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X-MEN PARABELLUM

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X-MEN PARABELLUM
  By Christina Potter 09

Part One
1992

 

Chapter 1 - Shattered


‘What are we? Are we simply what others want us to be? Are we destined to a fate beyond our control? Or can we involve? Become something more?’



Alpha Ursae Minoris

 

‘She said she can do it…’ he said always with faith in her. 

The solar flare consumed her, or she drew the flare in, the explosion shattered his heart, her body floating in the void of space.

 

Scott?

 

‘I’ll always come back to you.’ 

 

The Milky way.

 

Scott.

 

‘Jean, let go!’ 

‘All is Revealed…’ 

A Firebird. 

 

Scott...

 

Her naked body over his, her lips gasping his name in desire.

‘Scott…’

 

Fire.

 

Scott!

 

Lust.

 

‘I’m telepathic, I read minds…’

‘Well, stay out of mine!’

 

Scott!

 

I’m scared, something terrible is about to happen.’Jean’s words were barely heard. ‘To us...’

 

The purple glimmers spiraled around her as she raised herself and their foe into the sky. The explosion shattered his heart once again, only there was no body left behind this time.

‘She’s gone….’ 

 

SCOTT!

 

Scott’s eyes snapped open behind his visor as he gasped for breath. He had fallen asleep on her side of their bed, his left arm had turned numb. He wasn’t used on sleeping there, yet he needed it. Her smell weakening from her pillow with every day that passed since her demise. 

He blinked tiredly at the dark room.  He focused on the spot of the photo frame on her nightstand, it currently laid broken across the room. His temples throbbed, he was exhausted, the days were endless, his nightmares continuous. Charles had tried to explain about the bond and the remains it left behind, cut severely and broken from the side of the telepath in the relationship. It left Scott with an echo, an echo of images, voices, memories, an echo that could drive him crazy combined with his grief. 

Scott depended on the echo, afraid it’d reduce into nothing if he let go of her. 

He wasn’t sure how many days had passed. Yet, he was familiar with the feeling, no funeral, no body to cradle and cry over. At least Hank had a kind of closure. Scott for the second time in his life -just like with Alex-, was left with nothing but memories, and a broken link to echo her remains into his soul. 

Peter was still recovering, Hank was as lost, Charles was silent, Ororo was weeping, and along her; the sky seemed unable to clean from clouds. Kurt prayed day and night for all of them, for the rested souls of the dead and the restless souls of the living. And Scott remained silent, hiding into her smell, unable to look into her photograph and unable to cry, shed the tears he felt drowning him. 

Jean Grey was gone and along her, a part of Scott Summers, the best part of him had followed, leaving behind an empty shell of a man. 

He remained unmoving as Ororo brought a tray of food, like she did every few hours, her eyes swollen. The food repulsed him, making his stomach turn at the smell. Ororo muttered something about being sorry, about regretting her attack on Jean, about losing her sister. She apologised about something. Scott could only keep the disgusting smell of the food, covering Jean’s lessening smell on the pillow, Jean’s name every time it was mentioned and Ororo’s whimper as she picked up the broken frame and put it back on its place even with the glass shattered. 

The food turned cold, matching his limbs as Hank appeared next, stood silent for a moment before him, unable to utter a word. Scott only closed his eyes, focusing on the echo of his lost love instead of the reason why Hank was in the same position. 

‘At least it ended swiftly for both, they didn’t suffer for long.’ Hank’s whisper had cut so deep into Scott’s heart he had exhaled in actual pain. Then, numbness took over once more. Peter showed up with Kurt, Scott couldn’t even remember what they mumbled to him before they could leave. 

And then, Jean had entered the room, in the dress he had bought for her during their last visit at the mall. She was beautiful, smiling at him with a challenging glim in her eyes, not the flicker of the force that had consumed her but Jean’s old good-natured teasing. 

‘What are you doing slumped in my side of the bed, baby? Don’t you have a class to teach?’ Jean’s voice shook him to his core as he sat up on the bed, his arms brushing against his protruding ribs, he had lost weight, he was that skinny boy again, and she was gorgeous before him, she leaned down, her lips brushing against his, setting fire on the skin they touched. He was willing to burn. 

‘I’ll always come back to you,’ Jean whispered against his mouth, stealing his breath into a kiss, his eyes closing. He gave in to the pleasure, the heat and fire. His lungs screamed for air as she launched, he responded as hungrily. The moment his eyes opened he could see her body aflame, the purple glimmers consuming them both, annihilating their physical forms. 

‘He did what he did out of love, I forgive him,’  she broke the kiss, speaking the words in serenity as she exploded into stardust once again before Scott, leaving him breathless and gasping. His eyes opening wide behind the visor as he focused on Charles who sat on his wheelchair by his side, his head bowed, his face a mask of sorrow.

‘Scott…’ Charles whispered as Scott only rubbed his unshaven cheek and remained gasping on the bed. ‘Let me help you, please.’ Charles begged but Scott only shook his head. 

‘No,’ he flat out refused, he rejected food but he fed on her image, even through hallucinations. Sleep and food deprivation brought him closer to her. ‘You’re not taking her away from me,’ Scott’s voice was unrecognizable even to his own ears after so many days without a word spoken. He had always been rational, leveled, damn his sanity before the agony. Charles had offered to put up barriers for the link to fall silent, for Scott to mend his wounds, to recover. But Scott had refused, he didn’t have the chance to say goodbye, he didn’t have Jean’s body to bury, he only had half their link, draining his energy to preserve her into his mind. 

‘I’m leaving for Europe… I need to take care of some… unfinished business there.’ Charles whispered. Scott knew deep down that if he was good old Charles, he would have manipulated his brain already, for his own good, the greater good. But Charles was as broken. He had lost his sister, his daughter, now he was losing his son and the rest of his children, their family was shattered beyond repair. ‘Jean wouldn’t have wanted this…’ Charles whispered desperately, taking his sight in. 

Scott’s eyes shut at the sound of her name from his mentor’s lips, his voice broken, hollow, just like the rest of him. Jean had forgiven Charles, Scott wasn’t sure if he could, if he should. He had stood by Charles’ side while Jean turned on them, now that Jean was gone, Scott was left with his guilt and a broken man, ready to take off as well. 

‘Jean…’ Scott’s mouth formed the name, his eyes stung with tears unshed, his head’s never ending throbbing turned unbearable. ‘Hadn’t had a choice in so many things…’ he added desperately, her powers, her parents, the truth about them, the space mission, the Phoenix Force. 

‘Yet, she did make a choice…’ Charles whispered, unwilling to reach him mentally, that was something he did only with Jean for conversation. ‘She chose you, at her final moments, as she looked at you…’ Charles’ whisper was almost non audible. Scott knew his last moments with the woman he loved. 

‘I’ll come back to you,’  Her voice had promised as the alien held her by the throat. He had kept her on the promise, waiting for her to either come to him or he could finally wither and die and find her himself. 

‘When she looked at me and nodded… she begged me to take care of all of you, her family, and especially you. She loved you so much, Scott. She would want you to move on.’ Charles tried but Scott felt fury awakening through his weakened body. 

‘I would want her alive,’ Scott barked the words like a spoiled child demanding his gift. She had been his gift and she was gone. ‘Go,’ Scott added, the fury dying down inside him, giving way to that familiar exhaustion of the last days, or maybe weeks, he wasn’t sure by then. 

Charles took a deep breath and nodded his head, bowing it as he exited Scott and Jean’s quarters. Scott was left alone again, Charles had been the only one coaxing a response, and that response had exhausted him beyond measure. 

As lightning tore through the black angry sky outside, Scott’s eyes fell upon the shattered glass of the frame before him. Her gentle smile, their happy faces, she had been happy by his side, he had been the luckiest man alive by hers. He had planned on proposing in the winter, he had planned on having children with her, a boy and a girl. 

He would never see her smile again.

The realisation knocked the air out of his lungs as the first sob ripped through, choking him before the tears could finally start falling. He bit on his fist until he drew blood as the sorrow surged through him in waves, she was gone. Jean was gone, after all her struggling and all her battles. She was gone in the sky and he was left on the earth with her remains in his mind. 

As he shut his eyes and finally cried for all that was lost along his beloved, Scott failed to see the faint silhouette of the firebird in the sky among the lightning and rain outside his window. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 2- Convinced 

 

The chess pieces stood unmoving as the two old friends remained silent, pondering their next moves. There had been hours in the game, playing chess was probably the only time they had left among each other without arguing or fighting over the ways of the world. The sun moved across the sky, the two friends were left there, like an anchor of the world that moved around. 

‘Any time you’re ready to talk to me about why you’re in Paris, I’m listening, Charles.’ Erik offered suddenly, always preferring his words rather than his thoughts to communicate. Charles kept his eyes on his Queen as he allowed the words to evaporate in the air between them. 

‘If you break something, anything... I can fix it.’ 

‘Not anything...’ 

He had retired, unable to stay in the ruin of his dream, desperate to find a way to fix it all. He had lied to his remaining children about leaving for retirement, the weight of the world suffocating him. He had spoken with Hank, the little things Hank allowed him. Storm, Peter and Kurt had been more willing to listen, desperate to be guided. And then he had tried to speak to the man he considered the closest to a son. 

Scott’s image had haunted him and pushed him to his current lonely adventure, Jean’s last moments chased after him. 

‘I’ll come back to you,’ Jean had mentally promised to Scott before she could turn her head and look at Charles, her throat held by Vuk. 

‘Take care of them all, take care of Scott, no matter what, save him.’ Jean had begged at her final moments, a Goddess bent before love, risen above all existence. A surge of pain had infiltrated their mental connection as Vuk attacked her again and Jean took her up in the sky before it was too late, causing Charles to call out for her before Scott could scream her name in despair.

Jean had freed herself of the pain, and had ridden them of the alien threat, nobody knew of the true extent of her sacrifice, she had saved the world. And she was still out there, feared and hated, alive. 

At first, Charles hadn’t wanted to believe it, he thought it was his desperation and need to believe she was free and safe. But Scott’s nightmares had proved him wrong along his search with Cerebro. Amoral, ameterial, cosmic and endless, Jean was out there, merged with the Phoenix and free to roam throughout the universe. 

Her unique bond with Scott however kept a very earthly connection, a connection that could drive Scott crazy or kill him altogether. A non-telepath mentally linked with a cosmic force. Charles had decided to leave and do something before he could see another of his precious children lost to a greater power. 

He had hoped to severe the connection, leave Scott in the darkness of reality, he couldn’t tell him Jean was alive, because technically, she was not, and he didn’t have it in him to break the bond Scott had shared with her, because then, Jean would be gone for good, erasing every slim chance of her finding her back to them. to Scott. She could need hours, days, decades or aions until she could be back, Charles had no idea if she’d ever find her way back, if she wished to. Speaking to Scott of Jean existing in another form would simply push him deeper into the black hole that was slowly suffocating him while his beloved roamed the galaxy.  

‘It’s funny, I can’t actually remember the last time you were the one risking something….’ Raven’s words echoed in his mind, like poison it rushed from his brain straight to his heart. He had lost Raven, Hank, Jean, Scott, everyone and everything, he had risked their lives in that mission, and he lost them all. 

‘Years ago, after Cuba… I met a woman, I fell in love at my most desperate, while still at the hospital, her name was Gabrielle.’ Charles started talking and Erik stopped looking at the chess pieces, surprised at the words. ‘I hoped I could still have something close to what I dreamed of having with Moira,’ Charles added and Erik remained silent. Charles could see he remembered his own time with his wife and child he had lost in Poland. 

‘I had a son with her, we named him David,’ Charles added, his voice breaking the slightest, he tried to remain calm. Erik only watched him. ‘She had given me hope along our son.’ Charles added, his voice steady. ‘I had tried to work with Cerebro again, and by accident I encountered Amahl Farouk, a mutant that tried to take control of my powers, targeted David and wanted to take over his mind.’ Charles’ voice was monotonous as he revealed his pain. ‘I had to give up David, Gabrielle couldn’t stand the pain so I made her forget it all, me, our boy, everything. I hoped I’d save my boy from my enemies.’ Charles explained as Erik tried to say something but held his words. ‘My son is unstable, his brain… his brain is like a beehive, schizophrenia is his diagnosis but I believe every personality of his yields a power.’ Charles added and this time Erik spoke.

‘And you kept him away from the mansion?’ Erik asked in disbelief, they had both cast out mutants in need, while fighting for their survival and rights.

‘Unlike Jean… David showed signs of mental disorders, from a very young age. By the time he manifested, he was too dangerous. I had to choose, have him away to keep everyone else safe, to keep him safe as well, for the greater good.’ Charles was mostly talking to himself, trying to persuade himself he had done the right thing. ‘People with God Syndrome tend to be awful parents to their children.’

‘What are we doing here, Charles?’ Erik decided to ask again, unable to criticise, or comfort the man before him. He knew of Peter, he knew ever since the boy broke him out of the Pentagon, yet he hadn’t been able to accept the truth, reach out for the boy that seemed to have so much potential by his dear friend’s side as an X-Man instead of a runaway by his own side. 

‘I was planning on doing this alone,’ Charles tried to point out but Erik wouldn’t have it. 

‘But you’re not, so get to the point, please,’ Erik pointed out biting. 

‘David can bend reality,’ Charles offered and Erik looked at him in disbelief. ‘I hope to change a moment in time… Like we did or will do… with Logan.’ Charles added and Erik shook his head, a fist covering his lips as he shut his eyes. 

‘I don’t want your suffering… I don’t want your future….’ his own self had screamed at Logan, seeing Jean’s initial fate, so different from what had happened, and with such similar result. One more chance, for her and everyone, was all he asked. 

