Summary: Scott and Jean take a look at their past as the two find solace in the beauty of a winter wonderland.
Pairing (s): Scott/JeanRating for this Chapter: PG-13
Trapped in that realm between fantasy and reality, Jean rolled over and snuggled up to the large mass of heat residing beside her, taking a large portion of the blanket in the process. Her shoulders were getting cold, and her hands reached up to the exposed skin on instinct. To her surprise and much delight, the redhead felt two tendrils of warmth snake around her shoulders, pulling her closer even as Jean nestled her cheek on her soft pillow. The comforting contrast between the cool of the mattress and the warmness of Scott produced almost another reality that she never wanted to leave. Here, she was alive, yet the world was ruled by her dreams, not fears. With the coming of the sun and the arrival of another day, the little girl slid back under the covers, wishing that morning would never come.
Nonetheless, soft rays of sunlight peeked through the curtains and fell upon her face, illuminating her face in a pleasant, subtle glow. At the morning song of birds chirping to each other in the forest trees, Jean slowly woke up (reluctantly) from her dreams. Groaning in stiffness, she stretched out her arms and legs, only to knee a forgotten Scott in the leg. With a start, he cried out in pain, clutching his leg tightly as his Charlie-horse worsened.
"Jean?" he gasped out, his teeth clenched forcefully together. With one hand, he groped his face blindly for his glasses, finding them still there. Opening his eyes, Scott's breath caught in his throat as he saw Jean sheepishly grinning back at him apologetically.
"Hi," Scott replied, looking around. It took a while for the fact that this wasn't his room to register in his drowsy brain, sleepily piecing together everything that happened last night. He turned back to look at the girl beside him, now propped up on one elbow.
"How's the leg?" Jean asked lightly.
Scott drew level with her, a thoughtful expression on his face. "It's been better," he admitted, wincing in pain. Another few inches higher, and he would be in trouble..."Remind me never to piss you off. You have one mean kick."
"I practice," the redhead grinned wickedly. She collapsed back onto her pillow, staring up at him through shining, emerald eyes.
"What is it?" Scott asked, yawning.
"Thanks." She knew he knew what she meant.
"Forget about it."
Jean shivered as a cool morning breeze swept through an open window, the carpet below it was damp with rain. Whoops. Pulling Scott down beside her, she burrowed into his arms clumsily. He was warmer than the blanket. "Okay," she whispered softly. "But you shouldn't have stayed with me. I must've looked like a mess."
"Yeah, you did," Scott replied smugly. That earned him a cold glare. "But what did you want me to do? Leave you unconscious on the bathroom floor, covered in your own puke?"
"Hmm, how charming," Jean smiled, her brain regurgitating fuzzy images of Scott trying to comfort her as best he could as she vomited in the bathroom. With Scott, actions spoke more than words ever could. "You don't have to be so...uptight all the time, you know? It won't kill you to let your guards down once in a while."
"It's alright. I like it better this way."
"I'm sure you do." She took a deep breath, drifting off again despite herself at the feel of his body nestled next to his. Strangely enough, it didn't feel like sleeping beside a boy or another person. In fact, sleeping beside Scott was like sleeping beside a teddy bear or her stuffed tiger – she felt completely safe and comforted. Teddy-Scott...
His eyes wondered to the clock sitting on her desk. "Oh shit! It's almost eight!" he exclaimed, scrambling quickly out of bed.
"Yeah, so?" Jean asked, surprised.
"The Prof is probably already having breakfast downstairs, and 'Ro is probably up in the attic working on her plants." He stopped by her doorway, making sure the coast was clear before slowly turning around. "You go downstairs in half an hour, and I'll go down in about ten minutes. That way, they might not suspect anything." With that, he stealthily sprinted down the hall, leaving Jean all by herself in her room.
At first, she was surprised. Then, the redhead became very irritated. Jean Grey didn't like being bossed around.
With a single wave of her hand, a tiny formation of clouds, not even two feet wide, appeared level with her eyes, raining upon her plants fresh, crystal water that trickled smoothly over their healthy green leaves. Finished, Ororo smiled satisfactorily. Only a few people would give their students an entire level of a mansion simply devoted to gardening. The attic was the perfect place – after the Professor had it refurbished, with all the necessary provisions and giant windows that provided an ample source of sunlight, the woman had been speechless. The cost had been tremendous.
