*Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters.. etcetera. ;) This is Part II of Widowed, the story in which Jean Grey faces the loss of her husband (Scott, my own personal fav.. ;) ), after the 12 nonsense. This also takes place before X-Men: Revolution.


"Paper or plastic, Miss?" The bagger at the local grocery store asked, staring at Jean.

"Does it really matter?" Jean thought to herself. After all, it wasn't as if she would have to strain herself getting either paper or plastic bags into her home. Jean smirked, thinking of a time she and Bobby had gone grocery shopping and he replied to the question with a "yes."

"Ma'am? Which would you like?" He asked again.

"Oh, I'm sorry.. Plastic is fine," Jean spoke. The bagger began to do his duties, and was finished shortly after. It didn't take long for Jean to reach her car, either, and she quickly unloaded the groceries the way any normal human would've had to.

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Jean stirred. It had been hours since she'd arrived home from the grocery store and unpacked using her telekinesis. Had she fallen asleep? Summers rubbed her eyes as she had her cup of warm tea float to her from the coffee table. She took a drink to discover she had definitely fallen asleep: the tea was now cold.

"Come in," Jean said aloud, looking to the doorway. It opened, revealing an old friend of hers. Ororo Munroe, the "weather goddess" known as Storm.

"You will never cease to amaze me, old friend," Storm smiled. She removed the hood of her sweatshirt, allowing her beautiful, long white hair to fall down and scatter around her shoulders.

"You came an awfully long way, Ororo," Jean said, standing. Walking to her friend, she embraced her.

After a moment, Ororo pulled back. "It was the least I could do for a dear friend who has turned her back on me."

Jean looked away, and walked to the kitchen. "I'll put on some tea."

Hours came and went, and saw the two still talking -- sipping away at their drinks, several refills later. Jean couldn't help but indulge in the occasion. Although she had secluded herself from the X-Men, and purposefully, she loved every second of the bonding which had been taking place.

Things almost felt normal.

But, of course, the lingering thought of Apocalypse was fresh in her mind. The thought of his twisted face as it merged with Scott's -- his insane laughter. For the first time since she'd met him years and years ago, she was forced to look at Scott and detect a stranger.

"Jean?" Ororo interrupted her thoughts. She had been staring blankly for several moments.

"..."

"Jean."

Jean shook her head. "I'm sorry, Ororo.. I.. I just.."

A comforting look swam across Munroe's face. "I know that you're hurting, Jean. We've all suffered from Scott's death. Things will never again be the same with the X-Men. Charles is.."

A look of despair arose on her friend's face at the mention of Xavier. While Jean knew that Charles wasn't to blame for Scott's death, it was so hard to forgive him.

They had been here -- in the very cabin in Anchorage she and Storm now sat -- away from the X-Men.

Away from super-villains.

Away from all of the violence and hate.

They were trying to start a family -- attempting to be a normal, happy family. A family that wasn't sucked into an alternate reality on their honeymoon.

She loved Charles Xavier. He was more than a friend -- he was family. But he was the one who had summoned the two of them back.

It was just so hard.

".. surely you can understand that."

Jean had tuned her out.

"I know he's alive, Ororo," Summers spoke, now standing.

Ororo joined her. "Jean, you mustn't do this to yourself."

"He's inside that monster, Ororo.. but even as faint as it is, I can feel our rapport. I can feel Scott. I toss and turn in the middle of the night. I just know he's trying to contact me.. that he's trying to reach me.. telling me not to lose hope. That I can't -- even though everyone else has. If I don't help him, Ororo, no one will."

Ororo only looked at her. No words could reach her lips. There weren't words for the concern which she had.

Jean sighed, sitting back down. "You're probably right."

________________________________


Jean awoke the next day to the sun and breakfast.

"It's been far too dark in this cabin for far too long," Ororo smiled, placing the tray of bacon and eggs next to Jean's bed on the small table.

Jean smiled, looking to her friend. "You're too good to me."

"I know," Storm said, returning the smile. The two women paused for a moment before they began eating, right there on the bed which Jean had slept in.

Time passed -- several hours, in fact. Ororo's presence had made the empty cabin much easier to bare.

"It's about time you exercised your abilities and talent in other ways than unloading groceries, Jean," Ororo grinned as she led her friend outside. Jean zipped her fleece, knowing instantly what Storm wanted her to do.

Squinting, the two were suddenly invisible to anyone who may have seen them as they took to the winds -- Jean using her telekinesis; Ororo her natural ability of flight. The two soared with the birds, laughing and smiling as if neither had a care in the world.

Gliding through clouds, they couldn't help but enjoy themselves. They were like teenagers again.

And that's when it happened.

A bullet slammed through Ororo's chest, and she began to fall to the ground nearly instantly; clutching the wound the best she could.

Jean, in shock, couldn't find the words to scream. She reacted instantly, diving for her friend as well as using her telekinesis to lift her to Jean's height. Within moments, Jean had reached the ground -- Ororo in her arms.

She didn't understand. Even if she had had a lapse in her mutant abilities (and thus allowing someone to see the two), why would someone fire a gun at Storm?

The bleeding was terrible.

Heading towards the cabin, Jean was in for a horrible shock.

An explosion rocked the otherwise silent area, the two women flying backwards into the cold snow. Jean stumbled up, her cabin in flames.

Snikt.

"We're in trouble, Jean."