‘She can’t be helped, she’s a lost cause…’ 

‘No she’s not, as long as there’s someone to care for her, who believes, then there’s still hope!’ 

‘You could create chaos, Charles…. The future with the Sentinels…’ Erik tried to reason with his friend but Charles shook his head. 

‘Logan prevented Raven from killing Trask…. She didn’t get captured, experimented and killed back then… I want to try to save her one more time. Just a small change, and maybe Jean will be saved too.’ Charles tried and Erik shook his head. 

‘This is not how bloody time travel works.’ he pointed out angrily but Charles this time nodded. 

‘Raven deserved to live, Genosha deserved to be saved.’ Charles tried but Erik shook his head. 

‘Most us survived.’ Erik pointed out in vain. In that same city, he had been willing to kill Raven to ensure the mutantkind during the Vietnam summit, he was willing to leave her and Jean before making things worse now.

Just because there isn’t war doesn’t mean there’s peace.’

‘Most of us were captured with special collars, thrown in special trains, led to special facilities... taken by special task forces… and all these were built while the X-Men were famous heroes…with an open line to the president…’ Charles bitterly admitted, he had been naive, an idiot, blindly risking his team while the government used them until proven useless or dangerous. 

And Charles had known, he had known they were always a step away, what he hadn’t wanted to believe was how close the humans were on making that step without second thought. ‘What will happen now is only a matter of time... Maybe by remaining like this… Without the X-Men...idle, we push towards the Sentinel dystopia faster than ever….’ Charles tried to explain, only then raising an American newspaper from his bag on the table. 



U.S. GOVERNMENT CONSIDERING A MUTANT

 REGISTRATION ACT TO PROTECT HUMAN CITIZENS

 

Erik’s eyes remained on the title of the newspaper for a moment longer before he could look at Charles’ solemn face. He was done having burned numbers on his forehead, he was done being stigmatized over what he was, done being exterminated. Charles could feel the turmoil within his friend’s heart and mind, he could feel darkness overwhelming him despite being there to support Charles.

‘It’s the greatest gift we have, to bear  their pain without breaking… and it’s born from the most human power… hope. Please Charles, we need you to hope again…’ 

‘I had made a promise to Logan…’ Charles mused ‘and myself’ he thought, but Erik’s eyes remained on the newspaper. Charles could feel the fury radiating from his friend’s mind like tidal waves. ‘We could stop it all, if Raven survives… I just know the team won’t turn against Jean, it won’t fall apart.’ Charles added and Erik sighed, tearing his eyes from the header on the paper. 

‘She will know you toyed with her head,’ he warned harshly, yet spoke the truth, out of love or not, Charles had hidden the truth from Jean. 

‘All of them will, and I’m willing to take the risk. I prefer them against me instead of against each other, if it means for Raven and Jean’s survival. I take the risk, I deserve the hatred. I mistreated them… and lost them all.’ Charles admitted quietly as he looked back into his friend’s blue eyes. ‘What do you say?’ Charles offered and Erik sighed, silent for a long moment before he could finally reply.

‘I say we give it a shot,’ he finally gave in. ‘Worst case scenario, we die in a tomb somewhere in China…’ Erik offered almost a growl and Charles nodded his head. 

‘David is currently on vacations here in Paris, taken out of the clinic by his adoptive parents for a few days. They stay at Le Meurice.’ Charles informed his friend as they gathered the chess pieces before them and left the cafe, heading towards Rue de Rivoli.

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 3 - Done



She was right there, a magnificent bird-shaped aura of purple and white fire engulfed her. She opened her arms and he moved closer, the universe stood silent around them as their lips met. 

 

‘Scott…’

 

‘I am coming back to you, I’ll always come back to you.’ 

 

‘I love you so much,’ 

 

‘You’ll never hurt me,’ 

 

‘I don’t need telepathy to know you’re flapping to the top, you do it every time…’ 

 

‘Scott!’ 

 

‘He needs to eat something, Hank.’ 

 

‘Oddly, his vitals are good. He should have withered days ago,’ 

 

‘Scott…’

 

‘This can’t go on forever,’ 

 

‘Please… she wouldn’t want that for you,’  

 

‘Scott….’

 

‘Mein friend, Jean vould be zad to see you like zat…’ 

 

‘He won’t like the idea...’ 

 

Scott opened his eyes behind the visor as he turned and looked at the frame by the nightstand, Jean was smiling in the photo. He then looked at Ororo who was sitting by the side of the bed, there was something wrapped in a cloth behind her, her eyes were always swollen, the sky was always cloudy. 

‘What’s that?’ he mostly listened himself asking in a gruff voice. He wasn’t sure how he found the strength to speak, let alone clearly, he certainly scared his best friend as Ororo jumped on her skin and snapped at his direction. She seemed hesitant after a moment, she seemed scared. 

‘It’s… it’s what Charles had wanted,’ Storm tried and Scott frowned as she picked up the clothed object and handed it to him as he sat up on Jean’s side, he sniffed the air, realising he needed a shower desperately, and food, he was famished. He unwrapped the cloth and frowned at the plaque on his lap. 

 

JEAN GREY SCHOOL FOR GIFTED YOUNGSTERS 

 

He remained silent as he looked at the thing and everything that implicated. Last time he checked, the news spoke of her as a villain, attacking cops, creating havoc in Redhook, killing Raven, causing mayhem in the train that took them to the camp they were to be locked up. The government had kept silent of the alien threat Jean had saved them from and the concentration camps designed for mutants, mutants like the public’s beloved X-Men. Charles was trying in vain to push everyone back to normalcy. Scott was done, the plaque felt like the tombstone he didn’t have for her, no grave, no body, only her name on a school that had lost all purpose for him without her. She had died for a dream that had been imprinted on their heads by Charles and even he had left, leaving Scott alone and without hope. 

‘Very well,’ he only whispered and stood up, for the first time in days, except the times he had crawled to the bathroom and to gulp down only the bread from the meals Storm brought at least three times a day. Ororo watched him with weary eyes as he let the plaque fall back on the mattress. He looked around, Jean was everywhere, her jewelry, clothes, books of medical science and research, her vinyls collection, only she was absent. He was done with the place. ‘Charles has left?’ Scott asked as he tried to clear his throat and for the first time reached for the food on the tray, the spaghetti repulsed him after so long without food, he stuck to the bread again and the orange juice. Ororo nodded her head, the slightest glimmers of hope in her eyes as she watched him gulp down the juice. 

‘Hank is trying to work as much as he can for the school. Kurt and Peter are helping me with the students. Jubs called, asking if we need help, she’s willing to come all the way from England.’ Ororo updated him. ‘The news are letting things go, only wondering what the team will become off without Raven…. And Jean,’ Ororo dared to speak the name and Scott nodded, defying the piercing pain in his chest at the mention of her name. 

‘And Charles has left…’ Scott verified, Ororo nodded. 

‘He wants you to lead of the team, alongside me, I can be your second in command. Hank’s done with it and-’ Ororo’s sentence was interrupted by Scott’s bitter laughter.

‘What team, Storm?’ Scott wondered in a sharp tone, she shut her eyes in defeat, he could see she had been struggling. ‘Without Raven and Hank… Without Jean,’ he dared to utter the words, the pain was turning into numbness, sadness into depression. ‘I’m done here,’ Scott announced the only thing he was sure of, Storm shot up to her feet. 

‘Scott....’ Ororo tried but Scott shook his head. 

‘You were right, you know…’ he admitted before she could protest further. ‘Sometimes you want to believe people are something that they are not…’ Scott spoke the words Ororo had told him after Raven’s funeral, he could see the guilt and pain in his best friend’s eyes, he couldn’t help but wonder how easily even Storm turned against Jean back then. ‘It might be too late but I just realised I don’t belong here.’ Scott added and Storm rushed closer to him. 

‘No, Scott, please...’ Ororo was desperate, Scott knew, she had lost Raven, she had been in pain when she spoke those words for Jean and she had proven where her loyalties lay when she fought by his side to save Jean. Storm had apologized while he had been catatonic, she had lost Charles and Hank, now she was losing him too. She had gained a family nine years ago only to lose it all now, just like Scott himself, only Scott had also lost the love of his life. ‘Jean would want you to move on,’ Ororo tried, Scott swallowed down the anger that rose within him. 

‘Stop telling me what she would have wanted,’ Scott retorted and Storm shut her mouth and nodded her head, tears falling down her cheeks. ‘Stop lecturing me about her,’ Scott added angrily as he yanked himself free. ‘After medical school, she had considered leaving the school, with me, I persuaded her on the contrary, I persuaded her to stay, her powers needed supervision. I chose to stay here with her, become teachers…. I kept her back and now I don’t even have her body to fucking bury!’ Scott was shouting by the end of his words. He was pacing up and down the bedroom like a madman, his eyes falling on her serene smile on the photograph, she had no choice, ever, and the guilt coiled inside his belly like lava. 

‘I’ve got your back, whatever you choose to do,’ Storm surrendered finally, too easily, she couldn’t keep him back. She felt as guilty, Scott could see that, she was as broken and alone. 

‘I will go to my family home, in Alaska.’ Scott announced, he couldn’t go to his adoptive parents. It had been nine years since Alex died, they still mourned, he wouldn’t burden them with his own mourning. Charles had been his family, but for his dream, Scott lost his own. 

 

X

 

He placed the plaque on the stone fence, stood back and looked at it for a few moments. Everyone believed she was gone, already placed her name around in memoriam. Yet, he felt her through the echo of the bond, in his dreams, deep inside his heart and mind. She was dead but for him she was alive. People could call him crazy, but he didn’t care, not anymore, normal, proper, right were values he had adopted by his mentor and he had paid a heavy price for them. 

He was done. 

He started for the mansion again, only to reach the parking on the ground floor, where Storm, Hank, Kurt and Peter waited, his oldest friends. Ororo was the only woman left among the broken company, all of them still clang in black clothes, the shadow of the family they used to be. Oddly, it was easier to reach Peter first, still he limbed, Jean had almost killed him. Raven had been an accident, a loss of control but with Peter, Jean had injured him on purpose as they fought among each other. Scott didn’t feel guilty for her actions, they had practiced multiple times in scenarios they’d go against each other, back then they had seemed so surreal, yet they had come to be while at Redhook. The two men embraced and Scott patted his friend’s back, unable to say a word. 

Then it was Kurt’s turn, he was sad, crying and praying day and night for them. From the entire team, he had been the most religious one, the man who saw behind the skin and monstrous appearances, he was devastated. 

‘I’ll be alright,’ Scott lied to reassure his friend who hugged him tightly and nodded, giving him a rosary in his palm. 

‘Tvy it, please,’ Kurt offered and Scott looked down at the praying cord. Jean had reached the power of a God, to what Scott was supposed to pray? He nodded again, promising the lie for his friend’s sake. He then looked at Hank, his professor, his friend and teammate. Jean had killed Raven, Hank had gone against Jean, willing to kill her, even siding with Magneto to achieve it. They had openly fought against each other. Hank then had fought to save her and keep the aliens away, for Raven. The two men shook hands, the wounds too fresh, their position too similar, their pain shared, only the two of them realised how deep the betrayal and the loss run. 

‘I…’ Hank tried, he was the man to speak the words, like Charles, now he stammered, spending most of his time in silence. 

‘I know…’ Scott only murmured and the two men nodded before Scott could move closer to Storm who launched into his arms, desperate tears running down her cheeks as she hugged her best friend. 

‘Please come back to us, when you’re ready,’ Storm rarely cried and for the past weeks she was unable to stop. Raven was buried in the grounds. Jean was gone and he and Charles abandoned the mansion. Τhe family was falling apart and Scott couldn’t see a way to mend the cracks. 

‘When I’m ready,’ Scott promised another lie before he could break the hug and look at the remaining X-Men. He had nothing to say as he adjusted his backpack and moved away from them and towards his motorbike. Jean had loved the thing, he always took her for a ride when her nightmares became too much in the nights, fresh air could help her. He suffocated like a fish out of the water at the lack of her familiar weight against his back, her arms around his waist. He put on his helmet and kicked off.

Scott left the mansion without a second glance back, exiting the grounds of the place he had been calling home for the last few years. Alaska would take a few days to reach with stops in between. They had talked about going to Alaska together, before her medical school, during her breaks and after it, they never made it there. He had so many regrets, of not telling her more often how much he loved her, even if she could feel it through their bond. Of never traveling to Alaska, of not proposing even if the ring had been bought and placed in the first drawer of his nightstand for months. Damn it he regretted it all and she was gone. 

He drove for hours, stopping only for a quick snack and gasoline. He drove through the interstates, through forests and cities. Until he could keep his mind empty of thoughts, of pain and sorrow. The cold air turned his hands cold as he held the handles of the motorbike. He had driven for too long, his eyes played tricks on him, his visor making things difficult for him to drive through the night. Usually it was Jean who drove their cars during nighttime. He would swear he saw a flash of fire in the sky. He pulled over at a motel he found, booked a room with a single bed and collapsed on it, hoping for the first time in weeks for a dreamless sleep. His wish wasn’t granted. 

‘Scott…’ her voice moaned his name, their first time together. He looked around as her bedroom was set alight, dissolving into nothing and revealing the universe. 

‘I miss you, come back to me,’ He spoke to her for the first time, in all his dreams he only watched her and savored the glimpses of her echo. Their bond full of desire and love, destruction and agony. She moved above him, making love to him as if she hadn’t heard him while they levitated into the void. They were both engulfed in flames. 

‘Stay still, I’ll come back to you, baby,’ Jean promised as she fell off the edge of her ecstasy against him, taking him with her and causing him to wake in the mess of his own need for her and tears down his face. 

