Twisted Soul - By Darlin

Summary - I've never liked the White Queen and hated the fact that Scott turned to her instead of Jean but lately I've been thinking why would they have him do that and so here's my take on why Scott would act as he has.

Disclaimer - We all know Marvel owns the X-Men and I make no profit from my little story.

xox

Scott wondered what it was that made him so attracted to telepaths. He wouldn't have thought anything about it except that his relationship with Emma had made him reflect upon the weird path his life had taken lately. With Jean's death he knew he should be in mourning but it wasn't as simple as that and no one but Emma understood. Jean was dead and there wasn't anything he could do about it. As bad as it sounded it wasn't the first and probably wouldn't be the last time that she would die. He was almost positive that she would return. He didn't know when or how but he would lay odds that she would be back. She always came back.

It wasn't normal what she did. Frankly it was disturbing. It messed with his head. He knew by all rights he too should be cold and rotting in a grave or at least dissipated in the air or something empty and final but he hadn't died any more than Jean had before or now. Death didn't mean the same thing for X-Men as it did for humans. He didn't know if that was a good or a bad thing but he did know that it meant there wasn't any reason to mourn for a wife who would be back.

In fact, now that he thought about it, it made him angry. He felt as if he were being held hostage by the Phoenix that held Jean gripped in its obscene cycle of death and life. That was one reason amongst many why he had given up on Jean. No one could understand why he'd given in to a mental flirtation, no one but Emma. Anymore he didn't care. In the old days he would have cared, would have acted as expected and never done more than look at Emma in her seductive attire. Looked and lusted but never anything else.

It would have been similar to the time when Elisabeth Braddock, Betsy, Pyslocke, British Asian bombshell had attracted his attention. He'd lusted for her once upon a time though no one had found out. When Jean got suspicious he forced himself to snap out of it and that was that. It wasn't something he'd done intentionally. It wasn't even his fault. How could it be his fault when half the X women ran around almost naked all the time whether they were lounging around or on duty? He should actually be given a medal for not giving in to all the temptation running around him. At least Jean had let it go. She never said much about it. He knew she could tell he hadn't stopped loving her and that he was only attracted to Betsy on a physical level nothing more. Betsy had been exotic and bold and not afraid to show her sensuality unlike Jean but she wasn't a woman he'd wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

What he most wanted from a woman was stability and reliability. He also expected her to know who she was and to be happy with herself. Betsy had never been happy with who she was as far as Scott could recall. She'd been afraid and desperate when he'd known her before she'd morphed into the Asian bombshell. Then after the change she was just feeling out the new look and everything that went with it. He didn't think a new look and new skills changed the doubt that she'd carried with her all her life. He felt she still didn't know who she was or what she wanted, not like Jean. He figured that was why Betsy had dumped Warren for a kid almost fresh out of high school. Now he was beginning to sound as cynical as Logan. He had to admit that Neal wasn't a youngster but for some reason the whole Neal Betsy thing angered him. His anger seethed at the memory, something everyone expected from Logan not him.

If he asked the others he knew they would all agree with that assessment too. He wasn't what they expected him to be any more. He'd changed and none of them were happy with it. He didn't understand why either. As much change as they'd all experienced you'd think they'd be used to it by now. Hank had morphed into a feline or something; Kitty was back with them along with her dragon Lockheed. Good little fighter that dragon. And how could he leave out Peter - back from the dead after dying to save mutant kind from the legacy virus! Nothing ever stayed the same. No one ever stayed dead. Everything was always changing. He expected Illyana back any day now. Okay, that was more morbid than cynical. He'd have to watch that.

Maybe his humor was a little more morbid and cynical than before but so what? People change. It was only healthy. That's what they did as X-Men; try to change the world even if it was just one person at a time. He couldn't even count how many times they'd let known criminals stay with them hoping to convert them. It burned him up that everyone still got on him about Emma. What about all the other harden villain's they'd harbored like Magneto, Sunfire, Rogue, the Juggernaut and even Lorna for that matter? Sure Sunfire might have been misled and Lorna possessed by Malice but Magneto had been given a chance and blown it. Now he was hanging out with the Professor as if Jean's murder hadn't even happened. No one was going on about that except Logan of all people. No one else seemed to think there was anything wrong with the Professor harboring a killer - Jean's killer - so why did they all have to make a big deal about Emma, especially since she'd been with them for years now? She hadn't reverted and she hadn't killed anyone. He knew she never would. She'd never let any of the students die either. Not as long as she could still breathe she wouldn't. Why couldn't everyone else see that? She wasn't evil but dedicated and so what if her methods were a little harsher than what they preferred? His son Nathan was inclined to use harsh methods as well and no one rejected Cable or talked about him behind his back.