Humming softly a Kenyan song, she continued on for several minutes before noticing with curiosity that her watch seemed to be broken. It was acting very strangely; only just before, it had read 7:52 a.m., but now the hour hand was reading eleven. Then, to her much surprise and fear, her gardening tools started to fly, metal surfaces attracting and repelling each other in random directions. A metal spade lifted into the air before shooting straight at her. Gasping out in shock, she quickly shot it down and every other airborne object with small bolts of electricity before escaping upwards through a large window in the ceiling.
Magneto. It had to be him.
Floating above the mansion, she spotted his silver orb lying on the grass on the front lawn of the Institute, with the carcasses of various laser and missile turrets lying nearby. Not good. Facing off against Magneto was not how she wanted to start off a Sunday. The fact that she didn't know where he is just increased the odds to his favour...for all she knew, Ororo could be walking into an ambush.
"I've only come here to talk." Surprised, Storm spun around, seeing her opponent floating about ten metres in front and slightly below her in civilian guise. His hands were held out in front of him in a manner of peace.
She ignored him. "You are not welcomed here!" With that, the weather goddess sent a bolt of lightning in his direction, which slammed against an invisible wall. His magnetic shield crackled with built up energy as her attack threatened to overwhelm it. Magneto noted that she had become much stronger under Xavier's coaching than the last time they met as he expertly dissipated the electricity before it enveloped his entire shield.
"I will not tell you again. I_only_want_to_talk!" he snarled. She attacked again; this time, the man elected to dodge it.
Frustrated, the skies darkened as Storm summoned a thunderstorm. Lightning erupted from the clouds around her as a silver mist rolled over her eyes, her white hair swaying lightly in the mild breeze. "You come here, our home, and attack our mansion defences, then expect us to believe that your intentions are peaceful?" she asked calmly, yet dubiously.
"I said I was not going to repeat myself," Erik replied coolly. If this girl wanted a fight, then so be it. He could take her and Weapon X down by himself if necessary.
"Fine." With that, two huge lightning bolts thundered from the clouds, spiralling down towards Magneto, who was...smiling? Instantly, his eyes glowed gold as he magnetically altered their paths at the last second. Ororo gasped in shock, before realization hit her. Lightning, after all, were simply electrons, and completely vulnerable to his magnetic powers. Guiding them back around 180 degrees with his hands, Magneto twirled their blue, snake-like bodies around Storm several times, baiting them around her like a snake circling around its prey, before redirecting them straight into the ground.
The golden glow in his eyes died away as Erik powered down. "That was to prove a point. If I was here to fight, you would've been defeated already." Reluctantly, Storm powered down as well, her daunting thunderclouds fading away as she swallowed her pride.
"What do you want?" she demanded.
"As I said before. I simply want to talk with my old friend, Charles. Is that so hard to believe?"
She glared at him suspiciously, flying down to the ground. "I assume that you won't take no for an answer?"
A wry smile crept to his lips. Despite having only seen each other during the few skirmishes they had, Ororo knew him well. "No, I will not."
"Right this way, then," she replied, leading him inside.
Jean raced down the stairs exactly eleven minutes after Scott had left her room and 19 minutes earlier than when Scott had ordered her too. Hair still damp from her rushed shower, the telepath found the Professor and Scott watching TV in silence in the common room. Both heads turned to the doorway even before she walked in – one because of his telepathic powers, the other because of his blind hearing.
If Scott was surprised, or angry, to see Jean, he didn't show it. His expression didn't change at all as the redhead walked in and enveloped the Professor in a big hug.
"Why, good morning to you too, my dear," the man greeted, laughing softly. As far as he was concerned, with Scott as his only student, such gestures of affection were unprecedented.
"Morning, Professor." Looking over his shoulder, the girl stared intently at her best friend, whose attention by now had returned back to the TV. "What are you guys watching?"
"Sports," Scott replied coldly, not bothering to hide the irate edge in his voice. There was a long silence as the Professor pulled away from Jean's embrace, before a knowing grin broke over his face. Jean simply stared at Scott, eyes narrowed in annoyance.
"Scott," the Professor began, pausing as his student turned to look at him. "It's okay. I already know that you spent the night in Jean's room. But I am not angry, nor am I really surprised. You two have been very good friends from the start, and I trust that you are both responsible and mature enough to be held accountable for your own actions. However, if Logan was here," he chuckled. "I would understand. But, this time, consider yourself lucky. Breakfast will be at ten."
With that, he left, leaving the two alone to sort things out. Scott turned his attention back to Sportsnet. "Yeah, consider yourself lucky, Miss Grey," he sneered.