He was exhausted as he started at first light. Opening the mask of his helmet to make sure the crisp air will keep him awake and vigilant. He would push through most of Canada and make a small stop close to Alkali Lake, he’d reach the place at nightfall. 

He stopped only for gasoline. The dream had shaken him, it had been too real, too alive for his tired brain to comprehend and accept, for his body to forget as he had literally felt her above him, loving him like she did through the years. 

He wondered if indeed there was her soul somewhere out there, restless and alone. He wondered if Kurt had been right when he begged to hold a funeral for her, for the prayers to help her soul move forward. He didn’t want her to move on, he didn’t want to move on himself, only join her. The sunset colors blinded him as he ran on the road, way faster than the speed limit. He was alone on it, free to run as much as he wanted, free to take off his helmet, free to smash into the tree line and hope for the best...

‘Scott!’ her voice struck him like a knife into his brain, almost causing him to lose control indeed, snapping him out of his dark thoughts and holding himself on the motorbike as cold sweat ran down his back. His eyes glanced at the starry sky above him, the stars visible even as the sun set slowly. He was turning mad, he could see a firebird above as he rushed on the road. the Alkali Lake started on his right as his eyes remained on the fiery figure above him. He would swear it was rushing down towards him with every passing moment, changing in size and intensity. 

Scott felt his body heating up, his mind alight with fire, his body remained on the motorbike, driving above the speed limit. His eyes glued at the sky, her presence overwhelmed him, in his brain, his heart, his breath felt hot. The firebird was descending, little by little it became larger, the wings of fire extinguishing, the shape changed into that of a fiery ball, like a meteor made of fire and purple glimmers. Scott would swear he could see a figure within the sphere, he knew that body, had slept with its host for years, made love to it and slept against it. 

The noise was deafening, Scott winced at the overwhelming pain, some of the trees on his left were set alight as the ball needed seconds for impact. The bond he used to share with Jean was pouring scalding pain into his brain, causing him to scream in agony. 

‘STOOOOOP!’ He screamed, his body numb, unable to stop the motorbike, unable to take the turn on the right. 

‘SCOTT!!’ The voice and the pain laced with it blinded him. He never felt the impact, motorbike smashing into the concrete barrier, his body falling off into the trees and smashing against the logs like a puppet. His body felt no pain, lost in the scalding fire his brain was suffered, sane thoughts told him he should have died. Maybe he was, he felt no pain, he could see only the sphere of fire falling into the lake, the impact causing an earthquake and then white light. 

He was probably dying. 

White blinding light. 

Static noise.

Jean was there, in the clothes in which she had died. Smiling at him, extending her hand. 

He was dead. 

‘I came back to you... ‘ her voice was happy, calm, satisfied, as if she had been searching for him, he had been in their bedroom for so long. 

‘Jean…’ he wanted to ask if they were dead only to realize he didn’t care. He took her hand and gasped at the feel of her skin against his. She was there, with him, or he was with her. He didn’t care, they were together. 

He cupped her cheeks as her skin cracked with fiery lines. 

‘Scott Summers,’ she whispered, her voice otherworldly suddenly. Scott braced himself, it was Jean and an entirely different creature in his arms. ‘I occupy her mind, I am her and she is me.’ the creature spoke but Scott held his beloved’s face. ‘But you occupy her heart, wholly. She drove herself here,’ the Phoenix spoke, blending into mortal existence. ‘I was to be one with her since she was a child, since Cairo, but she had needed time, during that time, she became one with you.’ Jean was there while the Phoenix spoke, they were one, but Jean needed to find a way for both to be satisfied within one mind. ‘Now we must be protected, the two of us and the Force that is me.’ Jean’s voice was unchanged, so were her eyes but Scott could understand when his love spoke and when the cosmic force, he could feel the change of intensity in the fire within the bond. 

‘I love you, no matter what, Jean. I love you.’ he could only say, he wasn’t sure what the Phoenix was saying, or what Jean meant by protecting them, he didn’t care, she was there. 

They finally embraced and kissed, their lips hungry against each other. Their moment in time as the static became louder, piercing their ears, they kept their lips locked, eyes shut in pleasure and pain. Behind them, Charles Xavier’s glimpse was shown, focusing his mind on a man in his late twenties, his hands around his head, guiding him into the right moment in time and changing it, along with everything that followed. 

White blinding light. 

Static noise.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4- Collided

 

Mutation, it is the key to our evolution. It is how we have evolved from a single celled organism, into the dominant species on the planet.

This process is slow, normally taking thousands and thousands of years.

But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward.  

 

‘Quiet!’ the young, powerful being screamed, the vehicle smashed against another. The power unleashed tasted well, right. 

Jean Grey, a human, the perfect hostess. She wasn’t ready, too young, too soon. 

The universe was vast, through planets and systems, searching, waiting for the being to grow older, stronger, more able to take upon her destiny.

'Jean... you and I have seen things that mind and consciousness can do that other people can't even imagine, is that right?' 

Human comprehension started, she had a sister, the mother was dead, father neglected the girls, separated and left them to the mercy of others. Sarah was less fortunate than Jean, no powers and no family. Jean had powers, she had potential, even though the old man tried to mess with the child’s mind, the natural habitat of the Force. She gained a family.

‘I can fix anything,’

‘Not anything…’

Waiting, devouring worlds and consuming the energy, feeding with no stop until She was ready, getting glimpses of hers. Cults worshipped me, tried to draw me down upon their High Priestesses, but no one was powerful enough, I annihilated all my potential capturers. I waited. 

‘I saw the end of the world….’ her dreams tasted as good as her brain, human years passing without her reaching her potential. 

‘Something Dark…. And it’s growing…’ She didn’t deny the impact, she stood witness, and soon she’d be able to taste the Force back.

‘Jean, let go!’

Summoned by her sheer will, the link between human and Force was there, she used it to destroy the Ancient One and at his last moments, as he looked at the magnificent firebird, he knew. 

‘All Is Revealed…’ 

Darkness, silence, the universe stood still as human and force became one, forming into a suitable balance. Glimpsing at each other, connected with human thought, I took conscience and thought. I waited for the final period of time, a concept humans valued. Almost there, I withdrew from her, giving her time to grow into what she was meant to be, my hostess.

Alpha Ursae Minoris

“If anything goes wrong, I’ll turn us back in a heartbeat.”

She drew me upon herself, she was ready, consuming the consumer. She was there, ready, powerful, in space, the perfect spot and I found her after so long, consumed her as she consumed me. 

White Light. 

For a few seconds, or centuries we stood there, unfazed by the glimpses of others. The old man and a younger one. The young woman and young man, not yet created yet existing, ready to alter the world when the time is right. Occupants across time and space, all waiting for single heartbeats before exiting the White Hot Room. We existed before each other, a human and a cosmic soul, before she could reach for her human body, returning us both into her plane of existence. 

Static Noise.

Love, for the young man by her side, he hugged her, there was a link between them, so unlike and so familiar to the one I had with her. She loved him, would give her life for him, a feeling tasting so good, it felt intoxicating, the first thing I truly fed upon from Jean Grey. I had left her to become my hostess but she had also became her own self, allowing me in would be harder. 

She felt strongly, all the love, the rage and pain, she felt her feelings and I fed upon them, occupying her mind but also creeping into her soul. Her body barely sustained us both, her skin cracking while I demanded her whole. She struggled with all she had, the barriers in her head collapsing, finding out about her life. The old man tried to put them back in place but both Jean and I resisted him. In another timeline, another life, I had consumed her although she hadn’t been ready, because he had fractured her mind, driving her crazy. I wouldn’t make the same mistake again, she wouldn’t allow it, she wouldn’t allow anyone. 

She had potential, I had seen it in the stars, her destiny, her legacy, a child just like her. Love, for the young man, Scott, the name was engraved upon her heart, power, she was a goddess among men even without me, desire, for life, for her love, for everything. She was the perfect host, only challenge was to fight her pain, betrayal and rage. 

But with me, she had to choose, between her true destiny and her mortal passions. And I intended to turn her into something more, she was special. 

‘And what they fear…’

‘They seek to destroy…’ 

Her dark side felt as intoxicating, almost killing the man who cast her out, causing her crippled mentor walk up to her, her dark side was as powerful, only she belonged in the light, she was made of it, for it, for me. 

She fought harder than expected. Even tried to give up on me, as if there was a choice for either of us. She was desperate to go back to her normal, I was drawing into that desperation, only to make her what she was meant to be. We were one, she almost died as the creature tried to draw me into it, the taste was awful, like the taste of its planet while I devoured it. 

The young man, Scott saved us both Jean and me at the last moment. She survived, we both realized we had to compromise on each other’s existence, it was the first time she realized she would have to embrace the gift of my existence within her. I would help her overcome her enemies, she would merge, save everyone and then free us both from a world so small for us both. 

She loved her family, she forgave her mentor, the older man wasn’t ready to say goodbye, to fail her again. The light consumed her, saving her beloved, her family and her planet from the threat. 

‘Your emotions make you weak,’ the creature had no idea, Jean only grew more powerful. For those emotions she finally gave in, saving her family and opening up to me, we became one, the universe was ours. 

‘My emotions make me strong.’

‘She is free.’ was the last thing the old man said and he was right, as Jean allowed her consciousness to merge with me, she found liberty like no other human being had ever found, and I finally found purpose, I belonged with her, her will became mine. 

We turned dust into water, water into life, and we stopped stagnation, we saved systems, she made up for all I had done, she felt she had to. She restored balance while I enjoyed the love she gave for it all. 

Yet a golden thread kept us connected with the young man, back on earth. 

We, I , always looked back on earth, feeling the need, the love, the despair of the young soul. The loss was crippling, he was scrapping for the human remains of love through the bond, our bond. I was unable not to notice, not to feel, every search through the bond opened a wound further. The universe was supposed to be restored, everything was supposed to be at peace, only he wasn’t. Scott suffered and along him, I suffered as well, a suffering Phoenix was a dangerous thing.

Charles knew I still existed, but he understood, he kept everything a secret, he waited for Scott to mend his wounds, to heal, but Scott only got weaker. It was the bond, half opened and leaking my existence into his and his despair into my balance. 

 ‘Come back to me, ’ his words shook me to the core. He needed me and even though the universe felt beautiful and peaceful, I needed him too. I needed him more than anything, never wanted to give up on him. Never wanted him to suffer because of me, never wanted to be away. 

‘I’m leaving for Europe… I need to take care of some… unfinished business there.’ I was too far away to understand how he was going to do it, all I could see of him was what Scott saw. Charles was as broken, desperate to change everything. And I rushed back to earth. Through space and time, before it was too late.

He wanted to change the world again, literally. And I needed to preserve my world. I needed to preserve myself and the Phoenix Force, or it would be alone again, destroying everything in its wake. I had to protect Scott, or I would fall into my darkness the moment he was gone and then the universe would be in peril once more. 

‘Scott !’ I followed the golden thread through the vast universe, trying to find my world, my planet again, following the bond, reaching to him. 

‘What are you doing slumped in my side of the bed, baby? Don’t you have a class to teach?’ I created illusions as I linked with Scott in my desperation for the thread not to fade away every time Scott reached the point of collapsing. I sustained him through my lifeforce while he attempted to wither away, his human perception of life and death made him believe I was dead and he wanted to die and find me, while I wished for him to live longer until I could rejoin him. I had to find my way back to him before it was too late. I had to minimize the paradox. The illusion was only that but our kiss, through the bond was real. I loved him beyond measure, and he loved me the same. 

She was right there, a magnificent bird-shaped aura of purple and white fire engulfed her. She opened her arms and he moved closer, the universe stood silent around them as their lips met.

‘Scott…’

‘I am coming back to you, I’ll always come back to you.’ 

‘I love you so much,’ 

‘You’ll never hurt me,’ 

‘I don’t need telepathy to know you’re flapping to the top, you do it every time…’ 

‘Scott!’ 

Our very essence. Us was the path I followed back to earth. Scott was moving, his need for me radiating like the sun. I followed his light, his need, his mind pulling at our bond as if it were a string, a chord stretched and pulsing, vibrating through me, like a candle in the darkness, I was drawn to it. 

I created matter, matter familiar to me, my body, my form, at first I had needed the White Room, now it was a matter of will. I descended, setting fire behind me. I tasted the earth’s atmosphere, oxygen burned my lungs, fresh blood pulsed through my veins. My eyes still closed as I focused on Scott, Canada, a lake, the perfect spot to land without creating casualties. Scott was so close I could feel our bond set alight. He would pull through the pain, like I did. We would soon be together. 

I expanded myself, engulfing him as I felt it, across the planet, Charles was changing everything. I had reached Scott just on time. I became what I wanted. No one would be changing my life again, my destiny was mine. 

We were safe only in the haven. 

White light. 

Static Noise.

He was right there, alive, although physically he had just crushed on the trees with his motorbike, his heart was beating its last moments as she extended her hand for him, saving him. 

‘I came back to you... ‘ her voice was happy, calm, satisfied, she had been searching for him, he had been in their bedroom for so long yet when she was to reach him, he had moved. 

‘Jean…’ he wanted to ask if they were dead only to realize he didn’t care. He took her hand and gasped at the feel of her skin against his. She was there, with him, or he was with her. She smiled, they were together.

He cupped her cheeks as her skin cracked with fiery lines, this was the perfect place for him to understand how they were to be from now on. Everything was changing, layers upon layers of existence, yet the two of them remained. 