They'd trusted Rogue for years and she hadn't reverted. And look at Marko Cain - Alex had been so certain of Cain and he had to give his brother credit there because Cain hadn't reverted to his evil ways though who knew where he was now or what his fate would be. Then there was Logan who might be a valuable member of the team since he'd toned down that aggressive wild man side of his but he sure wasn't a Boy Scout either. Logan was a killer by instinct even if he was able to control himself better now. His methods were just as harsh if not worse than Emma's. After all these years that was one thing Scott was sure of.

He knew Logan, had accepted him for all that he was just as he'd accepted Emma and the others. Scott also knew about Logan and his wife. He knew nothing had ever happened between them but he was aware that when he'd started fooling around with Emma, even though it was in his mind, that he'd left Jean vulnerable for anything to happen. But there was something else that Scott had learned over the years and he knew it without a doubt in his mind. Logan had a solid sense of honor. He'd never take advantage of another man's wife when she was vulnerable like that. Of course now it was a whole new ball game or it would be when Jean came back because Scott wasn't going to wait for her any more than he did the first time despite his ignorance then. He was through, finished and the sooner everyone accepted that the sooner they'd find their own happiness. Jean was dead for the moment and they needed to accept that. Obviously Jean did because she hadn't come back yet.

As much as he hated to admit it and he certainly wouldn't want the others to know this but he was relieved that Jean wasn't coming back in the near future. It was too soon. When he'd returned she hadn't once made an effort to understand him after all he'd gone through. She had just thought he'd react like she did when she came back from the dead - unchanged, unspoiled by the taste of death and evil personified. Well for Jean maybe she didn't care if she'd killed a whole planet of beings and she could just la la da di her way back into their lives without being affected but for him merging with Apocalypse was a foul experience that still haunted his dreams. It was worse than his worse nightmares had ever been. Jean had never even thought to ask him about it.

With their shared telepathic link he somehow thought she would just know and she would understand and everything would be okay even if she didn't ask. He'd been completely shattered to discover that she didn't seem to care, wouldn't acknowledge what had happened, how he had changed because that meant that she didn't care as much as he had thought she did and that was wholly inconceivable to him. She couldn't see that and he didn't know why she couldn't. He needed her but instead she'd acted as cheerful and nonchalant as she always did, never discussing the important issues, just breezing over them or dismissing them as if they were unimportant minor events in their lives.

How could someone lie in the same bed with their spouse and share their thoughts through a mind link they initiated in order to be closer to them and yet ignore the most painful ones? There was simply no way she could deny that she was privy to his deepest feelings and thoughts. So what was he supposed to think? And if she refused to go to the dark recesses of his mind to help him deal with the changes within him where was he supposed to turn? No one understood that she didn't care enough to delve into his twisted soul and reach out to help him. They didn't understand that the twisted soul of Emma the White Queen was what had kept him sane.

By Jean's mere lack of action any woman could have seen it as a sign that she no longer cared, whether Jean was too scared or too respectful to dig into his mind that way didn't even matter. Not to Scott and not to Emma. Emma had seen it as an invitation to take over and Scott hadn't been able to resist her. He'd tried. He really had but he was so confused. Jean hadn't understood his need for help, a need that he himself couldn't see much less ask for. He loved Jean and he knew he always would. She was his first love and you never got over your first love. They'd fumbled together in the back seat of Charles' Rolls Royce when they were still teenagers neither of them sure of what they were doing, bumping noses as they learned how to kiss for the first time, pretending to be confident despite sweaty palms and not knowing where to touch or how. She'd understood him then, accepting his clumsy efforts with smiles of assurance and words of tenderness. He'd never forget those days. He could never have them back, could never relive them with anyone else not even with Emma.

Emma was the complete opposite of Jean and what he had with her now was entirely different than what he'd had with Jean. Emma was wanton, insatiable - emotionally as well as physically. She wanted everything Scott had to offer and she didn't care how dark or twisted any part of him was. She wanted it all and he loved her for that. He'd never known a woman more in need of love than Emma and just pure need. She needed him almost desperately and because he needed that from a woman, young virginal Jean, lost Phoenix, confused Madelyne, he couldn't not succumb. And then she gave him what she most wanted - acceptance. Acceptance of all his dark desires and dreams, of whom and what he was entirely, completely. She forced him to confront his demons, helped him to survive while Jean was willing to let him shrivel and fade in hopes that he would return to being the old Scott, the old Slim she'd fallen in love with but what kind of love was that?

