Summary: Following an evening in Yellowknife where Logan and Marie discussed the future, a morning in Westchester finds Scott and Jean discussing Wolverine and Rogue. Someone is NOT happy. Someone else fights dirty.
Notes: A word of warning in this one, folks. I was curious how a relationship between Logan and a younger Marie (17) would play out, especially if that relationship was established before they found their way to Westchester. This fic explores what's 'too young' and why different people put that line in different places. If that idea squicks you, don't say I didn't warn ya. Heh. Thanks to the usual suspects for the beta and TOFOG for the title.

Other Ways of Speaking

[Sunday 9:24 a.m. Westchester, New York]

"I just don't know, Scott."

What the fuck? "You've got to be kidding, Jean." He sighed inwardly, already aware that there wasn't even the most remote possibility she was kidding. He and 'Ro had busted their asses on this pick up-even though they hadn't exactly picked anyone up-and he wasn't about to have their hard work undone now. No way. He sighed again, this time aloud. He was hungry, tired, and after eighteen hours in his uniform, ready for a long, hot shower and maybe a nap with a certain sexy redhead if she ever managed to shut up long enough for that to happen.

Jean apparently caught that stray thought because she froze, and for second, 'Dr. Grey's' disapproving look softened and he saw a flash of the 'Jean' she was with him behind closed doors and knew he'd get his nap after all, but not before Dr. Grey said her piece to Cyclops. Figures. Scott poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down tiredly. He and 'Ro had just finished the Blackbird's post-flight checks and put her to bed. He'd hoped to catch that much needed shower and a nap before their official debriefing with Charles, but he'd known this talk was coming since he'd called with the preliminary details from Yellowknife before their flight back. That was partly why he'd done it.

To be honest, Scott had been a little surprised when his cell rang a little after one a.m. with Logan's voice on the other end telling him he and Rogue would meet him in Westchester in about a week before he hung up without so much as a goodbye. Scott, in turn, hadn't wasted any time in informing Charles and Jean that their pick-up had been successful, although the two mutants in question had decided to drive in rather than return with them in the Blackbird. Fine with him. That was better anyway. He knew he'd need the time to work on Jean.

He knew she wanted to help Rogue and Logan just as much as the rest of them did, but he also knew the second he set eyes on them in that motel in Yellowknife that Jean was going to need some working on if Logan and Rogue were ever going to be comfortable at the school. She might have seen a lot of things in her time as a doctor, but she'd come from an upper-middle class family in suburbia. She'd never not had a home. She'd never experienced the harsh realities of life on the road the way he had. The way Logan and Rogue had. And for as much as he loved her and knew that she genuinely wanted to help people, she could be a little hypocritical at times.

While he knew Logan and Rogue probably expected to take a little heat from the kids for their unusual relationship, he was aware if they felt any of the staff was too disapproving, they'd bail. No doubt about it. God knows, he certainly would if he was in their shoes, and he wanted to make sure that didn't happen here. To be perfectly honest, Scott wasn't all that concerned about Logan. He didn't like him much, understood where he was coming from maybe, but Logan was definitely not high up on Scott's 'favorite people' list. It was Rogue he really wanted to help and no matter how much it irked him, he knew he needed to work Logan's side of the fence to do that. He also saw a lot of himself in Rogue and he wanted to do for her what Charles had done for him. Funny how life has a tendency to repeat itself like that. Swallowing a smile, he hoped Rogue wouldn't give him as much trouble as he'd given Charles.

Scott took a sip from his coffee and grimaced, adding a spoonful of sugar while he waited for Jean to start in on him. Arguing with a telepath was incredibly frustrating. Even though he knew she'd never read his thoughts without his consent, he always felt like she knew what he was going to say before he said it. On the other hand, he also knew he frustrated the crap out of her because while she argued emotionally, he argued logically. Actually, with Jean he thought of it as arguing tactically. Something he was incredibly good at, thank God. He hid a smirk behind his coffee cup as he watched her pluck at the cuffs of her lab coat. She only did that when she was really worked up about something and he took another bracing sip of coffee as he watched her take a deep breath.