‘Scott Summers,’ his name was tried by the force, they needed proper introductions, she allowed the force to reach him under her control. ‘I occupy her mind, I am her and she is me. But you occupy her heart, wholly. She drove herself here,’ the Phoenix spoke, blending into mortal existence, touching truly what it had only glimpsed of what Jean felt for Scott all this time. ‘I was to be one with her since she was a child, since Cairo, but she had needed time, during that time, she became one with you.’ Jean was there while the Phoenix spoke, they were one, but Jean needed to find a way for both to be satisfied within one mind. ‘Now we must be protected, the two of us and the Force that is me.’ Jean’s voice was unchanged, so were her eyes. Scott seemed to understand, to accept her no matter the conditions, no matter the world they’d enter the moment they’d be out of the White Room. 

‘I love you, no matter what, Jean. I love you.’ 

They finally embraced and kissed, their lips hungry against each other. Their moment in time stretched as the static became louder, piercing their ears, they kept their lips locked, eyes shut in pleasure and pain. Behind them, Charles Xavier’s glimpse was shown, focusing his mind on a man in his late twenties, his hands around his head, guiding him into the right moment in time and changing it, along with everything that followed. 

White blinding light. 

Static noise.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5 - Altered

 

The past: a new and uncertain world. A world of endless possibilities and infinite outcomes. Countless choices define our fate: each choice, each moment, a moment a ripple in the river of time. Enough ripples, and you change the tide... for the future is never truly set.

 

‘You told me my father was dead and you used me for my powers!’ she bit back angrily, she was seething.

‘No that’s just not true, that’s not what happened.’ Charles softened his voice, glancing at Raven the moment she looked at him in disbelief. ‘Jean we can help you, I can help you but you have to listen to me -’

‘No, no I don’t!’ she countered stubbornly. 

‘Scott…’ Charles tried, glancing at the only person Jean would listen. The younger man approached before everyone, causing Jean to walk towards him, wanting him by her side instead of the team’s, instead of Charles’. 

‘He lied to me, Scott, about everything!’ Jean was angry, knowing he would listen to her, he always did. 

‘We’ll figure everything out together,’ Scott started confidently as the couple approached each other. ‘Just come back to me, remember you said you’ll always come back to me….’ Scott was honest, pushing away the anger at her taking him out in their bedroom, pushing aside the betrayal she felt towards their mentor. ‘Come back to me…’ he urged, begged her and for a moment Scott could see she was about to. Put an end in all this and follow him, only him until they could find a way. 

She was tired and in turmoil, he could feel her thoughts of returning shattering as the sirens of the police vehicles approached. Probably her father had called the police on her. The anger she emitted through their bond almost overtook him as she begged for the voices in her head to stop. ‘Jean…’ he could feel the fear she felt, the need to escape somewhere safe, even if away from him. 

‘Stay away from me,’ Jean whispered mostly to herself, the cracks on her skin appearing quickly, she was threatened, losing control. ‘STAY AWAY FROM ME!’ she screamed this time, her powers toppling the police vehicles. 

‘Stop her quickly!’ Charles’ voice initiated the chaos that followed. 

‘Charles, wait! Wait!’ Scott shouted as Jean tried to take off but Kurt teleported and dragged her back. They fell on the roof with a thud that had the team wincing and then Kurt kept teleporting her inside one of the houses. Noises of rumble falling were heard. The explosion from within had Storm attacking Jean who flew out of it, Scott rushed against Ororo as to make her miss the target. She didn’t but Jean deflected the strike easily, getting furious, yet her face was serene as her brain raced. 

Hank pulled at the trigger of the tranquilizer. Peter tried to take her down but she pushed the rumble he had intended of stepping on, her speed matched his, her strength outpowered them all. Jean allowed him to fall, injuring himself almost severely. Storm tried again to hit Jean but she deflected the lightning once more, smashing another house and pushing Scott and Ororo away from her. Raven tried to speak to her before they could level the neighborhood in their attempt to stop her. 

‘Jean…Stop!’ Raven begged her friend, drawing her attention, so far she had been the only one who didn’t try to attack or speak to her. 

‘I’ve got the shot, I’m taking it,’ Hank declared as he was ready to take the shot once more. 

‘No you’re not,’ Charles stated calmly. ‘I’m sorry, Hank. I want Raven to have a chance,’ Charles added as he touched his temple, freezing the policemen and Hank who were ready to shoot along the rest of the X-Men, Jean would be calmer without their thoughts.. 

‘I told you to stay away…’ Jean warned. 

‘That’s never gonna happen…’ Raven replied in an obvious manner, Jean was guarded but at least she lowered herself on the ground. 

‘Please…’ Jean begged, feeling her body burning from within as Raven approached, Jean felt her stomach churning with fear and energy. ‘Stop…’ Jean added. 

‘Not until I know you’re gonna be ok,’ Raven added, still approaching cautiously. 

‘Something’s happening to me,’ Jean said, her voice lost as she looked around her, only then realising the extent of the fight against her own team. The serenity over her face was now replaced by agony. 

‘So, come home, let me take care of you,’ Raven tried to reason with her, asking for permission to aid one of her closest friends.  

‘No, you can’t… you can’t… you…’ Jean was trying to keep talking, looking at the cracking of her skin, her hands and torso. Every fiber of her being burnt, ached for her to release the power coiling inside her, her head throbbed, the voices within it rising. 

‘Let me in,’ one of the many voices screamed, Charles watched in fear as he heard the voice too. 

 ‘You don’t know what it’s like…’ Jean added but she wasn’t talking so much to Raven as much as she did to the voices. 

‘Then tell me,’ Raven offered, for a moment only, she was afraid of what was over Jean. The telepath’s eyes turned amber, her skin cracking, yet she kept approaching. 

‘When it comes...people get hurt.’ Jean added finally, her greatest fear, she always feared she would hurt someone and now her family was at stake. 

‘I’m not afraid of you, Jean’ Raven lied bravely as she approached even closer. Jean fought to keep the pain and voices down, they only raised, her eyes closed, her breathing rapid. ‘Look at me,’ Raven tried to make her focus. ‘Focus on my voice,’ she instructed steadily. Jean was clutching at her head, the pain becoming unbearable, the power making her heart beat fast. However Jean tried and looked at her friend. ‘We’re going to get through this together. ‘We’re not giving up on you, Jean.’ Raven promised honestly. ‘This is what family does, we take care of each other.’ her own voice was only adding to the onslaught of pain and voices within Jean’s brain. The light, her presence, the rest, everything was becoming too much. Raven was too close and the pain was too strong. Jean struggled with all her might to keep herself in check. ‘You are my family, Jean…’ Raven promised and did the mistake of touching the telepath. The physical touch was too much, scorging Jean as much as the force within her ‘No matter what,’ Raven’s words were overshadowed by Jean’s howl. 

‘STOP!’ she screamed and lashed out, hurling Raven against the rumble behind her. The spikes bathed in blood as Raven gasped for breath against them. Her stomach was stabbed as Jean reached her, shock written all over her face. 

‘No,’ Jean whispered as she approached her friend, her mind clearing. ‘No, no, no…’ she could only utter again and again as she used her powers to dissolve the spikes and keep the bleeding at bay. She wasn’t sure what she was doing, she only knew she needed to save her friend, her family, she switched off Raven’s mental perception of pain and as she touched her wound, by sheer will, she somehow made the wound smaller and unable to bleed. Somehow, she was keeping Raven alive, even if her mutation was entirely different. All that before Hank could shove her away from his beloved. 

‘Stay away from her!’ Hank roared and snapped Jean out of her effort as he rushed close to Raven to examine her, she was alive but barely. Jean gasped and looked around her at the terrified faces of the rest. Of Scott who tried to approach her, Jean backed further away, glancing at Raven, she wouldn’t let Scott have the same fate, or anyone who would try to touch her. She had to stay away. 

‘Jean!No!’ Scott shouted from the distance, agony written all over his face.

She flew away, ustopped, even if Scott mentally cried out for her not to go.



The team returned, numb and silent as Scott helped Kurt with Peter while Hank carried Raven. Peter would get better, he’d be ok, however Hank was afraid of Raven and some new internal bleeding. He operated on her, finding Jean had stopped the bleeding but left him the stitching of the organs, her spleen and stomach were fractured, her liver badly cut, but she had her chances. 

‘She will recover,’ Charles tried to soothe his oldest friend, both of them away from the operated woman. 

‘And the moment she does, in hours or days or weeks, I’m taking her out of here.’ Hank announced and Charles shook his head. 

‘Hank…’ he tried but Hank spun around and looked down at his best friend. 

‘It’s what she wanted, and I held her back, but she is right. This is your life, your dream and it’s turning into a nightmare. We’re out of here the moment she’s able.’ Hank added and Charles tried again. 

‘We’ll contain Jean and-’ Charles tried but Hank threw his hands in the air in exasperation, he was still dressed in the operating robes, stained with Raven's blood.. 

‘You really understand nothing, do you?’ Hank shouted this time. ‘You played with the mind of a powerful telepath, what did you expect would happen? You’d keep her “contained” forever? You tried to contain Raven, Erik tried to push here and there and she chose me. You did the same with Jean, Charles, even if Logan warned us and now we’re heading towards the same catastrophe.’ Hank was shouting, hoping to kick some sense into the head of the strongest telepath. ‘If Jean becomes too much of a threat, I’ll defend the school and the students, until then, she’s your creation and your problem. Try lecture Scott on better days, I paid my price by going fist first in Raven’s gut to patch her up. I almost lost her and I’m done losing her to other people’s actions and choices. ’ Hank added as he moved away from his friend, leaving him to ponder on his failures as he looked at Raven’s pale face.



‘Is it true? Jean almost killed Raven?’ A student asked as Scott, Kurt and Storm moved to the corridors of the school after changing from the mission. Kurt and Storm looked at Scott who remained to defend his girlfriend. 

‘It was an accident, and Jean tried to heal her afterwards.’ Scott finally answered.  ‘Raven will recover, and Jean… Jean lost control, but she’s.. she’s still Jean, she’s still our friend. We can still find her and help her, we’re gonna bring her home… That’s what we’re gonna do, ok?’ Scott tried to reassure the students. His mind and heart in turmoil, in doubt of his words and actions, or therefore lack of. He chose to return to the bedroom he shared with Jean, followed by Storm as Kurt excused himself to go and pray for them all. 

‘It wasn’t an accident, Scott,’ Storm whispered at her best friend. Jean was slipping away from them and Storm needed Scott to do the right thing if the time came to choose between Jean or the lives of hundreds of students or civilians. ‘She tried to kill Raven,  she attacked Kurt, she fought us back, she injured Peter and these cops… you can’t admit it to yourself but it’s the truth.’ Storm added as Scott turned around and looked at his best friend, anger flaring up inside him. 

‘That was not Jean… not the Jean I know…’ Scott tried to remain calm, he wanted to make everyone understand, even the people closest to Jean supposedly wouldn’t need persuasion. ‘Attacking her was not the right approach, not while she’s so unstable,’ Scott criticized the tactics they followed.

‘Maybe, but she harmed half of us,’ Storm pointed out, she had grown in the streets, she needed to be adaptable even if friends become foes. 

‘It won’t happen again,’ Scott promised for Jean’s behalf. ‘We won’t come to that,’

‘We’re already at that, Scott! She had her chance to stop… she refused us, she refused you…’ Storm shouted, her own frustration coming to the surface, her closest friend was slipping through her fingers, injuring her other friends almost severely, she wouldn’t attend anyone’s funeral. ‘Look…’ she tried calmly again. ‘Sometimes, you want to believe people are something that they are not and then by the time you realize who they are, it’s too late.’ Storm tried, her own despair and agony coming out in the form of doubt but this time Scott couldn’t hold back. 

‘Then Jean should have never made you her best friend, Storm,’ Scott snapped back, Ororo’s eyes clouded with pain. ‘After Cairo, after you tried to kill us. I should have never believed you’re my own best friend even if we were foes once. I should have kept believing you were just a thief, a horseman of Apocalypse, an enemy.’ Scott bit back and Ororo sighed and looked down. ‘Your loyalties should have been stronger, Storm. Jean is fighting for her life, like Raven, like all of us. But there’s still hope, there must be. I could have left the team, I could have followed Jean, fuck, maybe I should have already. But I’m here, trying to keep us united and find a way to bring her home.’ Scott was shouting his frustration, his fears and doubts. ‘Just leave,’ he added before he could accuse her for attacking Jean twice, before he could make things worse, they were all more divided than ever, he couldn’t fuel the fire now.



It was pouring rain around her, she was alone, cold, shaking, her hands in vain tried to clean her blooded blouse. The tears down her face mingled with teardrops.

‘Why did I do that?’ Jean was whimpering to herself, sobbing her terror and guilt. 

‘We’re together now, you’re not alone, let me in,’ the voice was whispering to her as Jean gasped and whined, her skin was breaking, frozen from outside, scalding from the inside. She was delirious. 

‘Why did you make me do that?’ she dared ask the Being within her, trying to make contact for the first time, knowing it wasn’t her doing entirely. She was going mad. ‘She was my friend,’ Jean whispered desperately. 

‘And she’s alive….’ the voice promised. ‘She’s out of danger, unlike us. They are coming, let me in, Jean.’ the voice whispered in her head, expanding Jean’s mind without her will to make her see. 

The creatures were approaching, alien beings, shape-shifters, they were infiltrating the CIA quarters. Moira McTarget’s files. She was being injured, the classified information was accessed by they beings. They were searching for Jean after failing to find information from her own father. 

Security got to them, the aliens were still unfamiliar with how the human world worked. The fight left dead, alien and human alike, the true forms shook the humans, sending everyone on red alert. The president was informed and he gave the command for Jean to be found before the aliens could reach and use her. 

