The cafeteria was busier than usual; Scott could hear the chatter before they came to the door, and he hesitated. To his surprise, so did Jean.
'Most of the people here are frinds of the Professor's,' Scott said. 'They're just finishing up the building work. All of them are nice enough, if perhaps a little distant.'
'It's not that,' she said. Her voice sounded a little strained. 'There's just... it's just...'
Scott wondered if she was crying; she sounded like she was. He wished he could see her face. 'What is it?'
'There's so many of them. I don't know if I can go in there.'
'What are you afraid of?' He wasn't mocking her; he knew all too well that her fear was probably justified. Afterall, the Professor had brought her here for a reason.
'I'm afraid of loosing contol again. I don't know if I could take it.'
Curious as he was, he didn't press her. 'Alright then, why don't you wait here and I'll bring some food out for both of us?'
He could almost feel her smile; the warmth that suddenly washed over him. 'Are you sure you can manage: I mean...'
He didn't want to admit that it was a valid concern. 'No problem,' he said instead, and left her for the bustle of the cafeteria.
The woman behind the counter knew him well enough, and had no trouble giving him a few extra sandwiches. He walked slowly, balancing the tray on one hand and feeling the air with the other. He might have looked stupid, but he'd gotten over it. It was easier to look stupid and not bump into things than the other way around.
But there was something on the floor. He tripped and felt the tray slip from his hand... except, instead of falling to the floor with a crash, it hovered. He could sense it floating in front of him as he quickly righted himself. Carefully, he reached out and took hold of it again, then made his way safely out of the cafeteria.
'Are you alright?' Jean asked him. It seemed to Scott that there was genuine concern in her voice, but he might have been hearing it only because it's what he wanted to hear.
'Yes... the tray... was that you?'
He felt her look away from him. 'Yes,' she said. 'Is there a place we can go to sit?'
So she didn't want to talk about it. That was fine. 'Is there grass out front yet?'
'Yes,' she laughed happily and, without warning, took his hand in hers. He didn't feel patronized, or pitied, as he had when they'd given him the aid. It felt too natural for that.
Jean picked a spot that was warm and sunny. Neither of them was ready to talk too much about themselves, so they made idle chit-chat, or else ate in companionable silence, and after, she walked with him back down to the lab.
'Are you having any more trouble, Jean?' the professor asked, as though he wondered why she'd returned.
'No, thank you Professor,' Scott could hear the difference in her voice now; it was no longer pained, as it had been when she'd last been in this room. It was bright, and sunny, and it made Scott smile.
'Then I will see you this evening.'
Alone in the lab, Scott mulled over the idea of asking the professor more about Jean, but he didn't want to pry. She would tell him when she was ready, he felt certain. There was one question he didn't feel comfortable asking her, though, and after shattering his third glass lense, he said: 'Professor, what does Jean look like?'
Scott heard Xavier stop moving and turn slowly to look at him. 'Why do you ask?'
'I'm curious, that's all...'
'Mmhmm.' He paused. 'I think I have an idea that will help speed this process along,' he said. 'And, with your permission, I'd like to invite Jean back here to help.'
'Okay,' Scott said at once, then his rational caught up with his desires. 'What did you have in mind?'
'Jean has a unique gift, but it is unpredictable. I admit I am trying to solve two problems at the same time, but I believe Jean will be able to look into your mind and uncover the psionic resonance we need to find the right material.'
Scott shuddered at the idea of what else Jean might find in his head. 'Can't you do that?'
'I've tried, but it is too deep in your subconsious for me to reach.'
'But you have one of the most powerful minds in the world,' Scott argued.
'Then maybe it is you who simply will not allow me access. It is up to you --- and Jean, of course, will have to concent, but I truely feel she is the only one who can help you.'
Whatever she finds in my head, Jean will be tactful enough not to say anything, Scott assured himself.
'Alright then, you can ask her.'