Jean gave him an incredulous look. "Are you serious? Of course I'm not kidding." She'd also poured herself a cup of coffee, but it sat untouched beside her on the kitchen counter as she narrowed her eyes at him, trying to suss him out a bit. It wasn't going to work, of course. He had the best poker face at the school, and not just because his eyes were hidden. "He was sharing a room with her, Scott."

"So?" He shrugged, wanting to keep things as non-confrontational as possible. In an argument with Jean, coming out of the gate swinging was the fastest way to insure nothing would be resolved. Much to her displeasure and his delight, her red hair did happen to be indicative of a very fiery temper-which could be amusing and even arousing at other times. Right now, however, it was just a pain in his ass and an obstacle he needed to overcome to make sure Jean's issues with Logan and Rogue's relationship wouldn't drive them away before they were comfortable enough to even think about accepting Charles' help.

"So?" Jean's eyes widened in disbelief. "So, he's sharing a bed with her too, that's what." Her brows drew together as she stared at him intently. "I know you. You can't possibly tell me you have no problems with that."

Scott looked up from his coffee, but said nothing.

"She's seventeen."

"And?" He was waiting for her to just go ahead and get it all out at once before he started in with the logic. In his experience, that was the easiest way to diffuse Jean when she had her back up about something.

"And? Good grief, Scott. She's the same age as Kitty and Jubilee." She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him through her glasses, not quite understanding why her normally by-the-book fiancé was being so impossible about this. "They're your students. They're in high school. They watch cartoons. Jubilee still sleeps with a teddy bear, for God's sake. Can you sit there and tell me you wouldn't have a problem if you caught one of them in bed with a man? Can you honestly tell me that finding Logan and Rogue together in that run-down motel in Yellowknife didn't give you pause?"

Scott took a sip of his coffee, long since having decided on the best plan of attack: surprise first to shake her up, to really get through to her, then calm logic to drive his point home. "She was legal at fourteen in Canada, Jean." Calm, controlled words. No edge. No sarcasm. Just straight delivery of fact.

Her eyes widened. "That's disgusting." And she would have asked how on earth he knew that particular legality, except that she was talking with Scott. He always covered all his bases, researched everything to the Nth degree. "And indecent," she added for good measure. Who was capable of making that kind of decision at fourteen?

"Is it?" There was an edge to his voice now even though he tried to control it. That comment had hit a little close to home. "I was fourteen my first time." He knew she knew that. He'd told her so himself. "I didn't think it was disgusting or indecent." Hell, if he'd has his way, he'd have fucked himself blind that first night, and he imagined most guys felt the same way. All his friends certainly had. He'd made a sad showing his very first time, lasting little more than a minute, but the subsequent three times had been pretty damn good. And if the girl in question hadn't been too sore, he'd have kept going. "In fact, I remember it rather fondly."

Jean had forgotten all about that. Well, she remembered cuddling up with him in front of the fire and telling their 'first times' stories to each other over a nice bottle of rich hearty red, but somehow it just didn't seem the same. That had felt like she was getting to know the intimate side of a man who rarely shared the private parts of himself with anyone. In truth, she'd been far more interested in the juicy details than his age. It hadn't seemed wrong then, just intimate. "That's different," she insisted stubbornly.

His eyebrows rose above his glasses. "Why?" He set his coffee down. "What makes it different? Because I'm a guy? Because you know me? Because the girl was in her twenties and not frozen at some indeterminable age by a healing factor?" He knew he shouldn't have added that last one, but her comment about it being 'disgusting' had pissed him off a little. Jean's eyes crackled green fire at him and he knew he'd swung a little too hard. Shit. It wasn't helping Rogue's cause any to push Jean like that just because he'd taken something she said personally.