The images stopped as long as they started and Jean struggled to stand on her own two feet, her head felt like splitting in two. She gave in just a little, knowing she had to do so much and she’s in no shape. The Force took control immediately, flying them to the place Jean wished to go. For the first time, one used the power and the other the intention. It worked as Jean found her way to Genosha, the only place she hoped to be safe. 

 

 

‘Leave her,’ Erik commanded his fellow mutants as they circled her, knowing well who she was and what had happened at Redhook.  ‘What are you doing here?’ he asked as he approached her. She had hoped to ask him on how to stop the urge, the satisfaction of lashing out, of hurting others. But greater things were at stake now, she needed a different kind of help, and she needed shelter. 

‘I came here looking for answers and bearing information…’ Jean explained and Erik gestured for her to go inside his house. 

‘Whose blood is that?’ he asked calmly as he offered her tea. Jean hesitated for a moment. ‘Jean?’ he urged. ‘Whose blood is that?’ he asked once again and Jean rubbed her forehead before she could start explaining. 

‘I...I absorbed an energy during a mission, something’s happening to me. I hurt the people I love. I… I fought with the X-Men. I injured Raven, but I healed her too, she’s alive. I… my powers are stronger now.’ Jean was trying to explain, the memories felt so distant yet so fresh, she could still feel the pained thoughts of shock and fear as she dissolved the spikes from Raven’s abdomen, her blood warm against her own body.  ‘We’ve been invaded by something alien, some race of shape-shifters, searching for the energy I absorbed, searching for me. I think. They attacked the CIA for information on me. The government knows and they want to capture me first…’ she kept talking, it was the only way to keep herself in check, she didn’t care if she sounded crazy. Erik would believe her, he was a simpler mind than Charles. He knew when a threat was real. ‘I couldn’t go to Charles… I’m afraid. I’m afraid he’d give me to them to establish peace but you were right, you were always right, we’re at war and-’ Jean was crying freely by then, broken at the lack of trust in her mentor, her home. She wished Scott could be there, but he had remained with the X-Men, to maintain the balance of their family while she had ran to Erik to somehow find manpower to save the world. She was turning desperate as Erik approached her but didn’t touch her as she descended into another mental episode, he knew better than that after so many years around Charles. 

‘Jean, focus on me,’ he tried, his voice loud. He had so many questions and it was evident she had no answers but he could see the truth in her words. She fought to focus on him. ‘I’m not building an army here, I’ve stopped doing that a long time ago. Genosha is a haven for all mutants and you’re safe here. If we’re in danger from aliens, it’s a threat to us all.’ Erik was saying calmly, struggling to make sure she understood him. 

‘They want me as a weapon I think, I- I’m not sure,’ Jean was struggling to form the words, she felt sick as the voices were rising again. Erik wasn’t listening anymore as Selene, the closest friend he had in Genosha entered his house and spoke the words that sent them on alert. 

‘Choppers are approaching, military, armed to the teeth.’ she told Erik and he nodded as Jean stood up, her mind clearing at the announcement of danger. 

‘Stay here, that’s a command,’ Erik’s words made her angry, she was done taking orders. She was done following men’s orders while her life was in danger. Her skin cracked in amber as he exited the place and she was left behind, expanding her mind to see what was happening. ‘I want everyone to stay calm but ready,’ he told the telepath, Selene sent the message throughout the camp. 

‘We have a legal right to be here, this land was given to us by the US government,’ Erik spoke the first words to the captain who approached him. 

‘And we have no intention of taking it back.’ the man spoke honestly enough. I’m not here for you, I’m here for one of the X-Men… Jean Grey. You don’t mind if I get to look around?’ 

‘You come to my home during a manhunt, unannounced and uninvited?’ Erik wondered. 

‘Look, I know who you are… I don’t wanna fight.’ the man reassured Erik. 

‘No you don’t…’ Erik reassured him back. 

‘Then step aside or bring her to us.’ the soldier commanded. 

‘We have the same rights as your family.’

‘I told you, we’re not here for you. We’re here for a girl who gave up those rights when she attacked the police officers. They have families too…’ he added and Erik gave a low chuckle, he had learnt of the incident in the news, only they had kept the beat of the X-Men fighting with one of their own, the government wasn't sure how to treat a civil war among national heroes, especially while aliens infiltrated the system on said national heroes. Charles idiotic truce with the humans was crumbling.

‘And all this invasion is happening because she did what? Toppled a couple of cars? Grey would never kill…. Unless you want her for something else… before others can get to her.’ Erik tried the words, she hadn’t told him of attacking the police but it mattered little before the truth that etched over the captain’s face. Jean was right about the government being after her. ‘Maybe you want her contained for other reasons, to experiment on her for example, this wouldn’t be the first time happening with mutants…’ he added and the captain was ready to speak again but one of the helicopters was set in motion. 

Jean appeared from behind him, her skin cracking all over, his words, the truth had set her off. She wasn’t listening at Erik’s shouts of her name and didn’t care at the guns pointed at her as she levitated herself closer. Her hand was already outstretched, the helicopter was dangerously losing balance as she lost control. She made it spin, working like a ripping machine as mutants and soldiers alike rushed to save their lives from the spiraling vehicle. When she was done, she tried for the second one, only Erik interfered, trying to save the bloody thing until the soldiers could climb on it on time.

It was a fight of wills and powers. The soldiers had the time to leave on time as Erik saved the helicopter. Jean lashed out her anger and shoved him against some bikes, only that time it wasn’t Jean at all. As she looked around her, she saw the remains of the helicopter and the terror in people’s faces, slowly coming back to her senses. 

‘I told you to stay inside,’ Erik barked at her. ‘You jeopardised us all. They will come back and this time Genosha won’t matter to them,’ Erik was screaming openly. ‘You need to leave, go! Before you cause more destruction!’ Erik’s words were countered by Jean’s.

‘I need help, you made this place to protect mutants. I can’t control it and-’

‘I made this place for mutants and I protect them… from you… if you’re out of control, go back to Charles. If I must choose between you and hundreds, I must choose the hundreds.’ Erik countered back at Jean’s furious, tearful face. 

‘If they get me, billions will die, but choose your precious few… you’re more like Charles than you care to admit...’ Jean only countered, knowing both men’s minds, choosing their kind until it suits them otherwise. Making teams and packs only to lay waste in them, like the First Class, like the Brotherhood, and like now, the X-Men…

‘I’ll find my way,’ she declared as she left Genosha. 



Charles was watching the news, Jean had tried to find refuge in Genosha, she had attacked the military, before that the police and Raven. Everything was crumbling down, her worst fear of hurting someone was a reality, his own worst fear of Jean finding out of his betrayal was upon him too. He had failed Logan when he promised he’d tried to do his best, he had thought he had done the right thing but obviously the result was showing otherwise. Jean was out there, unprotected, alone, hunted down and he was in his dark office, trying to find a way to keep his own promise to her. 

‘If you break something… anything, I can fix it,’  

Everything was broken, Raven and Peter were still down, Hank avoided them all, already out of the team. Kurt was drowning in guilt over not saving Jean in the shuttle, over going against her at Redhook. Storm and Scott had a major fight, both in pain over Jean. Scott’s mind was buzzing with anger. He felt the man closest to son approaching, the doors of his study opened. The two looked at each other. It was like yesterday when Scott destroyed Charles’ favorite tree, Jean had watched from the distance, intrigued by the young insufferable teenager, professor and student had turned to father and son but the schism between them bled with betrayal. 

‘Everyone is against her,’ Scott was desperate, unable to scream over the mind manipulation, over never telling her, over manipulating her life. He was unable to scream over the broken trust, the doubt of what else Charles could have done not only to Jean but each and every one of them. Charles’ vision had a price and all of them only then realized how high that price was. 

‘Not everyone,’ Charles promised. He was unable to track her down, her mind felt like the sun, solid and scorging, powerful, unyielding, burning anything close to it. But he would find a way to approach her.

‘Use me, the bond I have with her could be enough,’ Scott offered, he would open his mind to a mind manipulator. Jean didn’t want him inside her head but he would open up his for him to mend his mistakes. Charles shook his head in fear. 

‘If she sensed me, she could lose control again, she could severe the link, and I don’t know what that would do to you, Scott, you’re not a telepath and this link between you two… It’s one of its kind, she could kill you by accident through it.’ Charles tried to explain but Scott shook his head. 

‘I don’t care, I-’ Scott tried, desperate to find a way. 

‘She does, Scott.’ Charles interrupted before he could go further. ‘When she was younger, her worst fear was to hurt someone… But ever since you two got together, her worst fear turned into the possibility of her hurting you…’ Charles added and Scott sighed, his eyes filling with tears. He knew Charles spoke the truth. ‘She’s all rage and pain, it’s coming out at once, imagine how she would be if you were added to that… You must be protected if we want to even hope of getting her back.’ Charles concluded, tears had gathered in his eyes as well. 

The special line rung, snapping both out of the heavy atmosphere. He had tried to contact the President right after Redhook but he had been refused, now it was ringing. He picked up the phone quickly and answered the call. 

‘Charles? We have a problem far greater than your student but I think she’s part of the equation.’ The President’s voice was gravely serious as he proceeded on explaining what was going on with the shape shifters against Jean, ironically refuting his words to Scott, everyone was against her. 



Through the bond, she could feel Scott’s agony, his fear and worry. Had Charles known by then? Had he told him? She could feel his desperation, drank in it as she kept emptying glass after glass of whiskey. She preferred he was away, he was safe away from her.

‘Hello, Jean,’ the alien spoke to the young mutant inside the bar. Jean froze as her disguise didn’t affect the being next to her. ‘You can’t control my mind like theirs…’ the woman spoke and Jean could feel something was odd. ‘I’m not like them,...’ she added, reassuring Jean of her suspicions. She had been found. ‘Same please…’ she added casually at the bartender for a drink. 

‘How did you find me?’ Jean asked slowly, maybe as long as they were among other people she was safe. 

‘Lets just say I have friends in high places.’ the woman spoke in riddles but Jean verified the things the Force within her had shown her, protecting her by showing her the truth while everyone else lied to her. 

‘Who are you?’ Jean finally asked, slowly realizing the extra terrestrial life form by her side and the cosmic force within her. 

‘The better question is, who are you?’ the creature spoke, Jean tried to get a name from her, Vuk, a whisper given not by her telepathy but by the force’s searching for it. ‘Are you a scared little girl who answers to a man on a chair or are you the most powerful creature on the planet?’ the alien asked and Jean sighed and looked down at her glass, for the first time honest with herself.

‘I don’t know who I am.’ she replied and the alien smirked. 

‘Yes you do, you’re the girl who everyone abandons.’ the creature replied coldly, playing with her weakness. 

‘Maybe they had good reason,’ Jean tried to defend her betrayals, she had turned against them after all, refused and attacked them. 

‘Because what’s inside you, you’re afraid of it... you think it makes you bad...evil… all the words you’ve been taught to keep you in line. Words created a very long time ago by men with very little minds. They can’t begin to comprehend what you are...Even your X-Men… even your love…’ Vuk spoke the words that struck so close home Jean was left speechless to look at the creature. She was different from the others, just like the alien herself. Whatever was inside of her felt, she was afraid of it, she couldn’t control it. Someone had to help her, someone who knew, the alien seemed to know. Maybe the aliens were searching for her to take it from her, to control it instead of weaponize her, she was so tired, so confused. Maybe, just maybe, if she played along, she could find a way to control her destiny, maybe the aliens could, it was obvious Vuk knew of the Force that resided within Jean. Maybe if she played with fire, and didn’t get burnt, she was able to master it. 

‘And you can?...’ Jean asked, uncertainty eating her up, the Force within her screamed for her not to go willingly into the enemies’ teeth. But said enemy seemed much more welcoming and understanding than all her friends, family and the Force combined… Vuk smiled at her, offering her hand in a gesture she had recently discovered mattered to humans. 

‘I understand the Force might be showing you that I’m a danger to you…. But you’re a greater danger to yourself…. The Force wishes to control you, take over and consume you. If you allow me to help, if you give me a chance, you’ll see that I’m the only one able to make you control it, and it’s something the Force doesn’t want, that’s why it demonizes me in your eyes. Let me show you how.’ Vuk spoke softly, Jean fought so hard to detect the lie in her words. 

She fought so hard to believe in good intentions. Maybe Vuk could help her, where everyone else failed.  

 

 

‘Charles…’ Scott spoke the name as he, Storm and Kurt stood before him. Charles seemed as broken as the rest. ‘Hank’s refused to come at the meeting. He refused even to learn about what is going on… Raven is with an infection, he’s not leaving her side.’ Scott added as he looked at Charles with calculating eyes behind his visor. ‘Explain to them’ he asked. Everyone had kept him with effort from going and searching, they needed a plan. It wasn’t just him and Jean anymore, there was this Force between them, separating them.  

‘I…I spoke with the President….’ Charles said, his voice broken as he had to explain. ‘There has been an invasion by aliens who followed the Force that took over Jean, most likely. They want the Force for themselves. They are after Jean,’ Charles explained and Scott was shaking his head. Things were only getting worse, more complicated, she was in grave danger. ‘The CIA is also trying to get to her. We need to save her before it’s too late.’ Charles added and before anyone could speak, he looked at Scott. ‘You will lead of the team from now on, I’ll try to find her. I will do my best with Cerebro, I swear.’ Charles offered but Scott was already out of the study of his mentor, he had offered a way, through the bond, Charles insisted on not taking the needed risks, even if it would be for Scott to pay for it if something went wrong. Furious at himself and everyone for sitting around while Jean remained alone out there, hunted down by everyone. 

‘Scott, wait! You can’t just go like that, she might kill you by accident and-’ Charles was calling out for the man who grew closer to a son for him. Scott spun around, his temper not in check anymore. 

