The Things We Do For Love – by Darlin
Disclaimer – These are all Marvel's characters that I'm playing with, no profit made, no copyright infringement intended.
A/N – This is my second Scott story and my first Jott. It's set in the early days long before Storm, Wolverine, Kurt, Sean, Peter and John joined. And I know I should be finishing AS&CW but this just came to me one day this month and I couldn't ignore it. For some reason Scott always fascinates me. I could never say he's a favorite – that would be Storm and Wolverine, Remy and Jubes and – well Scott's way down the list but I find him quite intriguing. There're just so many intricacies about his make up that I sometimes can't help but explore.
Not a song fic by the way.
Too many broken hearts have fallen in the river
Too many lonely souls have drifted out to sea
You lay your bets and then you pay the price
The things we do for love, the things we do for love*
When Jean first met Scott she noticed immediately how handsome he was despite the non descriptive outfit he had on and the glasses that covered his eyes from view. After she got to know him she never thought about the glasses he was forced to wear to hold back his optic blast but his taste in clothes sometimes led her to distraction. His wardrobe was based on nothing but solids, no plaids, no patterns, nothing bright but rather subdued black or navy blue along with the requisite white shirts. The somber colors fit him certainly but she often wondered if he wore such dark colors to keep others from knowing his true self. Was he afraid to show himself other than the stoic leader, afraid to show that sweet, hopeful, sometimes goofy and even naïve side of his that she'd come to love but few others knew? After a while she didn't care why he dressed like a drab old man she simply got it into her head to fix the problem, essentially to change him although she viewed it more as enlightening him by helping him overcome his poor taste.
"We need to go shopping for you," she told him one day after dinner.
"I don't need anything," Scott replied and stuffed a forkful of mashed potatoes into his mouth, the subject immediately forgotten.
"I didn't say you needed anything, honey just that we need to do this."
"Scott hates shopping," Bobby said, not taking his eyes off his plate or roast beef, potatoes and green beans.
"That is unless you have a list and know exactly what you wish to procure then make a hasty beeline to that exact location, purchase said required object, and retreat as quickly as you came," Hank added.
"I know that, Hank, Bobby thank you very much but this is a private conversation between me and Scott."
"Scott and I," the Professor said.
"If you wanted a private conversation you should have chosen another location," Warren said. He didn't conceal the scowl on his face. He still hadn't reconciled the fact that Jean had chosen Scott over him, something Jean sometimes forgot.
"Scott, we're going shopping tomorrow first thing after breakfast," Jean said, her voice firm and commanding.
She cleared her throat, paused a moment and looked at each man as if daring them to contradict her. But the men mostly kept their eyes on their plates while either stuffing their mouths quickly or chewing vigorously, including Scott. When no one said anything she nodded in silent approval then scooted her chair back, got up and took her plate to the sink. Only when they heard water running did the men look up from their meal. They glanced at each other warily while she washed her dinnerware then set them on the dish rack to dry before she dried her hands on a towel and sauntered out of the kitchen.
"Boy oh boy, you're in for it now," Bobby whispered. "When my mom said we were going shopping, even for something as simple as a pair of stupid tennis shoes, we'd be out all freaking day long and she'd have me carrying all these bags for her and they weren't even mine! And then by time we did get around to getting me some shoes I'd have a whooping headache, sore feet from walking all day and she always ended up threatening to kill me when we got home. Man! That was one of the worse things about being a kid."
"And you're not a kid now?" Hank teased.
"Shut up, Hank."
"Ah, Robert let me enlighten you as to why you suffered so completely whilst shopping with your parental unit."
"Oh, do please."
"You either didn't know or you forgot honesty simply does not pay when you go shopping with a woman," Hank said.
"What do you mean by that?" Scott asked.
"Just tell her everything she tries on is pretty, that she looks lovely in it and it in no way makes her look fat – she will ask you this and often rest assured," Hank replied.
"She isn't going shopping for herself," Scott countered.
The other men exchanged looks and chuckled knowingly.
"Son, you've much to learn about women," Charles said. "Let her select a shirt or two for you and just quietly endure the rest of the shopping trip."
"Make sure you have plenty of cash too," Warren said. "Women need lots of money to be happy."
"But we're going shopping for me and I don't need anything."
"Lots and lots of cash," Hank said.
"You may use my charge card of course," Charles said.
"That won't be necessary sir."
"I'll give it to Jean then."
"I'm just going to tell her I don't need anything," Scott said.
"You already did. It didn't register," Bobby reminded him.
Not knowing how to make the woman he loved see reason Scott found himself going into town with Jean the next morning several hours after breakfast. He didn't like shopping but he loved Jean.
"I just think you would look good in bright colors – like yellow. Yellow suits you and green would be nice on you, green's my favorite color you know. Maybe some red too. Ooo, red would match your glasses, red would be nice," Jean mused as she browsed through a rack of men's polo shirts.
