held a mental argument with himself. Trying to decide how to convince Jean that she wanted to come with him. And that he was safe, and wasn't there merely to gawk. Not that he wasn't. It was very hard, in fact, not to gawk. Jean had a lovely face, mind and body, and it attracted Scott, as none of Xavier's other students had.

"You can stop thinking that." Her eyes were flashing.

He gulped, "I--"

"No. Don't bother. God, I am SO sick of this!" She jumped to her feet and slammed her mug to the table, ignoring the hot liquid that splashed out. "I want it gone, I want it to go away, I--"

Scott found himself torn between holding her and staying far away. The idea of holding her as she collapsed back into the chair, sobs shaking her, was too much to resist. He stepped towards her, then stopped. Something held him immobile, as if a giant hand had wrapped around his legs. For a moment he teetered, losing his balance, then the force was gone and he collapsed onto the table.

The resulting coffee/hot mocha mess ended up all over him as the table tipped, landing him on the floor.

"Oops." Jean was staring down at him, consternation on her face, "I'm sorry, I really..."

"Don't mention it," he wheezed, sitting up and wincing at the fluids staining his clothing.

"I just... I want to control it, and I can. But not enough." Tears slid down her cheeks.

"The professor can help you. He teaches people--mutants--how to control themselves, so they don't lose it and dump coffee on people." Scott said earnestly as he slowly stood.


"I mean, if you really like dumping coffee on me, I guess there's no hope..." he said dryly, brushing sugar off his chest.

Jean giggled. It was watery, true, but it was a better sound than her tears.

"And really, he won't make you stay. You'd be free to leave and come back here, no questions asked."

"I... It sounds too good to be true." Jean looked up as Charlie approached, a towel in his hands. "Charlie! I--"

"Don't worry, Ms. Jean." He cracked a grin, "'Twas worth it to see the kid go over." He winked at Scott. "Now, you might wanna listen to him. Sounds like he's got a good idea."

"Does everyone know I got fired?!?"

"No, only those that care." Charlie handed Scott the towel and looked amused when Scott handed it back without using it.

"All right... I guess it can't hurt.

Scott grinned, "It can't."

"And I really am free to come back here?"


Jean looked at Charlie, "If I need it--"

"I'll be here."

"Thank you." She smiled, then turned to Scott and took a deep breath. "Lead on, MacDuff."


Professor Charles Xavier considered himself a good man. When he'd mentally heard Ms. Grey's plight, he'd sent out immediate help. He hoped she would accept it. A medical doctor on hand would be useful when the Academy was full of students. From what he remembered of his own school days, children were forever stubbing toes, breaking arms, and slicing fingers off.

As well, her mental powers would be useful to augment his when he couldn't go into battle. And he knew there was something coming. There would be, there was no other way for humans to deal with something not like themselves.

These thoughts ran through his mind as he finished talking to a friend in South Africa. It seemed a young woman there was controlling the weather and being worshipped as a Goddess. Charles thought he would, himself, go to chat with her. A Goddess needed special handling, after all.

The comlink beeped then Scott's voice came through, informing him that he would be landing with Ms. Grey in the hangar bay in ten minutes.

Charles set the 'link down, and headed for the elevator. Something told him a less formal meeting than he normally held for first-time students.


Jean's first impression of Charles Xavier was to stay with her for a long time. A fatherly-type in a wheelchair, he was bald with piercing blue eyes and a calm smile. She sensed that he could be harsh, but that he hated to do so. And then all perception of his mind ceased, as if someone had shut a door between them. The sudden snap caused her to stumble as she stepped up to him.

"Ah, Ms. Grey. Jean. Welcome to my school."

"Professor Xavier, I presume." She held out her hand.

He shook it firmly, "Yes. I'm sure Scott has told you that I'm the headmaster to some unusual children."

"Mutants, I believe he said."

"Yes." Xavier studied her for a moment, then half-smiled, "You, my dear, are a mutant."

"How do you know?" Jean demanded, wariness causing her to step back.