Jean rolled her eyes in exasperation. He was just not getting it. "You know damn well it's different. If I remember correctly, you were almost fifteen, the girl was barely twenty one... and yes, it is different both because you're a guy and because you're the guy I love even though you're being such an incredible ASS about this whole thing!"

They both looked at each other and laughed. Now that they'd both blown off a little of their respective steam, maybe they could resolve things a little and he'd get to have his nap after all.

"Look, Jean, I'm not saying that all experiences at that age are good. I was lucky." Four times lucky, but that was neither here nor there. "I know kids get taken advantage of all the time." He'd lived on the streets. He'd seen that kind of ugly dynamic up close and personal in a way Jean never had and, thankfully, never would. "All I'm saying is that's not what I saw in Yellowknife."

Jean reached for her coffee and made a face as she took a sip. She added some milk and turned back around to face Scott. "I know your perspective is different, Scott, and that sometimes you think I'm naïve or hypocritical." She sighed. "But my points are valid. This girl, Rogue, she's barely seventeen. From what we've been able to uncover, she's almost totally dependent on a man who not only has no memory of who or what he is, but who also fights for a living." Her lips twitched. "And I swear to God, Scott, if you tell me that's not illegal in Canada, I'll smack you."

Scott chuckled, but said nothing. The kind of fighting Logan did was just as illegal in Canada as it was in the States.

"Even if she wasn't dependent on him, his propensity for violence is shocking. The potential for an abusive relationship is there," she insisted, "and she is only seventeen, the same age as the students you lecture in front of every day. Can you honestly tell me you'd be ok taking someone like that to bed?"

Scott grimaced. His tastes ran the other direction, they always had. Right from the very beginning he'd preferred older women. By the same token, the very fact that he chose to be with older women proved his point in a fashion. He was usually the younger party and none of his relationships had been abusive. Of course, he realized gender differences played a part in that, but in theory it was the same thing-and another reason he felt a kinship with Rogue. She wasn't the only one who'd taken some heat for choosing an older partner.

Scott's grimace faded to a smirk as his eyes slid over Jean. "You know damn well I'd never do anything of the sort, even if I wasn't their teacher." His smirk became less teasing and more sexual. "I like my women sophisticated enough to be able to hold an intelligent conversation." Behind his ruby shades, his eyes glittered as he whispered across their mental link. {And sophisticated enough to give me whatever I might want in bed without playing the shy, simpering maiden.}

Jean felt desire coil low in her belly at his words. What he said was true. Scott was highly intelligent and preferred his women to be able to match him in conversation. He was also incredibly confident and adventurous in bed. He made it a point to choose women who could keep up with him there as well. Scott was a man who liked living on the edge and he wanted the women in his life to willingly join him there. He could talk just about anyone into joining him there if he wanted to, that was a part of what made him a good leader, but for Scott, the man? If he had to talk a woman into anything, then she wasn't the right woman for him. He'd always liked his women independent, strong, and confident in their own right.

Jean smiled at him and gave him a little telekinetic nudge-the equivalent of a hand on his chest, playfully pushing him against the back of the chair. {We're not done talking about Rogue, so quit distracting me with thoughts of you naked in our bed, flyboy.} Her eyes flashed playfully. {Or I'll make you sorry.} He might have said he was tired and wanted a nap, but she knew full well what he wanted before the nap. He was twenty-six for God's sake. He might be intelligent and romantic and sweet, but he also fucked like an animal and had a sex drive to match. Being in love with a younger man definitely had its perks.

As he caught the tail end of Jean's thoughts, Scott's mouth hung open for half a second before it turned up into a shameless grin and he gave her a mock growl. {An animal? Christ, Jean.}

His words might have been chiding, but she could feel a decidedly male pleasure in her words rolling off him in waves.

Scott grinned wider at her. "And you realize that last thought of yours pretty much proved my point."

Her grin matched his. "Does that mean I'm your Logan?" She teased.

He scowled. "That's not funny."

Jean sighed. "I know. They have a different dynamic than we do. That's why I'm worried," she paused. "And she is only seventeen, Scott."