Her jaw almost dropped to the floor in shock. "What!? So it is my fault that you stayed in my room?"
"Oh no, of course not," Scott replied, sarcasm dripping from every word. "You only begged me to stay, even deciding to stop me from leaving your room with your TK. No, to even think this was your idea..."
"Well you weren't exactly complaining yesterday!" she shot back.
"Neither were you!" he responded hotly. To their embarrassment, they both started to blush. "I face ten times the consequences you do for what happened yesterday. You're not the one who'll get disembowelled if Logan found out."
"You stubborn dumbass! Everything's always about you, isn't it? My mother will give Logan a run for his money on a bad day! I'll be neck deep in shit if she ever found out!"
Scott stared at her blankly, weakly pointing a finger at her. "You said...You swore."
"Yeah, so?" the redhead demanded angrily, hands on her hips.
"You just don't seem like the kind of girl that-" he stopped himself, getting back on topic. "Why would your mother be mad?"
"I don't know why," Jean growled annoyingly. "I just do. Maybe it has something to do with my telepathy and perhaps living with her for the past few years?" He rolled his eyes, but their effect was lost behind the wall of ruby lenses.
"Then stay here. Enrol at the Institute," he encouraged, ignoring the television. "Or do you not like it here? You were crying your eyes out yesterday when...you know."
Jean looked away sadly. "I...want to," she admitted softly.
"But I still want to be normal. Living here, it's just a constant reminder that I'm not," she sighed.
Scott got up off his seat and hugged her. "But you'll still be normal here. Think about it. We'll go to Bayville High here in the fall, surrounded by normal people. I'll always run home quickly after school to be on time for Logan's afternoon DR sessions, while you'll be doing homework after you finish beating off the football players with a stick. If you don't become an X-men-I mean X-girl- that is. You'll become popular, people would love you, guys will follow you around wherever you go, there will be no problems with powers, evil mutants or mad scientists...how much more normal can it get?"
Jean laughed, obviously flattered. "Ah, but that assumes that I will be popular, and everything you said will happen."
"You will, and they will," Scott said with a tone of finality that left no room for protest. "Hard to believe as it is, people become smarter in high school, and may just realize how wonderful you really are." Pause. "Stay Jean. Start with a clean slate. No more teasing, no more weekends wasted...plus the entire football team at your feet, yours to command. Hell, you might even date the star quarter-back, that tall, handsome, funny, popular, and incredibly stupid guy with blonde hair."
"Gosh, are you trying to tempt me, Slim?" she laughed.
"Uh, yeah. You bet I am." They sat down on Scott's couch.
"I'll think about it," Jean promised, flashing him her best smile. "Am I...Do you think I'm really that pretty?"
"You really don't think so? Or do you just want to be flattered?"
Jean blushed as red as her hair. "Maybe both?" she offered weakly. The redhead quickly got back on topic. "But people really think I'm ugly back at school, and they're right. I mean, I'm 5'7, taller than most guys, I have these freckles, my skin is all pale and pasty...they make fun of me all the time, Scott." Her eyes started to water as she looked at her feet sadly.
Sitting down on the nearest couch and pulling Jean down beside him, he gently grasped her chin, tilting it so that her eyes were level with his. "Hmm," Scott paused, turning her face one way then the other. "Yeah, I can see what your friends at school are saying. I see how they can pick apart your looks and make fun of them."
"You can?" Her stomach twisted in a tight knot.
"Yeah, Red, but looks aren't really meant to be taken apart. You're beautiful together – ugh, I don't know how to explain it." Instead, Scott just projected his thoughts to her, leaving the redhead blushing furiously. "That's better. Yeah...in a couple of years time, you may even become a model if you wanted to. Yeah...I can definitely see it happening."
There was a period of awkward silence as Jean's colour slowly faded back to normal. "I don't know how to respond to that, Slim," she admitted, hugging her knees to her chest. Nobody had ever thought she was attractive before...wait, that wasn't true. She caught a lot of boys from her school staring at her, but for some reason never made a move because she wasn't in the 'in' crowd, so to speak. What troubled her more was the fact that she knew Scott was telling the truth; you don't ask for his opinion unless you want a truthful, and sometimes painfully blunt, answer.
"Jean, you don't have to," Scott replied, his attention once again diverted to the television. "Just answer me this: is that – this – why you were so upset on Friday? Because you kept being made fun of at school?"