To any passerby Jean looked very stylish in black pumps, matching purse clutched in one hand and a short green dress that matched her emerald eyes but Scott, who was dressed in black pants and a white shirt, was beginning to view her in an entirely different light.
"I knew I shouldn't have come. This isn't necessary, Jean. I don't need anything. The clothes I have are perfectly fine."
"You need something to spice up your wardrobe. Maybe a pink shirt with the blue suit or a blue shirt with your gray suit."
"I'm not wearing pink, Jean. Do they even have pink shirts for men?"
"You're probably right. Sky blue would be nice especially with the blue suit. A dark blue shirt with a black suit would be nice too and a black and blue tie would be perfect with that, maybe if it had some purple or red in it. Hmm, let's look at the dress shirts over there."
"This is a waste of time and money," Scott mumbled though he allowed Jean to pull him into another section of the men's department.
"You don't like spending time with me, is that it, Scott?" she said without looking at him. She was already flipping through the pile of neatly folded shirts.
"I didn't say that. I just don't need anything. We should go back, we might be needed."
"I'm sure the guys can save the world without our help if they really have to, Scott. This is important to me," she said, looking at him now. "You're so handsome; I just want you to look your best." And he did look handsome even with a hint of a grimace on his face. She reached out and touched his cheek, smiled then went back to her browsing.
"What's wrong with the clothes I have already, Jean?"
"They're boring if you want to know the truth."
"They're insufferably plain."
"There's nothing wrong with plain."
"Well, no and you'll be able to wear your suits fifty years from now but they're not trendy. That's what you need, something trendy, something stylish, something that show's you're not stuck in the sixties. You should be up-to-date."
"You make it sound like I don't know how to dress myself, Jean. I do. I have been for years now."
"Oh, honey I know that. Don't put words in my mouth." She stood on the tips of her toes and kissed him on the cheek. "Honestly, if you didn't dress like a stodgy old man I might not love you as much as I do but sometimes I'd like to see you lighten up, just a smidgen, and I think cooler clothes would help after all clothes do make a man you know."
"I'd heard otherwise," Scott muttered under his breath.
"First impression and all you know," Jean said.
"Jean, I appreciate that and what you're trying to do and I'd like to accommodate you, really, but I don't. . ."
Jean waited patiently for him to continue but he didn't. She looked so irresistible with her head titled ever so slightly causing her long red hair to hang over one shoulder, her green eyes wide and beseeching, her red lips smiling so beatifically at him. When she looked at him like that he could never refuse her. He pressed his lips together resolutely and remembering the professor's advice to endure and so he pretended to look through the stack of shirts with some interest. Jean eagerly joined in. But after a bit Scott sighed despite trying to hold it back and his shoulders slumped noticeably.
"Scott, it's just a new outfit I'm asking you to consider, maybe a few new ties. I don't want you to look like a dapper old gentleman when we go out but fresh and young. I don't think that's too much to ask."
"Jean, I can't do this."
"It wouldn't hurt you to try a few things on."
"No, Jean it wouldn't but there're things you can't understand."
"I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting you to look your best when we go out. Do you?"
"No, of course and I would be all for this, I really would, Jean but I don't want to do this, not now anyway."
"But it'll be fun."
"It's not. Really, Jean it isn't, not for me anyway."
"It would be if you'd give it half a chance. I'm not trying to put you in some wild Hawaiian shirt like Hank likes to wear, which by the way may explain why he doesn't have a girlfriend, or a pretentious ascot like Warren mistakenly thinks is sexy – it isn't, he looks like Mr. Howell on Gilligan's Island – I'm just trying to put some color into your life."
"Hank's rather large appendages might be the real reason he doesn't have a girlfriend," Scott muttered.
"Oh, Scott all I'm asking is that you try on a few things, is that too much?"
"Yes. Yes, Jean it is. I'm sorry. I'm going back home now. Are you coming?"
"I don't want to leave you here all alone."
Scott sighed. Again he'd lost. "All right." It was all he could say.
"Look at this jacket," Jean said, turning to the first thing she saw. She pulled a wooden hanger from a circular rack and held it up for Scott's observation. "Burnt orange would be good on you," she said though she gave the jacket a dubious look.
"No it wouldn't," Scott said before walking away.
"Scott! Scott! Where're you going?"
"Home," he growled through clenched teeth, all patience lost.
"Scott! Wait!" Jean hadn't expected him to actually leave her.
During the short drive back Scott was silently wondering how the Professor, Hank and Warren thought they were qualified in schooling him about women. Jean hadn't once attempted to buy one item for herself. If nothing else he was looking forward to telling them how wrong they were. He glanced at Jean who was huddle so close to the opposite door he thought if they hit a bump and the door fell open she'd fall out. He slowed down.