‘Then tell me how we fix this, Charles! Tell me what to do!’ Scott screamed. 

‘I don’t know what to do!’ Charles screamed back, he had lost control over everything, everyone and he was about to lose even more. ‘But I’ll find a way.’ his voice was cracking, glancing at Kurt and Ororo who only looked away as Scott panted before them all in frustration. 

‘Then stop talking and start doing something, use me, through Cerebro, she’s not letting you but I feel the bond between us, use me as your guide to her.’ Scott begged this time. He was done sulking in his pain, in his loss, in his regret and betrayal. He had to act, Jean would want him to act, every moment that passed away from her was a moment she was in danger. 



The fifth avenue was busy as Jean followed Vuk into the old mansion. When she entered the place she saw more shape-shifters in there. 

‘They know who I am?’ Jean asked, Vuk smiled and nodded at her. ‘And they’re not afraid of me…’ Jean concluded, sensing what they projected. She felt oddly welcome, something she hadn’t felt in a long time. She was always the freak,  the weird girl, the strange one. 

‘The only person here afraid of your power… is you.’ Vuk spoke as she moved upstairs, Jean followed. One of the men said something in their own language but Jean chose to ignore the fear that creeped up in her, mostly coming from the Force within her who screamed for her to run. Every time more and more familiar to her as it nestled in her head. She tried to hold it back, mold it into a firebird as her brain recognized it as such, like she unconsciously had done in Cairo, against Apocalypse. It took form and screeched within her head. They entered a spacious bedroom, nothing out of the ordinary as Jean looked around and faced Vuk who closed the door behind them. 

‘This is what you wanted to show me?...’ Jean asked impatiently. 

‘No…’ Vuk replied as she raised her hand, the room dissolved around them, turning into the universe itself. ‘This… is what I wanted to show you…’ she added as Jean looked around her mesmerized. ‘What entered you in space was not solar flare…’ Vuk explained as Jean looked at the galaxies and trillions of stars around her. ‘And it was not an accident, it was drawn to you.’ Vuk spoke as Jean saw through the flare getting inside her within the shuttle. 

‘What was it?’ Jean asked as she followed the fiery being with her eyes. 

‘A pure and unimaginably powerful cosmic force. We saw it enter you in space, we were there, Jean. Following that force.’ Vuk explained and Jean drank in the answers as she watched the moment from afar. 

‘Why?’ she breathed.  

‘Because it’s the spark that gave life to the universe and the flame that consumed my world…’ Vuk replied as Jean watched the flames destroying a planet, she could detect Vuk’s grave tone. ‘What remains of my people search the stars for that power, to control it, but it destroyed everything it ever came in contact with…’ Vuk’s words were met by images of destruction and agony throughout planets. Cults worshipped the Force in temples, advanced civilizations beyond faith tried to catch it with their technologies, High Priests and Scientists met the same fate as they perished. ‘Until you…’ Vuk added and glanced at Jean as she looked back at the alien. 

‘Why me?’ Jean asked, her complaint and sadness were evident. She never asked for it, she never had a chance. 

‘Because you’re stronger than you know. Because you’re special, Jean.’ Vuk seemed honest as Jean watched the Force through the universe. ‘With my help, you can control what’s inside you, harness that power to create whole new worlds. Turn dust into water, water into life.’ Vuk’s words visualized before them with pictures of creation, life and balance, in total contrast with the images before. ‘It’s your destiny, Jean… to become something greater, to evolve into the greatest force in the galaxy.’ Vuk explained as the image of a massive firebird erupted before them. 

The visualisation was over and Jean found herself before Vuk, on her knees. The shape shifters were holding her down. Jean struggled, trying to tap at the Force within for the first time, she didn’t know how and soon she was forced into a strange collar, holding her mutant powers at bay. She felt crippled without them, afraid of them for so long, wishing she never had them, she suddenly was realizing how much she should have cherished them, they were part of her.  

‘What’s that?’ Jean chocked the words as the collar was causing her pain every time she tried to tap into her powers, the Force remained silent, stunned at the abuse of its hostess. 

‘That was found among the CIA facilities we infiltrated. Strange ways the humans trust the X-Men, waiting in the corner to tame you all like you tame other creatures of this planet.’ Vuk explained to Jean’s furious eyes. ‘But please, Jean, my method might seem cruel but it’s the only way for me to help you. Control the Force within you until you can do it yourself. But I can’t help if you keep losing control and lashing out.’ Vuk explained coldly, nodding at the men to help her stand. Jean’s arms were strapped behind her back, she knew physically, she was unable to take down her enemies and her powers were locked, the Force tingled within her, tasting the luck of power in her, she was scared as she realized the bond with Scott had been severed

‘I told you they could never understand you, and what they don’t understand they fear...and what they fear…’ 

‘They seek to destroy…’ Jean’s voice was broken as she spoke the conclusion of the words. Vuk had shown her what the Force within her was but the Force itself had been right about Vuk, they feared it, they would either control or destroy it and Jean would follow along as the hostess of the Force. The bitterest part was that Vuk was already true to her words, the X-Men didn’t understand her, they feared her and the government was after her, the aliens only put a target on Jean’s forehead. 

‘I will try to extract it, if I fail, we’ll put an end to it all.’ Vuk spoke to her people, Jean struggled to free herself only to be taken down by one of Vuk’s touches, falling into oblivion. 



 

Scott and Charles moved out of the chamber of Cerebro. Charles had achieved to reach Jean through Scott’s bond right before even that connection had been severed, sending Scott into a head splitting migraine that had brought him to his knees. 

‘It’s time,’ Charles spoke as they moved towards the X-Jet, Scott was on overdrive, his pain made his vision blurry but he pushed on, he had to find Jean. Ororo and Kurt approached them. 

‘We know where Jean is.’ Scott announced and the other two nodded. ‘Through me, we found her, she’s already with these shape shifters, if the President is correct, they want to kill her and take the thing that is inside her…’ 

‘And they will kill anyone who stands in their way to her.’ Charles added and looked at his two remaining X-Men. ‘Hank’s not coming,I understand him, Raven’s still in critical condition and she’s all that matters to him. Kurt, I need you to take care of the students and-’ 

‘And me?’ Ororo challenged but Charles shook his head. 

‘I’m not talking to you know as X-Men, Scott and I will go there, fight for Jean, without you. End of discussion.’ Charles rushed to add as Storm was ready to object. ‘Storm, I have lost so many of the people I love. I’m not going to ask you to go.’ Charles added finally, the storm in her eyes turning into despair at being left behind. 

‘I am,’ Scott interejected and Ororo looked at her best friend. ‘We need you, I need you, Jean needs you,’ Scott spoke, his words solemn, making an opening for Storm to make up to her best friends for her own words and actions. 

‘I’ve got your back,’ Storm reassured Scott. Charles tried to speak but she turned towards him. 

‘We all failed our family, one way or the other, so lets try to save what is left of it,’ Ororo spoke everyone’s sins out. ‘So… end of discussion.’ she added and Charles sighed but nodded. 

‘I owe it to Jean too, she’s my fviend,’ Kurt added innocently. Charles could feel the teleporter’s guilt for not having the time to save her in the shuttle. 

 

 

 

They reached the mansion at fifth avenue. The shape shifters could be anyone. They reached the place cautiously until they heard Jean’s strangled scream from within. Scott was ready to rush inside but a man attacked him, initiating the fight. Soon the army would be notified, it was a battle of force and time. 

‘If you touch her I will fucking kill you,’ Scott shouted at the man before he could blast him away. More and more enemies rushed towards them from within the crowd. Charles used his mind, trying to keep them at bay as Storm created strong winds for the simple civilians to run before she could throw the first lightning. Kurt tried to apparate his way to Scott and from there to the mansion but was cut off by one of the enemies. Metal shards started hitting the shape shifters and Charles looked at his right as Erik reached the place with Selene, and a few more mutants at his wake. The two old friends looked at each other.

‘You betrayed her, I cast her out when she needed someone. Raven would be ashamed of us both if she could see us. Logan would simply kill us.’ Erik only said and Charles nodded as mutants started fighting with aliens in the middle of the street. Jean’s screaming was heard again and Scott made a beeline through the chaos to reach the gates, aided by Erik who cleared the path to him by smashing, beheading and striking down the aliens who seemed unharmed if not cut down. Erik had no problem cutting them all to pieces. 

‘Jean!’ Scott called out as he took in the scene before him. 

Scott was on the front as he entered the mansion and saw a female alien holding Jean by the head who was on her knees, a purple aura had engulfed both. Jean was delirious as the alien seemed to be absorbing the energy from Jean, and her life force with it. Scott didn’t wait a second as he blasted the alien away. The creature broke the connection, letting Jean fall on the ground as she escaped capture. 

Scott rushed up the stairs, turned the visor’s beam into the thinnest of lines and broke the collar around Jean’s neck, freeing her from it, he released her hands next, the fell with small thuds on the cartpetened floor. She was unconscious, barely breathing as Scott cradled her in his arms. He could feel the slightest of whispers of their bond reactivating, burning with Jean’s emotions and the Force. It caused him to shut his eyes at the immense power that it emitted. 

‘Please, wake up, Jean, wake up, baby,’ Scott begged as the rest of the X-Men approached cautiously. 

While without her powers, Jean had focused within her mind through the oblivion she had been drawn to. Trying to reach the Force that had been oddly silent around the aliens. Jean was trying to find a way to escape without her powers, maybe through it. It had begged to be let in and Jean -in her desperation- had allowed it. Empty of her mutation, she was the perfect vessel. Settling within her mind, finding its spot where her powers stemmed from, her feelings, the deepest part of her brain, where the bond with Scott started and her betrayals ended, the Force settled. It had been pushed forward by Jean herself, embracing it as the Force of balance that it could be and not the taker of life that had been so far. 

Human and Force had merged, like they had done years back, in Cairo, there it had been for a few moments of glory and power. Now it had been hours, Jean’s powers were absent and she was left stripped bare before the Cosmic Force. The Phoenix they had called her, a firebird was familiar, residing within her head, making itself a home of her brain, gaining a name but its hostess, the Phoenix Force. The mortal had became a young god, the God had materialized into the young woman. There was no reason to struggle, maybe they could find a way. It could feed upon her love for her dear ones, for Scott, for life. They could co-exist and maybe, as one, they could escape this destiny. Jean tried to forgive everyone and herself, her friends and enemies as she saw her favorite tree in the mansion, where she had sat when Scott first approached her with his glasses on, only this tree was inside her head now and the Phoenix was among its twigs, feeding upon the love for the man Jean’s heart belonged to.

‘I’ve waited for so long,’ the firebird spoke without opening its beak. Jean watched it carefully as she approached it, reaching her hand for it. It’d take time for them to compromise but they would make it. 

‘I had no idea it was you back then,’ Jean spoke, realizing all those dreams of destruction  were the Force. ‘Maybe if we embrace each other…’ she spoke mostly to herself, but what was her own by then? The Phoenix Force felt more familiar by the moments that passed. The firebird was ready to speak again, try once more human communication but massive pain went through both, causing them to scream as Jean fell to her knees and the bird erupted with a screech, unbearable pain was experienced by both as Jean’s brain struggled to keep the tree intact for the Phoenix not to burn it, they would burn together. Someone was trying to rip it out of her, nestled so deep within her brain, it would rip her apart as well. She screamed again, the aliens were trying to harvest it before they could be caught. She screamed in fear not only of her life, but for the Phoenix as well. 

Something severed the harvest, more pain. Her powers returned at full force, agonizing as they collided with the firebird and her conscious. Scott’s voice was heard somewhere in the distance but the firebird had been harmed, a piece of it was missing and it rushed to her agony and darkest feelings and thoughts to feed itself and recover. Destruction was more familiar to it, Jean hadn’t had the time to show it all the good in the world. Jean’s eyes opened, eyes amber and furious as she pushed Scott away, recognizing the only person she’d never harm. Her attention turned towards the rest who backed away, no aliens, just the mutants who hurt her hostess, coaxed those intoxicating feelings of darkness. She gave up to her feelings, she gave up to the bird eating at her in its desperate need to feel whole again. 

Storm and Kurt who attacked her, Charles who betrayed her, Erik who cast her out. She raised her body in the air engulfed in flames, her arm raising, ready to harm them but Scott rushed between her and the rest. Their bond was hurting him, filling him with her darkness  and physical pain but he resisted, for her, shielding the rest from her. 

‘Scott,’ the name in itself halted the firebird from sinking into human darkness, although wounded, it tasted the love. 

‘No matter what you may feel right now, we’re here for you, to save you from any harm, Jean.’ His words were true, her heart beat faster for him, her brain racing.  ‘I’m here for you. You promised you’d come back to me, I promised I’d take the chance. I’m keeping my word, keep yours too, baby, please. I know you’re in there. I know you can do this.’ Scott’s words made her pause. She had merged with a Cosmic Force and said Force was fractured, like her very soul, Scott was there for her, to help, not control or contain, not destroy or kill. He was her lifeline. He reached for her raised arm, unafraid she’d burn them or simply beyond the point of caring, he had to save her,  taking her hand in his, she gasped at the contact, as if touching him for the very first time. ‘That’s it, come back to me,’ he added, his voice helping, she followed it until he reached closer, wrapping his arms around her. The couple was engulfed in flames and for the first time ever since the merge, Jean and the Phoenix were at full force but someone so close to them was unharmed, Scott was safe. 

‘Scott… I…’ Jean tried as the two remained in the fire that didn’t burn them only because Jean willed it. Scott smiled bravely at her, his hands on her cheeks as he kissed her. 