"Yeah, more or less, among other things."
"Is it because they think you are a mutant?"
"They do, but it's not in a way you think. It's like when you think the happy guy that sits next to you do drugs because he's always so hyper and high; that sort of logic. They don't really think I'm a mutant. Oh, and because I'm smart. Nerds, even people just labelled as one, generally don't have that many friends."
"Apology accepted." Scott rolled his eyes again. "If it helps, I'll beat the crap out of the people who make fun of you if you want me too," he offered.
"You'll beat up girls?" Jean chuckled, faking shock.
"No," Scott confessed awkwardly. He looked around, as if to see if anyone was listening, before leaning in to whisper something beside her ear. "but I can blow up their lockers. My powers are good for something." He felt a wave of satisfaction as Jean laughed happily. He liked making her laugh.
"You're the best."
"I know. How 'bout a movie before breakfast? I'm pretty sure you'll find nothing interesting about football anyway. We've got...How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, the, uh, Hot Chick, Pirates of the Caribbean, SWAT..."
As Charles Xavier rolled out of the common room, he came face-to-face with the one man that struck fear into his heart, as well as friendship. It had been so long, and he'd never thought that Magneto would ever return to this mansion with anything but destruction on his mind. However, Erik wasn't wearing his telementium helmet, which the Professor took as a good sign. A sign of peace. There was a long silence, as the two men regarded each other carefully, before Charles finally found his voice. "Welcome, my old friend. What brings you here to my humble abode?" he greeted, gesturing to the rest of the mansion.
"You always were the cheerful one, Charles. Where is she?"
"I'm sorry, Magnus, but I'm afraid I cannot allow you to see Jean. You see, your presence is quite intimidating, and I'm afraid she's terrified enough already as she is. Would you like some breakfast?" he asked cheerfully, trying to keep the mood light.
With a low growl, the man looked away arrogantly. "You didn't tell me she was so powerful, Charles," Magneto said calmly, picking up a small glass statue and turning it about in his hand. "I thought we had an agreement?"
Charles sighed. "Indeed, we did. But we still don't know how powerful she can become, merely that she has the potential. In any case, I knew that you figured out as much from what you picked up from Mystique and Destiny."
Magneto brushed past him and stopped just outside the common room, seeing a boy whisper something into a girl's - must've been Jean - ear, eliciting a warm spell of laughter that bounced merrily off the empty walls of the mansion. She didn't look all that threatening, but you can never judge a book by its cover, he supposed.
"So, Charles, tell me. What exactly did Irene show you?"
"Nothing you already don't know, or suspect, my friend," he lied. The man was sure that his friend knew nothing of Phoenix and Scott.
"Damnit, Charles, give me a straight answer! Is the honesty typical of our old friendship gone?" he asked coldly. His jaw clenched and his grey eyes flickered angrily. "I hope that is not the case."
Elbows resting on his wheelchair's armrests, he folded his fingers on top of each other under his chin. "Perhaps. Is there something you want to tell me, Magnus? What have you been up to last night?"
Unexpectedly, Erik started to laugh. "Discovered. You were always pretty quick to figure me out, Xavier. But you would be pleased to know that I did not kill them, merely destroyed their car. I still have your interests in mind, and consider them...once in a while." There was a pause as they watched Jean jump off the sofa and tackle Scott to the ground. "I don't want to be your enemy. I don't want to be their enemy (gesturing to the children), either. Why don't you join me? Together, we can achieve so much more!"
"We've already discussed this. As lucrative as your offer may seem, I must once again decline from it. I do not share your belief of mutant supremacy over humans. In fact, I am radically opposed to it. Please...don't ask me again, my friend."
"Always the peacemaker, huh?" Magneto grinned wryly. The two adults continued to watch the sight of Scott and Jean rolling, wrestling and kicking each other on the floor. "Brings back memories of the good old days, doesn't it Charles? Women...I swear they are workers of Satan." Pause. "Tell me, did you pick up any thoughts or feelings from either of those two?"
A warm smile graced the Professor's face. "Yes," he replied. "I would never probe their minds without permission, but sometimes, they do tend to broadcast their thoughts quite loudly. There's an attraction that exists between the two, more so on Scott's side, but only because Jean's a telepath and can occasionally pick up his feelings, whereas Scott is unable to. As of now, they are the best of friends - Jean typically offers emotional support if Scott starts to brood, while Scott helps her control her powers, and encourage their development. They fit quite well together, actually."
"I want to speak with her."
