The Stuff of Nightmares

Rating: T for profanity, snarking

Characters: Jean, Scott, Warren, Darwin the Beagle. Jean's POV

Summary: Jean medicates Scott, and it's a critical failure

All standard disclaimers apply. Don't own 'em, am making no money off 'em and I don't acknowledge X3. Many thanks to Tanyaltp for the beta.

The Stuff of Nightmares

By ridesandruns

I fold my arms tightly across my chest and give Warren a cold stare.

"Listen very carefully," I say. "I will only say this once. Scott has had a very rough 24 hours brought on by a bad reaction to his new migraine medicine. He spent much of that time delirious, hallucinating and very, very upset. He is on his feet again – barely – and your job is to make him feel better. Be charming. Be funny. Be upbeat. Be snarky and obnoxious, upset him in any way, and I will beat you until you scream like Logan aboard the Blackbird when Scott's in the grip of a sugar high. Do you understand me?"

Warren looks hurt. "Jean, what do you take me for? I'm one of the good guys here. I know how to behave." And he pulls his shoulders back, adjusts his wings, strides into the kitchen where my poor wan-looking Scott is sipping a smoothie, and says brightly, "So Summers. I hear Jean drugged you up, then tied you up. You two just get kinkier all the time, don't you?"

And that's when my headache starts.

"Don't go there," Scott warns him. "You would not believe what those pills did to me."

"Your better half says you were higher than a kite and spouting gibberish. Sounds like the last time you reprogrammed the DR into some ancient battle scene that nearly got us all killed."

"I had these godawful hallucinations. Like a widescreen movie from hell. I was so out of it Jean had to put me in restraints. It was horrible."

"It's horrible to think that Jean keeps trying to kill you," Warren says. "Worse to think that you still haven't figured it out yet. First the food poisoning, now this. So what were the hallucinations? A tap-dancing Wolverine? An obedient beagle? Or something even more implausible?"

"Worse," Scott says. "I was convinced Jean went crazy and tried to kill us all."

"So did you not take basic psych in college, or were you just too busy pawing Emma Frost the day they discussed the subconscious and how it tells us things? Jean, please step away from those knives. It's making us all nervous."

"It was the strangest thing," Scott muses. "Honest to God, it was like I was sitting in a theater watching a movie. A badly made movie with all kinds of plot holes. It started with me getting on my bike to pick Jean up from a spa up north. She'd had her hair done or something."

"How'd I have it done?" I interrupt, sitting down with a yogurt. "I was thinking of getting it cut."

"You didn't get it cut," Scott says. "It was a lot longer, and much redder than you usually dye it."

I put down my spoon and stare at him. "Dye it?" I ask ominously. "I don't dye my hair."

"Jean, you don't mind if I pick up your dog, right?" Warren asks suddenly. "I'll just hold him here in my lap. Sort of like a shield. Not that I'd ever need a shield around you, though. Nope, everything's fine. Nice Darwin, good doggy!"

"Of course you don't dye your hair," Scott says hastily. "You'd never have to dye your hair. I was just confused. You looked great! Really great. At least at first." He frowns.

"At first, what?" I demand. "You hallucinated I went nuts, right? Why would you think such a thing?"

"The mind boggles," Warren mutters, clutching the dog tighter.

"So I had this bizarre dream in which I went to pick you up from some spa – I don't know the details, but there was some kind of healing waters or something – and you kissed me hello, then you atomized me or something and went evil. And sort of veiny."


"Well, you didn't look like you," Scott says. "I told you it was weird. Then you went back to the mansion and Logan hit on you, the pig, and you said you'd rather die than be with him, and that made sense. And Ro was acting very strange and demanding that everyone pay attention to her because of Oscar. Something like that."

"Oscar?" I say. "In your dreams I get 'veiny' and Ro gets a thuggish bodyguard. Wonderful."

"Then you atomized Charles, because you thought he was evil, then you hooked up with Magneto and started doing road work."

"Road work," I repeat. "With Magneto."

"You were trying to build a better Golden Gate Bridge," Scott explains. "I think. There were a lot of explosions, and Logan was wearing adamantium pants."

"Adamantium?" Warren interjects.

"Something indestructible," Scott says. "He was also running around trying to give inspirational speeches." He snorts. "It was pretty pathetic."

"Where was I in all this?" Warren asks. "Logan gets adamantium pants, Ro gets a monster ego, Jean gets veins, you get atomized, and what am I doing?"

Scott waves a hand vaguely. "You were all busy being emo. In the dream you were a lot younger. If it weren't for the wings, it wouldn't even have been you."

"Wonderful," Warren says bitterly. "Marginalized yet again. If there's ever a movie made of my life, I'm being played by Jude Law, you hear me? Not some no-name emo brat."

"So I kill you and Charles and find true fulfillment as a construction worker in Magneto's employ," I say. "What, I just take off and abandon Darwin? What about my research? And what did Hank have to say about all this?"