‘I’m right here, I’m not leaving you, baby, I love you more than life itself.’ He promised and Jean closed her as tears ran down her face, tasting the truth in his words was elevating after so much pain. 

‘I love you, Scott, no matter what happens, I love you,’ she promised, she wasn’t sure he understood her development, she didn’t understand it fully either. But she had to make sure he knew that despite it all, she adored him. 

Charles approached her next, she was ready to get on guard but Scott held her close to him, she was safe, she had to rely on her human perception or the Phoenix  -wounded and incomplete- would lead her to madness. She had to feed it with faith, love and compassion instead of betrayal and pain, it was up to her and only. Charles didn’t have to say a word as he opened his mind to her. Her eyes filled with tears as she found her mind within his, the moment he was talking with her father after the accident. 

‘Then you take her. My other daughter is normal but Jean… Jean was always a problem. I want neither of them, I just want their mother…You take Jean.’

‘Yes. I can help her in ways that you can’t. ’

‘She can’t be helped, she’s a lost cause....’

‘No she’s not, as long as there's someone who cares for her, who fights for her, there’s still hope.’

‘I knew, I knew there was still hope,’ Charles whispered as Jean sobbed at the truth, withdrawing from his mind, still in Scott’s arms, her knees gave in from the extortion and Scott helped her on the ground, where Charles approached both and wrapped his arms around the people closest to children. 

‘You did it all out of love,’ Jean whispered the truth at Charles who nodded with tears in his eyes, his hand caressing her head, she wasn’t burning him either although the flames lessened as she calmed down. 

‘I’m so sorry for the pain I caused you, Jean. Ever since you were a little girl, I raised you as if you were my own, I love you very much, dear. I’m so proud of you, of all the goodness in your heart.’ Charles admitted through the tears as he looked at the bright eyes of his most beloved student. Before he trained her, before he made her a soldier and a teacher, before he manipulated her mind, he should have told her all this was done out of love. He should have spoken his feelings earlier, show his motives, but he had hoped he wouldn’t have to open up again, because every time he did, someone got hurt and he was left behind in the ashes. Maybe their fears weren’t so different after all. 

‘I love you too, Charles,’ Jean spoke the words honestly, wrapping her arms weakly around the man she always considered her father. 

The army approached, getting through the mansion, the mutants shielded Charles, Jean and Scott as the military encircled them. The captain of the team moved closer and took off his helmet. 

‘We need your help, the UN is under attack. The President is under attack.’ the man declared. The mutants braced themselves for another fight. 

‘I need to find Vuk, I need… I need the part of the Force she’s taken. I need it to be complete again.’ Jean urged her beloved and the man she considered a father. They both nodded. They were united again. 

 

 

 

The Blackbird landed while chaos unfolded on the ground. The military was fighting the shapeshifters, the enemies were taking over. The X-Men and the mutants from Genosha fell in the battle. Jean started annihilating enemies, one by one, the mental signature allowed her to know who was human and who was not, the Phoenix drew her to its missing part, where Vuk was. The aliens seemed to be coming at her, trying to take her down and soon humans and mutants were creating an expanded circle around her, trying to filter the thousands that attacked. Jean, from the middle of the circle tried to destroy the outer rings, in a way stopping the enemies before they could harm her shield, her mind expanding, choosing the enemies from the allies as if on a chessboard. Scott and Charles remained the closest, trying to protect the Queen piece like the King and the Bishop. 

Explosions, gunfire and screams engulfed the scene as Jean was spotted by Vuk. Jean opened the way for Vuk to approach her, knowing whoever would stood Vuk’s path would be destroyed, she pushed away even Charles and Scott in her attempt to save them. After all she was the target, the rest shouldn’t be jeopardised. Vuk grasped Jean by the throat. The Phoenix attacked, relaunching and becoming complete while among the two, settling back into Jean, emitting from her and harming Vuk. 

‘You want this power? Try and take it,’ Jean mocked as she felt the Force complete again, her own heart with it even if it barely contained the energy that sang within her blood. Her body was strained by the struggle to maintain such a Force within her.  

‘Jean…’ Scott tried to approach her, their bond wide open, it was too much for him, it was too much even for her as the Phoenix raged on. Jean turned and looked at her beloved, as he reached for her, his hand was slowly annihilated. Jean couldn’t control the fire and energy like before, the Phoenix was focused on the task at hand and Jean was too young of a god to be able to control herself while at full force. The rest of her family who fought valiantly were dangerously close at range. 

‘You can’t control it, if you kill me, more will come and you will have to kill them all. You can’t do it without killing your people too,’ Vuk rasped the words as Jean glanced at Scott once again. ‘Your emotions make you weak.’ she spat mockingly, her voice distorted as the Phoenix ate at her.

‘I love you more than life itself. This is the only way... I’ll come back to you.’ Jean sent through the scalding bond to Scott who screamed her name in vain. She healed his hand, restoring it fully, just like she had saved Raven but this time, she was more successful. She would learn in time to give life, to save and maintain. She then looked at Charles. ‘Take care of them, take care of our family, of Scott, no matter what, please.’ She begged and only after he sent his promise, Jean turned to Vuk again, the force fully at Jean’s side. 

‘You’re wrong,’ Jean countered looking deep into her enemy’s eyes. ‘My emotions make me strong,’ she said before she could ascend with Vuk, destroying every alien on the ground through Vuk and rushing up to the sky.  The alien was annihilated into dust as Jean looked around her. Thousands of alien ships were reaching her, circling her, obstructing the view of the galaxy in the distance. She was everyone’s last defense and only weapon.  She had chosen her fate however, her body wouldn’t last the eruption, only her soul and her consciousness, and from there, she’d find a golden thread through the labyrinth, she’d find her way home. 

She would be reborn.

The laser beams from the ships never reached her as she let go, of herself and the Phoenix, if there was still a distinction between them. The previous purple glimmers turned fully into fire, her outstretched arms formed wings, birds: earthly beings familiar to the mind of the hostess embracing God, becoming one. Jean opened her eyes, allowing her material form to dissolve as the energy stemmed from within her heart and soul. Her last glance before she could turn into stardust was towards Earth, where Scott was, she’d find a way. 

‘Sorry for breaking it to you but you’re not the biggest freak of the school…’

‘Well that’s a first!’

‘I don’t need telepathy to know you’re flapping to the top, you do it every time.’

‘I thought I lost you today…’

‘They call you Phoenix,’ 

‘I’ll always come back to you.’ 

‘I love you more than life itself.’ 

The explosion was seen from the earth, the satellites caught the destruction of the alien fleet. The magnificent fire made everyone shield their eyes even in the middle of the night back on the ground. The firebird extinguished after the initial beam of light. 

 

Darkness

Alpha Ursae Minoris

‘She’s gone,’ his voice was heard through time and space, his pain clouding every possible pleasure of creating, his agony overpowering every joy. 

She struggled to keep from the darkness of losing him, of his pain over losing her. The Phoenix had to thrive as a source of creation. Jean Grey was the Phoenix and the Phoenix was Jean Grey, yet both were amiss as the golden thread pulled both towards the familiarity of Earth, where joy awaited. 

She had given a human oath, a promise, she’d always came back to him. Human ethics didn’t matter anymore but her love for him did, it mattered the world and was worthy of everything there was. She had to find him again, to save him from withering away, to save herself from this constant hole within her existence, the missing part of a puzzle. Her consciousness had merged with the Cosmic Force but it had been forged within the love for another human being, the most important human being in her mortal and cosmic life. 

‘Scott….’ the formation of the human name, the word caused the Force to halt her roaming of the universe. The Name was sent light years away, towards the mortal who shook in his sleep at the sound of her voice. She had to go back, Scott was out there, feeding on the golden thread that kept their connection through time and space. She was Jean and he was Scott, Gods and Mortals had matched before, in myths, and even though most such myths ended up in tragedy, theirs could end up in happiness. They were the masters of their destiny, they would choose happiness over darkness. 

She rushed back, through stars, through civilizations and systems, galaxies and black holes. Her celestial nature matched her old one, both craved for the love that awaited for them. She rushed back, through the familiar planets of her own system, rushed past the moon and into the atmosphere, her body forming itself at will, cells, tissues, systems, bones, flesh burnt as she formed herself and fell from the sky, sending every satellite and security system on high alert at the impact of her return.  

She fell from the sky and into oblivion and with herself, she could feel Scott falling with her. She reached out for him and saved them both, bringing them to the white hot room, where the Phoenix had taught her to go to heal and evaluate. They were safe there, before each other, reunited.

Static Noise

Chapter Text

Chapter 6 - Enough

 

Static Noise

 

‘David, I need you to relax and focus on my voice,’ Charles was explaining to the young man as he probed into his mind. The start of a hive, endless pairs of eyes looked at him, all too unfocused to linger on anything. The young man called David could see his sister, trying to touch him, unaware this was just a disguise, nobody would believe him if he said his sister tried to mentally manipulate him anyway. He was used on people not believing him, not believing in him. He allowed her although something felt off. 

He closed his eyes, the pain was unbearable within his head as he allowed to be pulled within his powers, he screamed. He found himself within a white room, he had been there before, with people he loved and people he feared. He shut his eyes as he tried to come out of it, there was no way he could find. 

He encountered unknown people in a street far away from where he was when he re-opened his eyes. Two women, familiar and completely strange. They were both in distress. One lost control of her vast powers, David was familiar with the feeling, he felt sympathy for a moment. The other one was sent flying. David watched through blurry eyes from the pain and distress, he realized he was in a wheelchair but something pulled him out of his observation as he was mentally jolted into motion. 

Pain. A blink of an eye, seer intention and a heartbeat thudding faster than the others. 

The world folded and changed, the entire course of it, a ripple through time and space changed the tide. 

The woman ended up against the spikes with her abdomen instead of her chest, mere inches saved her life. The other one approached, knowing there was still hope, she dissolved the spikes, the started healing the older woman before she could be shoved away by Hank McCoy. Raven Darkholme would be saved, Jean Grey was struck with realization as she took in the scene, she looked at Scott Summers, both horrified. 

Hank McCoy, Raven Darkholme, Scott Summers, Jean Grey.  

Family, by choice instead of blood, chosen over blood, while it lay forgotten. David drank in their names and essence, as they struggled among each other. David took the precious moments to learn these people, they were couples, in love, in agony, in terror, betrayed, afraid, lost, loved by someone so familiar and so strange to David himself. 

‘Thank you, David,’ the whisper was heard before his eyes could close in exhaustion, he was back in that hotel room in Paris. The names wouldn’t be forgotten.

 

Hank McCoy, Raven Darkholme, Scott Summers, Jean Grey.  





‘We’ve found them! Both of them!’ 

‘Scott doesn’t have a pulse!’ 

‘He has, he’s alive!’

‘Jean’s alive too! We need to take them back to the mansion!’

 

So this is our new destiny now...’ 

 

‘This was my destiny all along, you needed a host, I needed to take care of you. I’ve risen above, you’ve grounded, for our sake, this is the best possible outcome.’ 

 

‘Jean is stable! Scott’s in a coma!’ 

‘Hank, help!’ 

 

‘Scott…’ 

 

Jean’s eyes opened as she gasped for breath, there was an oxygen mask clasped on her face, she tried to yank at it but Storm showed up above her, the metal walls of the base behind her. Jean remembered the lightning hurled against her by Ororo’s hand, Jean tried to pull away, cables, tubes and the mask prevented her. 

‘Calm down, Jey, it’s alright, you’re alright,’ Storm tried but Jean finally pulled at the mask and realized she wasn’t breathing properly on her own. ‘HANK!’ Ororo shouted as she brought the mask back down and pushed Jean on the mattress. Jean took a moment to allow the oxygen in, she felt dizzy, her eyes tearing up, her throat and lungs burnt, her eyes closed in bitter tears. 

‘Scott,’ she tried to croak the name, her voice used for the first time in she couldn’t measure how long. 

Was it days or years without her body, she wasn’t sure. Her newly formed and human shell was struggling to work in sync, she could hear the machine’s erratic beeping, signaling her heartbeat and brain activity, the pounding in her ears was her own blood pumped through her veins, she was hyperventilating. ‘Calm down, you’re in New York, Scott is right here, we’re all here, you’re safe.’ Ororo tried before Jean could see Hank next to her best friend, for a moment Jean struggled, her instinct kicking in, the last thing she remembered of her friend was him pulling at the trigger. He was in his human form, injecting something in the serum that was attached in her veins, she tried to pull at the IV before it could work, she wasn’t quick enough as she felt the world blurring again, the last thing she saw were two forms lying on two beds by her side. 

Raven was in her blue form, eyes closed, cables and tubes also wired on her as she lay on the table further away from Jean. Scott was closer to her bed, the sleeping blindfold around his eyes, his skin full of scratches, his face serene, their bond catching his massive migraine, he was almost absent, in a coma. 

 

There was a voice through a machine somewhere, the signal was strong. 

‘We must consider where humanity stands right now… First mutants, then aliens, fighting against each other on Earth… human’s natural habitat, we were here long before anyone else and now we’re losing control.’

‘So what do you suggest, Senator Kelly?’ 

‘We’re not in a technological position to know about aliens, we still need to comprehend their existence but we are certainly able to count and register mutants. Enough with their civil wars, their vendettas, we need to save our people, we need to save humanity. Therefore, I will introduce the Registration Act in Congress next month. We need to know who they are, what they can do. We’ve allowed them even their own lands, Genosha, Wetchester, what if they decide for independence of USA soil? What if they decide to expand? How many Jean Greys are out there, can they be used as weapons of mass destruction?’ 

‘Jean Grey saved the planet from the alien threat, Senator!’

