November 25th, 1:57 am.
Jean Grey was bored.
It had been just under three weeks since the Phoenix Force had left to revive itself in the White Hot Room thanks to Emma and her cuckoos, but it had forgotten one thing behind: Jean.
No more manifesting raptors, no more flame-lit eyes, no more burning away what doesn't work, just thoughts upon thoughts upon thoughts and a newly lethargic talent for telekinesis. In fact, she had gotten so used to being one in the same with the Phoenix she was a bit out of sorts with just being Jean, no more of a cosmic force than any other short-fused redhead on the planet. Would it be enough for her? She had, after all, tasted power beyond imagination, been a veritable god, a harbinger of apocalypse, and now was reduced to just being a mutant woman.
Jean traced her fingertips along the moonlit window ledge thoughtfully. Just a woman, she mused. It had been ages since Jean had seen to any of her womanly needs. Her relationship with Scott had waned without proper nurturing and attention. She had gotten the feeling of trying to hang on to a match in a maelstrom, and known when it was time for the flame to be snuffed out.
Now Emma had Scott. A new Scott she had rekindled from the dead embers Jean had harbored so long. She was happy for him. For them both.
But what about me?
She stared dumbly across the darkened grounds of the Xavier Institute from her perch by her new bedroom window, down an entire floor from Emma and Scott's. Did they really think she'd cause any trouble?
A sudden craving for a warm drink stirred her from her sullen trance. She slipped into a satin dressing gown and padded barefoot down the hallway towards the staff kitchen. As she walked she scanned the cupboards with her mind and pulled open one containing a little box of chai tea.
In a few minutes she was adding boiling water to a subtle mixture of milk, honey, and soothing Indian spices.
"That smells awful nice, Red."
Jean nearly dropped the kettle in surprise as she spun around to see Logan lurking in the doorway with his burly forearms folded across his chest.
"Logan, how long have you been standing there?"
"Long enough to hear you humming Bobby Darin to yourself." He smirked, obviously amused.
Jean inwardly cursed his uncanny ability to slip past her sensors, like mist over tripwires.
"Great." She rolled her eyes to hide her embarrassment to be found at such an ungodly hour, alone, humming showtunes in her pajamas.
"Actually I'd say you were a tad flat." That same unwavering smirk pursued her.
"Well I wasn't expecting an audience or maybe I'd have choreographed it for you." She said with a hint of fake annoyance.
He walked over to the fridge, pulling out a tupperware of mysterious leftovers. "What's got you up so late anyhow?"
She stared into her tea mug, watching the milk swirl into the streams of nutmeg and cinnamon leaking from the teabag. "Oh. I, um, was just…doing some thinking."
Logan looked up with interest from the microwave he was putting his food into, "Really?"
"Yeah. Is that so strange?"
Logan pushed 'start' and sighed. "Of course not darlin'. We've all been walking on tip-toe waiting for you to blow your top."
The look on Jean's face made it very apparent to Logan that that was the wrong thing to say. He hurriedly attempted to cover, "I mean like, cause of Scott and Emma being together now and-"
"Oh for Christ's sake Logan, grow up! I got over that AGES ago."
"Of course I did. It's not like Scott and I had been enjoying a healthy and fulfilling married life the last while. Why do you think I-" she checked herself.
"Why do I think you what?"
Jean really didn't want to talk about this. Two in the morning alone in the kitchen with Logan, was not a good time for confessionals. She sipped at her tea and gathered her thoughts.
"I was almost unfaithful to Scott first."
"Almost hardly counts Jea-"
"Shutup!" she silenced him with a look. This was a touchy subject and she had no time for nitpicking. The microwave beeped and Logan looked at Jean pleadingly. His stomach growled audibly and she suppressed a smile.
"You mind if I…?"
"Of course not, go ahead."
He hastily removed the steaming container from the microwave and dug into it. She waited in silence, drinking her tea, while Logan wolfed down what looked like the remainder of the turkey from dinner and a miniature mountain of potatoes. As he was scraping up the last bit she found herself continuing as though their conversation had never stopped.
"As I was trying to tell you Logan, I would have been unfaithful to Scott first if you hadn't turned me away."