It wasn't the type of love he needed or even wanted. Jean was always too ready to accept things as they were without dwelling upon them, accepting Madelyne, accepting Betsy as if they were minor nuisances not worth the trouble, thinking his feelings would blow away and disappear on their own without her having to do anything about it. And it had worked too, for a while. Years ago he'd deserted his wife and son with barely a second thought something he would never had ever imagined doing when he was young and idealistic. But he had gone off to be with Jean as if it was the most sensible thing in the world, just as he'd forced thoughts of the beautiful sensuous Betsy from his mind - just a thought and he was cured. Now things were different because he was different. Times change. People change. He couldn't help it and he couldn't alter it, wouldn't even if he could. It was who he was now.

He was tired of trying to pretend that he was perfect and had all the answers like everyone expected. No one had liked the way he was before and no one liked the way he was now. He couldn't win for losing. They didn't like how demanding he'd been, said he was too uptight, and now he was too unfocused especially regarding Jean. Didn't they see there wasn't anything he could do for Jean? And besides that no one else was doing anything about bringing her back. He wasn't the one with the uncanny telepathic abilities able to suck out a life force from where ever they might be lurking. No, that would be the Professor's job but Charles was gallivanting around with a murderer not at all concerned about Jean's fate. Why wasn't anyone getting on Charles' case? Why didn't someone want to hunt down Charles Xavier and make him answer for his betrayal of Jean?

Who was he kidding? Most of the staff and students thought the professor could do no wrong despite his past history. The only one besides Logan that had any doubts about the professor was Ororo. Although Scott wasn't sure she'd been right about the professor going crazy again if he'd gotten hold of The Destinies Diaries he'd seen the man loose it too many times to feel certain that he wouldn't have. Still, he knew Ororo wouldn't confront the professor even though Jean was supposed to be her best friend. And wouldn't you know it, no one was mad at Ororo for her lack of emotion and action. It was just him they were all mad at, him and Emma.

Well he'd had enough of their disdain and dissatisfaction, their whining and grumbling. He was a grown man with a job to do, a job that no one else wanted. He had to fill the professor's shoes and you'd better believe he would fill them even better than Charles had. He might not be able to read minds but Emma could and with her by his side he would make the school and the X-Men ten times better than they'd ever been. Already Emma was a bigger help to him than he could have hoped for. She never hesitated, unlike Charles, to use her telepathy to control students and staff. The school was beginning to have a semblance of order now and he appreciated that. Fact is he liked everything just the way it was. He was finally in charge running things his way. He could still remember the time Xavier had reprimanded him in front of the newly assembled X-Men as if he were as fresh and inexperienced as they were. This was his chance to prove that he could handle the responsibility. He thrived on responsibility. It gave him a reason to exist and with Emma life wasn't as ominous as it had seemed before when he was just sailing along aimlessly as with Jean following the professor's orders whether wise or not. Now Scott had a mission and a woman who would help him get it done. He was happy. One day they would understand that happiness meant more than anything else.

Yes he missed Jean and probably always would and he knew he loved her more than he would probably ever love Emma but it was Emma that was here in the flesh today not a million tomorrows away. Emma was more than what she presented, more than the cold sex kitten she looked like. She was confident, beautiful, steady, just as twisted as he was and she was constant. She wouldn't be blowing up in a whoosh of flames ready to consume entire worlds along with friends and enemies without discretion. When Jean returned Scott would have children and a life he could cherish. He would have a lifetime of happiness rather than sorrow and woe waiting for some entity that was or wasn't Jean. When she rose again she would be fine without him. She was that way. She could cope with anything. She didn't need him as much as he'd needed her or like Emma needed him. He needed that, someone to need him with the same desperation that he needed her. Jean never had until she'd become the Phoenix.

It was then that she'd asked him to share a telepathic bond, a continual link because she needed him so much. Only she'd grown out of that. She'd learned to survive without him during the time he was gone. It hadn't been the same for him. He'd loved Jean so much and needed her so deeply that he had turned to her clone. At the time he'd denied what it was that he was doing, seeking a substitute for Jean, but Madelyne hadn't been enough, hadn't been the real thing and that was why he could turn his back on her and their son and run off to be with Jean. Jean was his heart, even now, and she'd needed him then. But she'd grown out of needing him even before her demise. She would never need him like she used to. She was stronger than him. She'd grown where he had not. She was the Phoenix, a survivor.

Maybe it was the Phoenix entity that made her so much more self sufficient than before. Maybe she had grown to love him less and thus needed him less. Scott would never know. He didn't want to know either. He was tired of the Phoenix, tired of a life with no certainties. He was tired of being needy and not having the feeling reciprocated. He wanted a partner that matched him with all his need and all his strife. Emma was that woman. Jean wouldn't understand it any more than the others even when she came back. He only hoped she would try. Surely she would see that he was only human and as a man he had to go on with his life. A man needed a woman. The Phoenix didn't need anyone. Jean would be fine even when he was dead and gone for good. He just hoped she wasn't the one to take him out.