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Rigid and Aloof

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Scott’s eyes open behind his sleeping visor as the room around him groans in protest, shaking. He doesn’t wait for the room to stop. He’s on his feet, straightening up his pyjamas and exiting the room he shares with Peter and Kurt who are also awake but still in their beds. Some doors open and children come out of their own rooms as Scott reaches the closed door. The Professor will need a few moments to get ready and on his way to help her.

The first casualty of war is innocence and  Jean had her first kill in Cairo, she had killed Apocalypse as to save the professor, to save them all. 

The mansion stopped shaking but Scott felt the door of her bedroom warmer as he touched the knob. No one else was brave enough to reach her. He moved inside the bedroom, because of her powers, Jean had a room of her own, better alone than with injured co-students.

Scott looked around the room before his eyes could stop on her writhing form under the covers. Knick knacks, her homework, books and some frames where on the floor. The paintings on the walls shook, the tapestry seemed to be burning, the room smelled of burnt paper. She was whimpering on her mattress and Scott reached her and touched her shoulder, shaking her lightly.

‘Jean…’ he tried her name but he flinched in pain as his mind was invaded by images of fire and destruction, his hands shot up on his head, clasping his temples in pain as Jean cried out in her sleep. He had his own fair share of headaches because of his powers but the migraine she was invoking in him made his eyes water in pain. He shook her again, this time harder.

‘Jean, please, wake up!’ he tried again, he placed both hands on her cheek and shoulder as she shook and cried, cold sweat coating her skin as he tried to pull her out of her nightmare. ‘Jean, please!’ he called out loudly, more images invading his mind until an image of a car accident projected made her wake up in a gasp, her eyes full of tears running down her temples and dampening her fiery hair. She glanced at the windows and they opened, allowing the cold air to enter the room, the smell of smoke made their headaches worse.

Jean looked at Scott with lost eyes for a moment as she tried to compose herself, her breathing was too uneven, he hated to see her struggle so much. Guilt painted her features as she realized he was in her room, in the middle of the night, with a building migraine because of her, she took in the room around her, God, she was only getting worse with every passing day...

‘I…I can’t stop it, I’m sorry…’ she whimpered breathlessly as she supported herself on her elbows. Scott’s hands were still on her, he shook his head and caressed her sweaty shoulder.

‘It’s okay, it’s okay. Just Breathe. You don’t have to be sorry for anything. I’ve got you.’ Scott promised confidently, he was natural in helping people, in supporting her. He was still in mourning for Alex, the funeral had taken place a few days back even if there was no body to burry. He had promised himself he’d be a good X-Man, that he’d make a difference in the world. She wished she could do the same, for all her nightmares involved destroying the world instead of changing it.

She had hoped she’d be better after Apocalypse, the realization of killing such a powerful being, the implications for her powers reaching so far and wide. She had hoped she’d be in control of herself, and for a few days after Cairo, she was alright. She had even allowed herself to go out on a date with Scott, he had needed the distraction as much as she had. And then it all started to fall apart. Again.

They weren’t idiots, they knew they were attracted to each other. But their timing was awful with her powers driving her on the edge of sanity and his mourning for his brother not even close to its end. They had mutually agreed -without words- to give themselves time. The mission in Cairo shook them, how close they got to be killed, even before they could form a team and get some training. It had been pure luck they survived but they ran out of it when it came on dealing with the close to death experience and Jean’s new potential.

Scott finally withdrew his hands as he sat by her bed and she collapsed back on her pillows. She avoided his eyes, he reached for her shaking hand like she had done with his in the chopper. When she kept her face towards the open window, he touched her jaw with his fingers, guiding her to him, Scott smiled at Jean despite the situation.

‘We’ll find a way,’ he reassured her. She didn’t protest like she would do with the Professor even if she didn’t believe Scott. There was something inside her, singing to be free, screeching to be released, reaching out and clawing inside. It inflicted all kinds of emotions and reactions, from pain and terror to joy and arousal, she was tapping into something massive within.

‘I’m scared,’ Jean admitted and Scott sighed and caressed her cheek. He hated seeing her like this, he had no idea how to help her, how could you help someone that powerful? But he wanted to be there, for her, for them, eventually.

‘I’m here for you, no matter what,’ he added and Jean sighed and sat up on the bed, he hugged her tightly, his hands wrapping around her slender form. ‘I would never let anything happen to you.’ He promised.

‘I’m scared I will hurt someone, I will hurt you,’ Jean confessed, her voice breaking as fresh tears filled her eyes. Scott sighed and caressed her back.

‘Same stands with me,’ Scott confessed and Jean broke the hug to look at him, he tapped his visor like she’d tap her temple. ‘I’m only scared I’d hurt you, Jean.’ Scott confessed, he wasn’t even sure why he was opening up so much, he’d never do that before, with anyone, but she was… well, her and it was in the middle of the night, in her dark room and they needed the support. ‘You told me I’m not the only one who can’t fully control my powers… a simple accident with the visor is enough and I will kill you…’ Scott added and Jean looked at him with her beautiful, although tearful eyes, this time her own hand touching his jaw.

‘You’d never hurt me,’ Jean whispered. He grinned with his crooked smile and in a similar fashion, he touched her cheek.

‘And you’d never hurt me….’ He reassured her and she couldn’t stop herself, she wanted to do that for the past weeks. She leaned in and their lips met.

Unsure at first, hesitant and worried, until they gave in into each other and their hands touched their heads more confidently, pulling closer at each other as the kiss deepened. Scott was afraid his visor would be moved and she was afraid her powers would act up at the butterflies in her stomach but nothing awful happened as the two young adults held on their kiss for dear life.

They broke apart only for air, their foreheads touching as they gasped, their eyes still semi closed, their lips open and brushing each other. Jean’s eyes closed for a moment in worry and Scott was afraid she regretted it. He didn’t mean to exploit her weak moment but he couldn’t deny this was the best kiss he ever had.

‘The professor is approaching.’ She finally announced and opened her eyes, smiling at him. ‘I don’t regret it,’ she added as he probably projected, he beamed and nodded. ‘It was actually the best thing happening in a while,’ she added bravely and Scott this time smiled fully.

‘Is there a point to sneak out before he sees me here?’ Scott asked and Jean shook her head. The rule for all students was clear: no student roaming around in other students’ rooms. They were adults but still, no funny business in the middle of the night.

‘Even if you did, he’d feel you projecting, we need to work on your mental shields…’ Jean added this time teasingly and Scott grinned and nodded.

‘We do?’ he asked for confirmation and Jean smiled and nodded, trying to leave the nightmare behind, trusting them in finding a way.

‘We do,’ there was no point in waiting, they needed and helped each other, maybe their path to recovery and control would be easier if shared.

‘We do,’ Scott confirmed once again as he smiled at his new girlfriend and stole another kiss before the knock on the door, the professor knocking…. Scott was definitely projecting.