Logan nearly choked on his mouthful of sweet potatoes. He swallowed hard, face contorted with shock and effort.
Jean looked sideways, "That night I came to you in the woods."
"Jesus Jean I-"
"'It would never work between us.' That's what you told me. So that, I suppose, is that." She looked back at him, a challenge in her eyes that dared him to try and tell her otherwise.
Logan put down his utensils chewed his inner cheek. Jean could see his mind remembering the moment. A quiet fall night, like this one. She had come to him to seek what Scott had ceased to possess for her. This was the one other man she knew, well, she thought wanted her. She knew it was a mad desperate thing to do, but at the time, she was so lonely and confused and really didn't give a damn.
Logan still hadn't said anything. Jean was beginning to worry she had crossed the line when suddenly he spoke.
"I didn't think," he began, staring hard at the oak surface of the table "it was right. You and me I mean."
"I see." She said curtly, rising to put her mug in the dishwasher. She hadn't been prepared to realize how hurt she was by his rejection and now found herself annoyed with him.
"Jean," he stood as well "I didn't mean it like that. I just thought-"
"You just thought what? Huh? That you'd flirt with me incessantly for years and then finally, FINALLY, when I show a glimmer of interest, it's suddenly all this doomed love be the 'better man' bullshit?"
He just stared at her.
Jean was startled by her revealing outburst, but remained in the kitchen, glaring at him. She was also a bit ashamed of yielding to the other's expectations of her losing her temper, but she was mad, and worrying about appearances got in the way.
"In those last months none of you even thought about me, and I don't mean me as in the house where that bird roosts, I mean the real me! It was always Phoenix this, and Phoenix that! Well what about JEAN this and JEAN that!"
The dishes became to rattle in the cupboards and Logan took a step towards her. "Red please, I'm sorry I ran away from you in the woods. I just, I never wanted you like that."
Jean stared daggers. "Like what?"
"Confused. Lost. Alone."
Jean held up a hand "Okay, but then why did you say what you said?"
"Because I can't resist you Jean. And if I hadn't walked away I woulda done something I wouldn't have been proud of later."
"So you said it to put me off."
Jean suppressed a slightly manic laugh.
"Well, I'm afraid you didn't do a very good job."
Logan inclined his head curiously, "What?"
"Did I stutter?" She asked sharply, folding her arms across her chest.
He moved cautiously towards her, "No, no you definitely didn't stutter."
"So?" she said, realizing she had run clean out of sensible things to say and was becoming more and more distracted by Logan's proximity to her.
"What are you saying Jean?" he couldn't have hid the fervidness in his eyes from a blind man.
"I'm saying," she said, enunciating every word "That you didn't do a very good job putting me off."
"Good." He said, and before Jean knew it she was pressed against the countertop in the midst of a passionate kiss. Her sense reeled. It felt like millions of little lights, long dormant, were waking up inside her skin. They broke the kiss and she gazed up at him, wide eyed.
"Are you messing with me-eek!" she squealed a little as his tongue snaked around to lick under her ear.
"Of course I ain't Red."
"Even though you-"
"Forget what I said in the woods. This is what, is all I've been wanting. I've missed you like hell."
Relief washed over her. He wanted her. The man she wanted wanted her. Such a simple thing, why had it been so hard to obtain?
Wordlessly she took his hand and led him back down the hall to her bedroom, using her telekinesis to firmly close the door. Logan held back a grin as he heard the locks click shut behind them.
"That's handy." He commented, climbing over her as she reclined on the bed.
"You have no idea." She said, reaching for his belt with her hands and removing his shirt with her mind.
"Cyke doesn't know what he's missing"
She put a finger to his lips, "Shhhh, no mentioning Scott." Logan said nothing as she threw aside her dressing gown to unveil a translucent green chemise.
"You're not scared the big bad Phoenix is going to come reclaim my body, are you?"
Logan scoffed and looped his hands around her lower back, "Reckon I can handle the Phoenix."
"Yes of course," she said, sassily quirking an eyebrow at him "but can you handle me?"
Whatever Logan was about to say was lost in a muffled groan as he slid naked under the sheets with Jean.