"Um, hon, actually, Darwin didn't exist," Scott says uncomfortably. "At all. And Hank was the only one acting like himself. Or looking like himself, really. Rogue was this sort of milquetoast person, not like our Rogue at all, and Emma Frost didn't exist either, I don't think."

"Well, obviously," I say. "Or she would have been the person I killed first. That bitch. And how could you possibly envision a world where Darwin didn't exist? What's wrong with you?"

"Am I the only one alarmed that the missing dog is the thing you find most disturbing about Scott's alternate reality?" Warren asks.

"Lola didn't exist either, if it makes you feel any better," Scott says.

"It doesn't," I say coldly. "That's really the only thing about this that makes sense. Clearly your subconscious is telling you that neither Emma Frost nor that damnable cat she gave you have any place in your life. You should listen."

"Where is Lola the demon Siamese, anyway?" Warren interrupts, looking around nervously. "She's not lurking around giving me that predatory look like she usually does. She's not getting ready to pounce on me again, is she?"

"She's with Charles," I tell him. "For her own protection. She went berserk when Scott was sick and tried to attack me, the little bitch. Like it was my fault."

"What nerve," Warren says. "When all you did was give him the pills that made him nuts."

"So anyway," Scott tells me quickly, "the whole hallucination thing was horrible and it all ended with Logan killing you. And then he was in charge of the team, which was really the most horrifying thing of all. And at the end of it all I saw the school from the air as I flew a seaplane. Because after you atomized me I ended up as a private pilot for Superman and Lois Lane and their kid. Who's a real pesky brat, by the way."

"Just what kind of drugs did you give him?" Warren demands.

"Never mind," I tell Warren. "The whole thing sounds like one of the summer blockbuster movies. All explosions, no plot and nothing resembling character development. You know, I bet if you made a movie like that, you'd make millions. From all the people who go to the movies just to see the special effects." I turn to Scott. "And baby, believe me, if I ever go evil, I'll make you evil, too. It wouldn't be any fun without you."

"He could be your consort," Warren suggests.

"That's right," I say. "Darwin can be our hell hound." I look at my dog, who has wriggled off Warren's lap to sample his shoes. "He can go evil and eat Lola. Except she's diabolical, so really, eating her would be a good thing."

"Darwin's not ever going to hurt Lola," Scott tells me. "Giving him that stuffed toy Siamese to chew on won't change that."

"Worth a try, though," Warren puts in.

"You know the one good thing about the hallucination nightmare?" Scott says. "My hair. I had great hair. Better than usual, even. The rest of you looked like hell, though."

"You were yelling your head off," I say. "There was a lot of, 'Jean, no!' I assumed you blamed me for giving you the pills."

"Imagine that," Warren mutters.

"Shut up, Warren. Wolverine aboard the Blackbird. Sugar high." I turn back to Scott. "You were also yelling, 'I've been jossed.' It was total gibberish. You were inconsolable, and Darwin, poor baby, was a wreck. That's why I let him up on the bed to cuddle with you, because he was so worried."

"I come to my senses to find myself snuggled up with a hairy, slobbering thing with bad breath," Scott tells Warren darkly. "For several horrifying moments, I thought it was Logan. But Darwin smells better."

"Well, naturally," Warren says. "He gets more baths."

"My poor puppy had a terrible time with all of this," I tell the men. "After it was all over, he was still acting out. He broke into Ro's arboretum and dug up a bunch of plants. She says it's because we're awful at training him, but I know he was motivated by worry and despair."

"Clearly, Scott's not the only one with an alternate reality," Warren says to no one in particular, trying to stop the dog from eating his shoelaces.

"In the dream you also got a codename," Scott tells me. "It was something birdy – 'Parakeet' or 'Pigeon' or 'Peacock' or something."

"Maybe it was 'Harpy,' " Warren suggests.

I give him a look. "Really, the most incredible thing here is that I didn't kill more people, or at least different ones. Feathered ones."

"The main thing is that it was all just a dream," Scott says firmly. "I know you'd never hurt anyone. Everyone knows you'd never hurt anyone."

"Right," Warren said, nodding. "Unless they pissed you off. And even then, you'd probably make it quick. Unless you were really pissed off, in which case you'd – ow!" he yelps as Scott kicks him.

"So who's up for breakfast?" I ask brightly. "I can make us pancakes. Or omelets. Or waffles! Who wants a waffle?"

The men exchange a look, and Scott swallows hard, then says carefully, "Um, Jean? What say we all eat out?"

"You know, I could take that as some kind of slam on my cooking abilities, but I'm going to be magnanimous and let it slide," I say. "Let's go. I'm hungry enough to eat a planet."

Note: X3 Total crap, OK? Superman Returns, not so much. And Phoenix!Jean ate a planet (sorta) in the comics. It's complicated. And Minisinoo's the one who convinced me that Warren looks like Jude Law.  /