Title: Underneath It All
Fandom: X-Men (comic verse with slight alterations)
Pairing: Jean Grey/Emma Frost
Rating: PG
Notes: Somewhat AU, basically after Genosha Scott takes off and Jean finds herself spending much more time with the Institute's newest addition, Emma Frost.
Disclaimer: Don't own them, though I do covet them.

xxx

Part I

Jean approached the medical bed slowly, her eyes on Emma Frost's prone body, roaming over her newly crystallized form - the secondary mutation that had saved her life, allowing her to survive the genocidal Sentinel attack on Genosha.

Jean scanned Emma again as she approached the bed, still surprised at the fact that she was able to do it at all. The same white blankness that she had sensed when they first brought Frost into the mansion was still there. Emma was in shock.

Jean reached out, her fingers jerking slightly as they encountered the warm and surprisingly malleable shimmering crystal that was Emma's skin. Lowering her fingers back over Frost's temple's she allowed her fingers a moment to become accustomed to the feeling of touching the blonde's diamond form before opening up her mind.

Slowly and gently Jean began to send warm, comforting waves into Emma's brain, massaging her thoughts tenderly trying to get the woman to relax and release her diamond form. Hank was convinced that Emma could retract the diamond skin but that because of the shock she had suffered in Genosha her mind was still was there reliving the trauma causing her body to react by keeping the protective shell in place.

Jean watched the blonde telepath's face for any sign of change as she continued to caressing her mind softly and was surprised at the strong pang of tenderness that hit her as she did so. Emma Frost looked impossibly young and vulnerable at the moment, despite her new mutation. Jean could make out her face and expression beneath the crystal mask and it made her heart hurt. Emma's carefully practiced haughtiness and aloof condescension were nowhere to be seen at the moment, and the lack of blue-blooded arrogance softened her features. She could see the blonde woman's lips trembling slightly as her eyes darted around beneath her closed eyelids reliving untold horrors.

Jean watched as Hank approached them, moving to stand on the other side of the bed of the bed as she continued to work on Emma's mind. As she gently projected soothing words into Emma's mind she watched as Hank carefully picked up the blonde's hand revealing soft, pale skin.

"It's working. She's slowly beginning to react the diamond covering," Hank said softly as if trying not to disturb Jean's concentration. "Keep going."

Emma started to relax more as Jean continued her efforts, the blonde's mind beginning to clear somewhat as she did. Instead of a milky fog of jumbled feelings, fuzzy memories began to open themselves up to her. She could make out Emma standing in front of a group of students gesturing to a projection screen, and then she was moving through the rows of students checking their work before moving back to the front of the room. Then Emma was gesturing with her hands making a dome-like structure in the air trying to show them how to visualize a stronger mental shield. Next she saw a small smile appear on the blonde woman's face, and felt a rush of warmth and affection from her as the memory went on and she gazed out at her students. Some were trying unsuccessfully to stifle laughter while the others were looking around the room completely bewildered as to what was so funny. Emma had been projecting various amusing images out and the children that were not forming their mental shields properly were giving themselves away by giggling.

The memory then started to fade in and out shaking and shimmering and Jean could feel the sudden tension and terror in Emma's mind. They were approaching the memory of the Sentinel attack, she was sure of it.

Jean stepped up her efforts inside of Emma's mind, trying to provide as much comfort as possible, then, after a moments hesitation had her astral form approach Emma's mind form. She then rested her hands on her shoulders before taking a deep breath and then hugging her arms around Emma. There was no reaction from the memory Emma, but she could feel a reaction in the woman lying in the bed beside her, Jean's presence soothing her somewhat as she went through the memory of the attack.

Jean's body shuddered as the images of the attack bombarded her, unconsciously squeezing the body she was holding tighter against her. The sound of the building collapsing around them was almost deafening, but it was the sound of the children screaming that pierced her ears and heart the most. She could see them trapped and running, bleeding and unmoving all around the classroom. The Emma in her arms tried to move to them but the building would lurch powerfully knocking her off balance, or huge chucks of the building would fall in her path blocking her way to them. Jean could feel her panic, could feel her thoughts of trying to get over to a few of the children, that if she could shield them with her body she might be able to save some them.

And then it all went black.

"Jean! Jean!"

Jean blinked trying to focus her eyes. She could make out a blurry blue form in front of her and knew that it was Hank calling her. He sounded alarmed and she immediately looked down at Emma to see if something had gone wrong with her. She noticed that the diamond covering had almost completely retracted and made a conscious effort to continue sending comforting thoughts to the blonde when Hank called her name again still sounding concerned.

Her name, Jean thought. Why was her calling her name? She looked back over at him and found that he was still blurry and unfocused. Without thought she brought her free hand up to her face and wiped at her eyes. Her hand came away wet.

She was crying.

"I'm okay," Jean heard herself say out loud although the answer wasn't strictly true. "It's just … I saw … what she saw. It was …" she trailed off holding Hank's gaze for a moment as she tried to find a way to describe it before finally giving up.

She was about to tell him she just couldn't put it into words at the moment when she was bombarded by intense feelings of confusion, fear, desperation and a jumble of other emotions she couldn't clearly delineate.

Looking down quickly Jean's eyes immediately locked on to Emma's wide sky blue orbs.

She was awake.

Shocked by the intense and desperate gaze trained on her Jean immediately tried to pull back her hand from where it had been resting on Emma's temple only to have a pair of soft hands wrap around her wrist holding onto her with enough force that it was almost painful.

"Don't go!"

The words came out small and chocked. She had never heard a tone remotely like it come out of Emma's Frost's mouth and she froze staring down at her for a long moment before she was able to shake off surprise and will herself into action.

Reaching out with her free hand she brushed a few strands of pale blonde hair off of Emma's forehead before stroking her cheek gently, repeating the gentle and soothing motions inside of Emma's mind.

"I've given her a sedative," Hank said as Jean continued to stare down at Emma, simply nodding to show that she had heard him. "She should be asleep soon," he went of softly. "It would be best for her if you were to stay with her until she does. She's obviously drawing some sort of comfort from your presence," he went on sounding as bewildered by the fact but happy. "And I'd rather not put any more stress on her by taking that away while she's conscious of it."

"Of course," Jean said simply. "I'll stay," she continued sitting carefully down on the edge of the bed, stroking Emma's head again when the blonde moved towards the warmth of her body.

TBC...