SHADES OF GREY
chapter three: i've read the end
"Just the usual," Emma Frost nodded as the bouncer removed a rope to the V.I.P. area.
"Oh, I don't get the drinks," he nodded back. "The bar's up—"
Frost concentrated a little harder, the bouncer returning the rope. His smile was wide and he told her he'd be back with her wine. Emma took a seat in the center of the closed room, a small, (self-proclaimed) group of "important people" crowding the dance floor below.
She'd never been there before. It was new, hip and unusually drab for her tastes – but it wasn't home. Emma was hardly in the mood to linger through the halls and discover her boyfriend reading his dead ex's journal.
"Your Chateau Lafitte," the bouncer handed the glass of wine to Emma a few moments later. "I didn't think they were ever going to open the bottle. No dancing tonight, Ms. Holbrook?"
"Not tonight, no," Emma smiled sweetly, pulling the wine to her lips. "I've a bit of reading to catch up on."
"The wine's coming out of my paycheck."
"You're too kind," Emma sat back, concentrating.
"Did you forget your book?"
"That will be all," Emma smiled again.
She didn't need the book.
Scott peered inside his bedroom while walking by, Jean's journal concealed in his right hand, the bedroom on his left. Emma was gone.
It didn't matter. Things had been tense enough lately anyway, without him reading Jean's journal. He'd barely opened it for a month.
He took a seat on one of the lounge chairs (thanks, Warren) in the Common Room, kicking his feet up in a rare moment of honest relaxation and ease. He'd been waiting for this moment.
Scott pulled the journal out, bringing it close to his face to breathe it in. He wanted to smell her. He needed to – but the journal had spent too much time buried in boxes. It smelled like… a journal.
Summers thumbed through the pages. He hadn't been reading chronologically, instead reading whenever, whatever, caught his ruby quartz at that particular moment.
He stopped at "HE SAID YES." It was written on the top of the page and Scott knew instantly it had been written on a Thanksgiving night while most of the X-Men were busy recovering from Gambit's Southern influence in their feast.
The day Jean asked him to marry him.
"I'm ready for another," Emma summoned the bouncer.
"That was quick."
"Something around here must be," Emma's eyes ran the length of him. "...darling."
Yes. He said yes. I suppose you gathered that… but Scott Summers is going to be my husband.
Ororo was right. But God, I was so nervous…. How to do it, when to do it. What to say. But then something happened.
I hadn't planned for Thanksgiving. But I just knew it was the time. The place. We were walking across the grounds—reminiscing, laughing, and it hit me. Again.
What do I have to be more thankful for than Scott Summers?
(Besides you, Journal. Of course.)
Scott smiled to himself.
He looked so beautiful.
I completely forgot the hours of rehearsal (Ororo wasn't quite the convincing Scott, leadership aside) and practically demanded he marry me.
After everything our team – our family – has gone through of late, it made perfect sense. No one preservers like the X-Men. And we were the first.
Our relationship has changed, grown… it's persevered.
He's my world. My Phoenix Force. It can only
Scott burst back to reality, back to the present. Ororo Munroe stood beside him, taking a seat and placing a steaming cup of – something – on the table beside his feet. Scott sat up, eyeing the cup.
"Let me guess," he leaned forward. "Wakandan?"
"San Franciscan," Ororo took a sip of her own cup. "Starbucks. But I poured it into our own glasses – it seems much more sincere that way."
"Thank you," Scott grinned and took a sip. He stared at the steam. "You pretended you were me? When Jean was—"
"I knew this day would come," Ororo laughed to herself.
"Where was I?"
"Asleep. Jean insisted we rehearse with your visor. And once in your sunglasses, as I recall. She wasn't sure which you'd be wearing."
"I slept through you stealing my visor?"
"You were dealing with Cairo's finest thief, Scott," Storm smiled. "And about to be engaged to one of the world's strongest telepaths. You stood no chance, old friend – especially with the way you sleep when it's raining."
Scott grinned. "You were quite the team."
Ororo's soft hand gloved Scott's. "You were, too."
"Team's change," Emma appeared in the doorway. "You've been on what, Storm? The X-Men, your little band of X.S.E. … The Fantastic Four, wasn't that impressive?"
Storm removed her hand.
"And now, my team. Lest we forget, darling."
"Emma," Scott stood.
"Cyclops," she nodded. "Shouldn't you be nursing your cat in—"
The windows blew open, shattering against the wall. Storm stood, stepping past Scott and moving toward Emma. She stood a few centimeters from Frost's lips.
"It's always two steps backward with you, isn't it, Emma?"
"You're paying for that."
"Charge my country," Storm placed her hand on Emma's shoulder. "Little Queen." Ororo turned. "Enjoy your evening, Scott. You may want to get Emma a shawl – she'd be more comfortable that way."
Emma charged forward, Ororo making her leave. "I want you to get rid of it."
"And I want you to ease up," Scott picked up the journal. "I'm with you, Emma. Aren't you tired of this song and dance?"
"More than you know," she tensed.
Scott's visor flared.
"Would you kiss your mother with those thoughts, Mr. Summers?"
"Goodnight, Emma," Scott made his way toward the doorway.
Summers stopped. He didn't turn.
"I've read the end, darling.
Cyclops settled into a spare bedroom, threw his shirt in the corner and climbed in the bed. He replaced his sunglasses with the goggles he wore while sleeping and opened the journal again.
He forced his way through an entry about Logan, reread an entry about Jean's father and paused briefly to brood about Emma. He erected the best psychic barrier he could, a gift from Jean that kept on giving, but placed the journal beside him.
He glanced down at the page – it was a page or two after the one written on that particular Thanksgiving night. Jean had written her name, rewritten her name, and written it again.
Jean G. Summers (no)
Jean Grey-Summers – perfect.
He couldn't agree more.