Scott took another sip from his cooling coffee, and got ready to pull out the big guns. He sat back lazily in the chair and toyed with his cup. He didn't need to look at her to drive this point home. "Remind me again how old you were the first time."

Of course, he didn't need a reminder nor was he expecting her to give him one. Scott had mind like a steel trap. He knew full well Jean had lost her virginity at seventeen to a boy who was also seventeen and a virgin. While she remembered the event fondly, the flutterpated feelings, the sweaty palms, the nervous excitement of it all... she'd also confided that the actual sex hadn't been all that good. The boy, Robby, had been hesitant to hurt her, but also clumsy with inexperience and he had caused her some pain. Once inside, things had happened much the same way they had his first time. The boy had lasted maybe a minute. Unlike the girl he'd been with, Jean had been too sore to continue after that. She hadn't had an orgasm and the boy had been too unskilled to give her one by other means afterwards or to soothe the ache he'd caused in his haste to get inside her.

After all was said and done, they had fallen asleep together in her bed, and that's what Jean remembered as being the best part. Of course, with the resiliency of teenagers being what it is, they'd waited a few days and tried again. She admitted the sex had gotten better and better as they worked at it until they broke up four months later, but Jean's first experience with sex was hardly the stuff of fantasies. Scott couldn't help but wonder if she'd chosen someone older, someone with more experience, if she might have enjoyed it more.

Scott thought again of the similarities between himself and Rogue. Well, they might be similar, but he had absolutely no illusions about Logan. He might not like the man personally, but he obviously knew what to do with a woman and if Rogue's mutation had managed to keep her a virgin until she met Logan-well, he knew whatever happened between her and Logan would be a world away from what Jean's first time had been like. And he was glad. He might be a stickler about some things, but he was not a prude.

Scott wondered again if Jean's less than stellar experience the first time around had anything to do with her insistence that seventeen was too young. She'd told him once she wished he'd been her first. While he appreciated the sentiment, Scott was glad she hadn't waited. She'd been no shy, simpering virgin with him. Their first time had peeled the paint from the walls and he greatly appreciated both her sophistication and her confidence in bed. While he had the necessary patience and experience to make a virgin's first time good, he had no desire to play the role of teacher in bed. If anything, he'd rather play the role of student.

There were things in his life that required he reign himself in, to be a "by-the-book" kind of man-his job, his mutation. There were other things too, but sex was not one of them. He didn't want to reign himself in during sex any more than he did when he pressed that red button on his bike or when he screamed across the sky at Mach 2 with his hair on fire and his hand on the throttle.

He looked at Jean expectantly when she didn't answer him. "You going to tell me your situation was different too?" He knew he'd trumped her. She couldn't argue with that.

His logical arguments frustrated her. He was boxing her in and her temper flared. "I was just a stupid kid! I should have waited-"

"Oh, so it was ok for you to make that choice, even if now you feel it was a mistake, but it's not ok for Rogue to have that same choice? That's not fair." He pushed his coffee cup across the table and finally lifted his head, watching her eyes through his ruby shades. "People have to be allowed to make their own choices and live with their own consequences, Jean. That's how they learn." He smiled at her gently to blunt his words. "You can't protect everyone, sweetheart, no matter how much you want to." He didn't add 'you can't live their lives for them or expect them to live their lives according to your standards either.' While all that was true, he'd already won this argument. There was no need to lord it over her. Especially not if he wanted that nap.

"I still don't like it," she huffed.

Scott sighed. "You don't have to like it, Jean, but we can't help them if they're not here to help. If you ride them too hard, they're going to bail. I would."

"I wouldn't do that."

Scott got up and crossed the room, taking her hands in his larger ones and giving them a gentle squeeze. "Maybe not intentionally."

"I'm a doctor, Scott. I want to help them. You are entitled to your opinions; I'm entitled to mine. If Rogue needs help, I want to give it to her regardless of what you and Logan have to say about it."