Scott touched her shoulder gently, "It's why he sent me to find you."


"With Cerebro." The professor replied. He waved her towards a door, "Come, I'll introduce you."


They stepped into an elevator, the professor sending them down. It was a high-tech little affair, all Star Trek turboliftish, flashy and full of gizmos.

"A computer I designed to track down people with mutant abilities."

"So they can be reported?" Jean paused, "Sorry. So you can invite them here?"

"Exactly." He smiled and rolled out of the elevator, turning to a large metal door. An X crisscrossed the metal, a slightly darker blue than that which surrounded it. "Voiceprint Identification: Xavier, Charles."

There was a whirring noise, and then a mechanical voice replied, "Voiceprint confirmed. Retinal scan." A beam of light flashed out, sliding along Xavier's eye. He didn't blink until it disappeared, "Retinal scan confirmed. Welcome, Professor."

With a soft whoosh, the door split into two sections, sliding into the walls. Beyond it lay a vast room, round and curving off into infinity. In front of them lay a long catwalk. Xavier started down it. Jean followed, Scott behind her.

"Wow." Jean said, her voice breaking the silence as they stopped in the center of the room. She stared around the gigantic room, marveling at the dimensions. A small console sat in front of her, a headset sitting on it. "May I?"

"I don't recommend it."


"It requires a trained and honed telepathic talent. Yours, while strong, is not trained."


Xavier smiled, "It will be, though. That is, if you decide to stay with us."

It almost felt like a dream come true. Training, a place where she would belong. Friends. Jean looked at her hands. There was still coffee and mocha on them from earlier. The reminder caused her to glance at Scott, then quickly away. He had to be at least five years younger than she was, and he had been thinking... those things.


She jumped, "Is there a place I could wash up?"

"Certainly. Scott?"

"Right this way," He caught her elbow and escorted her down the catwalk.


The bathroom she was shown to was fairly normal, barring the occasional high-tech touch that gleamed. Jean stood at the sink and gazed at herself in the mirror. How many days had it been since this morning?

Many. Fired, found out, and then offered a new place all in the span of a few hours. She shook her head. It was so unsettling.

And what if they weren't who they said they were? Xavier and Summers were nice enough, but axe murderers could be nice, too.

Jean splashed water at her face, then froze, letting it drip off. And if Xavier was a telepath--he could be... he could be reading her thoughts right that instant! For a moment she shivered, and then common sense reasserted itself.

Duh, it said, if he was, why hasn't he just influenced you to accept? Why let you think about it? Especially alone?

Because he wants your trust, whispered another side. And once he's got it, he'll betray it.

This is very silly, she snapped at both. I'm talking to myself while staring in the mirror. I'm sure there's documentation on insanity that includes mirror gazing as a symptom.

But what do I want?

What Xavier offered--well, what Summers had offered in his stead--was... intriguing. To be able to study mutancy, and the effects of it on many people. To be able to have the freedom to train her own mutant side. It was like being handed the winning lotto ticket.

Prosaically, there was a knock on the door. "Just a moment."

"Jean? I was wondering what you'd like for dinner. The kids have eaten, and we could have pizza, spaghetti or sandwiches."

Scott. Cold pizza. Memories of late nights, early mornings, and cramming for impossible tests arose and she chuckled, "Cold pizza sounds fine. Scott?"


"Is Xavier still around?"

"He's gone to his study."

Jean opened the door and smiled at him, "Well, I'm going to get lost if I try to find it on my own. Show me?"

He grinned, "Certainly. And then we can raid the fridge."

"Sounds good to me."


Xavier looked up as they stepped in. She smiled, "I'd like the position, sir. When can I arrange for my belongings to be brought here?"

"You and Scott can bring them tomorrow, if that's all right."

"Willdo, sir." Scott mock-saluted Xavier then bowed to Jean, "And now, I'm starving. I'm not sure how you do it, but I'm losing my backbone to my stomach."

She laughed, "Take me to your food."

"Good night Scott, Jean."

"Good night, Professor!"