"Unless you want to test your mettle against several tonnes of dynamite, I beg the contrary. Especially if they manage to put two and two together and discover the true nature of your visit, and what you did...the special conditions that permitted it." He looked at Scott, who by now was on top of Jean tickling her to tears. "Scott is very...volatile. He tends to blast first and ask questions later."
Magneto almost suggested that he could handle Scott if necessary, but refrained from it. He didn't want to fight another mutant unless he had to. Besides, he knew how much Charles was fond of the boy. "Fine, but on one condition." He took a deep breath, closing his eyes to conceal any hint of emotion. "You will take care of Wanda for me, will you?"
"Of course," Charles assured, glad that he could help. He didn't think that it was wise that his best friend left his only daughter in a mental asylum, but he was in no position to meddle in their affairs. He could only offer support if necessary. Erik gave him a small smile, before walking away towards the main entrance and letting himself out. Charles Xavier had a feeling that the next time they met, it would not be on such friendly terms.
Damnit, Scott thought exasperatedly as he struggled with an angry redhead, I knew I shouldn't have read out 'Serendipity.' With one disk in hand, he battled fiercely against Jean to reach the DVD player and put his disk in before she put in hers.
"I am not watching some stupid romance flick!" Scott shouted, struggling vainly to fend off Jean's assault of floating pillows and cushions.
"Well, maybe I don't feel like watching SWAT either!" She gasped out in dismay as he blasted through the barrier of cushions, and rushed to pin him to the ground just a few feet before the TV. Feathers were flying everywhere.
"I live here! I should choose!"
"Over my dead body!"
"Consider it done!" Scott shouted back. Accidentally, his hand brushed gently over her stomach, drawing out a shocked laugh out from the back of her throat. No way! He almost smiled - it was over. He was going to win...if he could just gain control of the situation for one moment...
Nope, Scott thought, landing with an oomph! as Jean wrestled her way on top. She was more nimble than he was.
"I win," the redhead declared triumphantly, catching her breath.
Scott looked at where she was holding both his wrists against the floor. "Hey, it ain't over until it's over. You still got to make your way to the TV." The redhead narrowed her eyes at him menacingly. Jean was pretty when she was angry. As she considered her situation, the grip on his arms loosened – it was all that Scott needed. In a flash, he had her on the floor beneath him.
"Ha!" Jean mocked, nodding towards the television. "You still can't make it without letting me go."
"You didn't tell me one very important thing, Miss Grey."
"What?" The calmness, and confidence, in Scott's voice was more daunting than his words.
"You're ticklish." Before the redhead knew it, she felt his fingers dancing lightly over the sheer fabric of her pj's, finding herself unable to hold back the squeal of laughter that ensued. She thrashed and squirmed about, doing whatever she could do to escape his grasp, but it was no use - he was sitting on her.
"Please..." Jean begged, giggling, laughing and crying at the same time. "Stop! Stop!"
"Repeat after me - We are watching SWAT."
"WearewatchingSWAT! WearewatchingSWAT!" Triumphant, Scott immediately stopped his relentless offensive and made his way to the DVD player unimpeded, leaving Jean sprawled over the carpet breathing heavily. He was just about to put in the CD when he turned around to see the redhead, a defeated look on her face, tossing Serendipity onto the floor. His chest tightened up at the sight.
I don't friggin' believe this...he muttered, stretching over to grab the DVD box lying a few metres away. Just as he grasped its black, plastic surface, a slender hand reached out and held his wrist, stopping it from moving.
"It's okay. We can watch SWAT if you like," she told him, shooting him an appreciative smile.
"I don't feel like watching it anymore," he replied softly.
"Well, I don't want to watch 'Serendipity' anymore either." There was a long, awkward silence as both stared into each other's eyes, or glasses. Realizing that she was still holding his wrist, Jean quickly let him go.
It took them another fifteen minutes to decide, but, in the end, they watched both, together.
*blinks* What? Scott can watch Sportsnet too. He's a guy, isn't he? What kind of a guy does not watch sports? Sheesh.
Jen: You know what? You're absolutely right - Scott and Jean do come off as a bit too mature. I promise once they get more comfortable with each other, they'll start to be more immature. Or maybe being mature is the point - I have no freakin' idea right now ;)
Ahem. On the topic of sports, Jen, may I ask, what was the score the last time the Leafs played the Sens? I stopped watching after Ottawa scored five in a row ;)
Sorry, just *had* to say that :)