"I know you do, sweetheart." He kissed her fingers. "That's one of the reasons I love you." He touched her hair gently. "But Rogue isn't you, Jean. She's not the naïve girl you were at seventeen and God knows, Logan isn't Robby."

Jean winced. "He's too old for her, Scott. It's just... icky. What man wants a little girl in his bed?"

"Careful, sweetheart. Let's not forget you knew me when I was seventeen." His lips twitched with the beginnings of a smirk.

Looking up at him now, it was hard to remember he was the younger of the two of them. He seemed so much larger and heavier than she was, so much more powerful. "Let's also not forget I knew you four years before we slept together."

He grinned smugly. "But we both know you wanted me at seventeen." He pulled her closer and whispered in her ear. "I sure as hell wanted you." He licked her neck. "You made me crazy." Scott chuckled against her throat. {Christ, Jean, I think I was hard that entire year. I couldn't keep my hands off myself imagining your face, your body, your mind...} He chuckled again, lower this time, huskier. {I had you a million times in my imagination before I ever even touched you.}

This time, it was Jean who grinned. "I know." She tapped her temple. "I heard you." A look of surprise flashed across his features and she laughed. "You might have been cocky as hell back then, flyboy, but your shielding stunk."

He shook his head in amusement. "You never told me that." He used the weight of his body to press her back against the counter and a very naughty smile turned up the corners of his sensual mouth as another thought occurred to him. {Did you listen in, sweetheart? Did you lay in bed at night and touch yourself while I imagined you under me and over me and dreamed about the taste and feel of your body under my mouth and hands?} Jean blushed. Jean never blushed. Scott grinned and kept going. {Did you come with me? Cry out my name when I was groaning yours?}

She slid her finger in the small metal ring attached to the zipper at the neck of his uniform and gave it a little jerk. "Alright, alright already. You've made your point." Yes, she a woman of twenty-seven had lusted after a boy of seventeen. Not only that, but she'd used her 'gift' to listen when he was projecting-which was the reason for her blush. Sex didn't embarrass her, but being caught using her 'gifts' inappropriately sure as hell did. Especially since in this case, she wasn't at all sorry for it.

Scott smiled down at her. "My point?" He snorted. "I'm done making that particular point, Jean. This is not Cyclops proving a point. This is me trying to get you upstairs for a shower and that nap." He grinned wolfishly. "Put The Doctor away for a little while, sweetheart. Cyclops is officially off duty until the briefing." She had a whole week to hash it out with him before Logan and Rogue arrived. He was done talking about it for a while.

Jean grinned and checked her watch. "Hmm... free and clear for a whole four hours and eleven minutes." Her eyes flashed and she tugged again at the ring just under his chin. "Doesn't leave much time for actual napping..."

A positively scorching smile lit up his entire face. "Yeah, well, I'm young." His eyebrows waggled at her above his glasses. "You know, still able to keep going strong even with minimal sleep." His cocky smile got naughtier. "Just like a Timex, sweetheart, takes a licking and keeps on ticking."

Jean's grin matched his as she pulled him from the kitchen. "We'll see, flyboy. We'll see."

Author's Notes: Okay, confession time. I love me some SharpScott. He's no (Feral!)Logan, but he and Jean tend to get the short end of the stick in a lot of W/R stories (I am so guilty!) so I like to give them their own moment in the sun now and again, especially when their moments are connected to the larger W/R story I want to tell. (Of course, I have some serious BadJean issues... but at least I try, right?!) Heh. Second confession: This is where the bunny stopped hopping. I realize this story probably does need at least one more chapter where we have Logan and Marie in Westchester having to deal with the fallout from the (unorthodox) choices they made, but the truth is I'm not really sure what I want to say about that just yet. I'm open to suggestions! lol You never know what might spark a freaky bunny writing jag. I will say this, however: I have several more finished stories to post and I'm currently eight chapters deep in a new story, so y'all will have that in the meantime. I'm not going to mark this story finished just yet, but be aware it will likely be a while before we find out what happens.

Ummm... when I know, so will you. ;)