"I know you're disappointed and I'm sorry for that but I couldn't do what you wanted, Jean. Sometimes people can't change," Scott said after they'd been driving in silence for some time.
"I wasn't asking you to change anything just add some different clothes to your wardrobe."
"Can we not fight?"
"I don't want to fight either," she whispered.
He reached for her hand and she allowed him to hold it.
"I'm sorry if I did something wrong," she said.
"You don't actually think you did anything wrong, Jean and you didn't. If I was a normal guy maybe you wouldn't ever have to try to get me to buy all that stuff. Maybe I'd know what color would look good with other colors and maybe I wouldn't match the wrong plaid with orange sports jackets."
"Burnt orange would've looked good on you," Jean said defensively and snatched her hand away.
She scooted even closer to the door, adjusted her seatbelt then crossed her arms over her chest and looked straight ahead trying to ignore the anger that was slowly rising. She'd tried her best to help Scott be that normal guy but he was just throwing it back in her face.
"Jean, I don't want to fight."
"You should've thought about that before we started fighting then," she retaliated.
He sighed heavily. "Jean, I can't buy clothes like you want me to because I don't see colors the way you do, the way normal people do."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"I'm effectively color blind, Jean. Everything I see – it's like looking through rose color glasses."
"I don't understand." She turned her head to look at him, her anger not subsided yet but her curiosity piqued.
"Maybe rose colored glasses isn't the right way to explain it," Scott said thoughtfully. "I don't see colors like you do. Everything is in shades of red so if you bought an orange shirt it's going to look pretty much like the brown or red shirt and the green pants just in varying shades. By time I finished dressing I'd look like a clown."
"I . . . I never thought . . ."
"It's okay, who would?"
"I should have," she said. "I should've thought, I should've known! Oh, Scott I'm so sorry. I'm such an idiot."
"I should be the one saying I'm sorry. How would you know? I never told you. Only the professor knows. I said I've been dressing myself all these years but the truth is he buys everything in white and black and blue solids for me so everything matches no matter what I put on – so I fit in."
Jean closed her eyes. "All this time I . . . I just didn't know."
"It's all right, Jean I know you meant well. I guess I should've told you only I guess my pride kind of got in the way."
"I wish I hadn't been so stupid and frivolous."
"That's okay, honey I'm used to that."
"What?" Her eyes shot open wide.
"You can be frivolous on occasion – not often just sometimes," he said. They were home now and Scott parked the Professor's Rolls Royce in the garage.
"Only sometimes and in a good way. You keep me sane."
"You balance me."
How could she argue when he drew her close and pressed his lips gently to hers? In the end their disconcerting trip was worth it, the arguing, the misunderstanding now forgotten. And when Scott and Jean went inside the mansion with nary a shopping bag the men had new respect for their young leader. It was even worth all the morning drama just to see the look on their faces Scott thought long afterwards when he was lying awake in bed thinking about Jean's soft lips and the things a man would do for love.
They were the perfect couple, Jean and Scott. No one would have thought they'd ever break up. Even Warren guessed Jean and Scott would one day get married, have children and live happily ever after. They couldn't see the future, couldn't see Jean dead again and again only to be revived like the legendary Phoenix each time. No one would have ever suspected Scott would turn to another woman while Jean was still alive. But even though Scott loved another woman, Emma, she would never know him like Jean.
Long before the psi-link he shared with Jean was constructed she'd known him better than anyone ever could. It was the little things that had meant so much to him such as the way Jean always helped him coordinate and lay out his clothes for the next day cheerfully taking over for the Professor and how earnest she'd looked while holding a tie or shirt to his chest, how truly she cared that he always look his best. Emma simply didn't know it was necessary. She would never have thought to lay out matching clothes and socks for a grown man despite what she considered his dreary taste in clothes.
"Darling, you need a new wardrobe," Emma commented one day long after Jean was dead though hints of her rebirth were spreading. "We need to add some spice to that dull wardrobe of yours."
"No," Scott replied.
"You would look great in yellow or red I think – nice bright colors."
"I said no, Emma."
"But we haven't even gone shopping yet. I'm sure you'd love the shops on Rodeo drive, why we could fly to California today; get a hotel, it'll be fun, get away just for a day. We deserve a holiday."
"Oh, Scott, of course we do and you'll love it; trust me darling, besides a little pampering would loosen you up."
"For the last time, no – end of conversation."
Scott walked out of their bedroom without bothering to explain himself and Emma, too afraid of losing her man, reigned in her indignation and didn't question him, unlike Jean. And that was the difference between Emma and Jean, between first love and later loves. Once you love that deeply, as with Jean, it can never be replicated, no other relationship can ever compare. What he'd trusted Jean with he would never trust to Emma. The things a man did for love were quite telling.
*10 cc – The Things we do for Love~