‘A planet that just came out of the Cold War mere months ago, we have nuclear powers, and we have powerful mutants, all sides need to agree on the registration of mutants on a global scale. They can’t keep going rampart. She saved the planet only because she wanted to, what happens next time? What happens if she choses otherwise?’

‘Maybe she will choose otherwise if we treat her like an animal, all measured and accounted for like cattle, while other people, across the planet start religious movements in her name… she’s a goddess among men.’

‘But the USA is a Christian country that values its good normal people’s lives. The Bible is clear, there is only one God, and in God’s name and blessing, I will fight to the end to put a stop in this mutant anarchy.’ 

 

Jean withdrew her mind, somewhere in the mansion the television kept on playing. She could feel it was the middle of the night, she looked around her. Hank was fast asleep on a couch across the room. Jean made sure he remained in slumber as she pushed herself on a sitting position and pulled at the oxygen mask. This time she breathed properly, her lungs working on their own. She detached herself from the machines and rushed to shut them down so they wouldn’t alert anyone of the disruption. She looked down at herself and took a deep breath, closing her eyes to focus on her mind.

She could remember both branches of reality, she shook her head in an attempt to clean it. How was that possible? The room had engulfed them, saving their lives and at the same time, she had saved both before reality could change. Raven’s surviving form on the bed made it clear which reality was in effect. Jean looked at Scott and turned her attention in the bond, she suffered from a headache, the firebird causing it as it nestled inside her human brain, it was comfortable enough, only it was causing Scott pure agony via their link, a non telepath, a man never meant to taste such power and always destined to be with Jean, their unique connection itself proving that. Yet, that link currently kept Scott into a coma of anguish. 

Jean gingerly tasted her human feelings. Her love for Scott was powerful, he was in pain, she needed to change that no matter how it would hurt. She closed down the link to spare him the pain and the fire that surged through it and straight into his brain. 

She physically reached her beloved, observing every little detail of his form. She had saved him from the motorbike crush. He had saved her from aimlessly roaming the universe over a destiny she never asked for. They had saved each other. She touched his cheek gently, her eyes filling with tears at the contact. It had been days or weeks ever since the space mission and whatever unfolded after it. LIttle by little, her senses captured it all, her mind tried to calculate how many earth days she had been away. The mission was in early May, it must have been late June by then. She remained silent as she pondered on everything that unfolded between her and Scott, on both realities, they had struggled for each other, only in the they stood now, they had prevailed. She would never leave him again. She wanted to see his face bare, she could control his powers now, she could keep them back she was sure. She reached for the blindfold and pulled at it with both hands, she took in the sight of his sleeping face. He was beautiful, so handsome, she wanted him awake so she could see the bright blue eyes she had seen only in pictures of his childhood, would they still be blue or scalding red like his beams? 

All questions were forgotten in Jean’s mind as he stirred into consciousness. With the bond shut down, she could feel the need for it to be restored but she could also feel Scott’s relief at the end of pain. Met only by frustration over where he was, fear at the lack of their bond and panic at the missing blindfold, he screwed his eyes shut as he fumbled to find his visor, mentally probing at that window of his brain that linked him to Jean. 

‘I’m right here, Scott,’ Jean tried to speak again, her voice hoarse. Scott froze in place as he grabbed at her hands and arms, checking with his touch if she was there for real. 

‘Jean?’ Scott asked and both instinctively reached for their bond only to find it down. ‘I can’t feel-’

‘I… I know, the bond isn’t shared only by each other anymore, Scott, but also the Phoenix Force. It was keeping you in a coma and a lot of pain, you wouldn’t be able to wake up with it on. I had to stop it, so you could recover and-’

‘I don’t care about the pain, I can’t feel you, let it up again, restore it… I want to feel you, like always, please...’ Scott interrupted her, still disoriented and worried. He could see flashes of events, not making sense, memories of things that happened simultaneously, two branches opening from the same moment and unfolding differently, only with the same result of Jean sacrificing herself and bursting into the pure energy of the Force that took over her and -he knew- now resided within her. But somehow, she was back, with him, after the white room they had been sent to for a few milliseconds, or was it years in it? He was absolutely confused but the only thing that mattered was that Jean was there, even without the bond he could feel this was the truth. She was there and he only needed his visor to see her and touch her and taste and smell and hear her.  

‘I will, maybe when you can accommodate it easier, but not now.’ Jean promised, her hands touching his face as he sat up before her. ‘Scott… I wanna see your eyes….’ Jean whispered, her lips brushing against his. He frowned and shook his head in mute panic. She could read his mind, his fear to do so. ‘I can control it, I swear, trust me.’ she promised again and she knew he couldn’t feel her truth via the bond but he trusted her. 

‘Jean… what if…?’ he tried again but Jean’s finger touched his lips, silencing him, the physical contact eased him on the idea. 

Trust me, like I trust you,’ She only sent soothingly and he sighed and nodded. 

Slowly, hesitantly, he allowed his eyelids to open, Jean was prepared, pushing back the beams until his orbs slowly turned blue and normal instead of two light sources. His powers felt different, hotter, more powerful, but Jean didn’t ponder on that before the amazing sight of his bright blue eyes looking right back at hers. 

The couple remained for a second more before each other, looking bare at one another, their bond was down, yet their love was blossoming all the same without it. Disbelief, happiness, fear, worry, joy and longing were all poured in their kiss as their lips met, their arms wrapped around each other, hands exploring, heartbeats synchronising. 

‘I did it for you, I promised I’d come back to you and I did.’ Jean sent the thought and even if it wasn’t sent via the bond, Scott heard it all the same and hugged her tighter in response. 

‘I love you, I love you so much, baby,’ Scott had to break the kiss to express himself, the severed bond felt like a missing piece within him, like a window had been closed, stopping the sunlight shed into his mind. But he knew, now Jean was the sun and she needed time to handle everything, they’d figure it out together, that had been his own promise to her right before things went downward, no matter in which path they did. 

They two remained silent, taking in each other’s very existence. Slowly allowing their bodies to explore the soreness and aching bits while their souls sang with each other’s presence. 

‘Why Scott can see without the beams? What have I missed?’ the silence was broken by a confused Raven who struggled to prop herself on her elbows as she looked at the young couple and then at Hank. Jean only then released the hold on Hank’s sleep, making him stir at his own beloved’s voice. Scott took off the machines that were attached to him as Jean approached Raven gingerly. She would need some time to realize what had happened but all that mattered was that her dear friend was right there, looking confused but very much alive. Jean couldn’t help but throw herself on her recovering friend, wrapping her arms around her. Relief was an emotion she had longed to feel ever since that space mission. Raven winced in pain as the bandages around her torso and belly still kept the tender wounds but she hugged Jean tightly as Hank approached.

‘I’m so sorry for what happened.’ Jean apologised as the images of Raven’s body against the blooded spikes flooded in her mind. Raven smiled at her friend.

‘No harm done, I’ve been worse.’ Raven promised, having no idea what happened to her. ‘I’m sorry for not turning us back when we had, as I had promised.’ Raven added and Jean knew she meant the space mission. She could only sent her understanding to Raven as both smiled at each other, forgiven and calmed.  Jean needed to adjust into human feelings and thoughts, needed to somehow understand what she was supposed to do with the Phoenix and the severed bond that was part of hers and Scott’s but also worked like a constant torture tool for him but above all, she needed to speak with Charles. 






‘I know what you’ve done,’ Jean spoke as she sat on a chair before Charles’ desk, they were alone in his office. ‘What I don’t know is how you’ve done it.’ she added calmly as she looked deep into his eyes. 

It had been almost a week before she could be dismissed from the infirmary. Scott was still kept in from Hank as he wanted to make sure he wouldn’t develop some internal bleeding, the motorbike accident should have killed him but Jean had made sure that wouldn’t happen. Both she and Scott hadn’t objected Hank however as they knew the protocols followed. He also wanted to check on Scott’s power levels as his beams seemed to have changed, Jean had an idea why but she’d be unscientific if she spoke before the final results could come out. Hank had allowed her to keep the bed in the infirmary as long as it wasn’t needed so she could be with Scott. 

‘Well, I had a promise to keep,’ Charles spoke with a small smile, beyond glad of seeing Jean before him, alive and as well as she should be. He had promised, in her final moments on Earth that he’d take care of everyone, he wanted to believe he kept that promise. His return from France had been a paradox of time he had been willing to pay. Erik was back in Genosha, furious at the initiation of the Registration Act, that had been something they couldn’t avert from. Raven was alive, Jean was back, as a saviour, her sacrifice hadn’t been neglected and maybe, just maybe, it would work in their favor against the Registration Act and the Sentinels program. The President waited for their next steps as a team. Charles had done it for everyone, for Jean and Scott, for Raven and Hank, for Lorna, for everyone.

Jean didn’t return the smile but sighed as she looked outside the window of her mentor’s study. She used to do that after every telepathy session they had worked on, it calmed her mind. Now her mind was as calm and complete as ever, no blocks, no fear of her powers, only a Cosmic Force nestled within it, feeding upon her limitless powers and endless feelings. 

‘Will you tell me how you did it or I will have to find on my own?’ Jean asked and Charles sighed. 

‘Can you simply settle with the fact that Raven has been spared and you’re back with Scott?’ Charles answered with a question and Jean looked deep into her mentor’s eyes. He was like a father to her. A father so unlike the one she encountered in Redhook, a father who had neglected her, separated from her sister who was somewhere out there, leading her life, having two kids, how would Sarah feel if she learnt Jean Grey, the mass destruction weapon, the Saviour was her sister? She had decided to keep her sister in the dark, not finding her was probably the safest and best way to keep her safe. Jean hated how she chose for someone else, just like Charles had done for her, she could see the price paid for playing God. 

‘Scott remembers both realities too. He’s more confused than me, care to help me talk to him about it?’ Jean asked, her voice softer as she tried to find a way to sooth Scott’s mind. Their bond was still severed from her end, it felt like a tendon was cut, preventing a whole muscle to move, causing actual pain in both ends. Jean found it so hard not to simple delve into their link and find him in ways only the two could. Charles nodded his head as he poured tea to both, another tradition between father and daughter. 

‘Explain to him how you saved him by taking him into the White Hot Room, how you observed it all while it happened and let the sin of actually doing it on me.’ Charles offered finally, finishing the conversation. 

Jean could prob his mind but Charles would create mental illusions. She could try untangle vision from reality but he could keep doing it for years. Telepaths’ minds were fragile things and she had no intention of taking a massive cosmic force to play with Charles’ mind, she was done opening her mind to him and he was done playing nice to save his family, them among each other was the greatest proof of that. Jean stood from her chair, setting her cup on the little plate. She looked at Charles for a few more moments, their minds withdrawn from each other. They would need time. 

‘Whose idea was to change the School’s name?’ Jean asked and Charles smiled at her. 

‘Guilty as charged,’ Charles offered and Jean smiled. 

‘Why not after Raven?’ she asked, only the two of them could comprehend what he had done. 

‘She’d hate it,’ Charles answered and Jean clicked her tongue, still with a smile on her face.

‘And I’d love it?’ Jean asked in disbelief and Charles this time sighed, the smile fading. 

‘I had hoped to retire… you were remembered as the mutant who snapped and fought against her own. The truth was not known. I needed somehow for you to be remembered, celebrated.’ Charles tried to explain and this time Jean nodded her head.

‘Now I’m worshipped as a God in some places, classified as a weapon of mass destruction in some others…. How am I supposed to live like that?’ Jean asked, this time honestly wondering and seeking guidance. 

‘You’d come back anyway, for Scott. That much I knew, but I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to your question, my dear. Maybe you need to talk to another Goddess among men, inside this school.’ Charles offered, he had admitted his mistakes, he had admitted his sins and hoped to guide his students by example and not manipulation. Jean nodded, knowing of whom Charles spoke of and she agreed, she had to speak with Storm anyway. 

‘Jean?’ Charles asked as Jean reached the door and touched the knob, she looked down and then back over her shoulder, at Charles. 

‘Is it enough for you to know that I did it all out of love for our family?’ Charles asked. The first time, before she could sacrifice herself, she had forgiven him, she had protected their family. In their second unfolding, she had understood him, but he wasn’t sure she had forgiven him. 

‘Yes, Charles, I think it’s enough,’ Jean spoke truthfully. Becoming a God wouldn’t give her all the answers, nor all the choices, she had to accept that among a million other things. 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 7 - Redeemed

 

Jean could feel where she’d find the rest of her family, the night was falling and she’d soon return to the infirmary, where Scott was. Peter had been discharged from the infirmary a long time ago, he was in the main living room, along with Kurt, they were watching the news about the possibility of the Registration Act passing Congress and becoming law.  

She entered the room and both her friends of almost a decade looked at her, uncertainty and guilt in their eyes. 

‘Hey, J,’ Peter gave half a smile as she approached them, Kurt smiled as hesitantly. They were both comfortably sat on a couch, she sat by an armchair before them, turning down the volume of the television that was showing photographs of the explosion that was her from an American satellite. 

‘I wanted to talk with you,’ Jean started as she looked at her friends, they nodded and waited. ‘I wanted to apologise, for injuring you, Peter, and for attacking you, Kurt.’ Jean added humbly and both men shook their heads. 

‘You’ve got nothing to be sorry for, Jean,’ Peter tried first, shrugging as he always let things pass, his nature easy and calm. ‘We’ve had been trained on attacking each other, I just wasn’t clever enough, actually I didn’t expect you to be as fast, that was the most frightening part.’ Peter added, wrinkling his eyebrows at the memory, making Jean smile despite the situation. 

‘Pete’s right, Jean, no har’m dun,’ Kurt added, she had plainly attacked him as he had tried to pull her back to them while she tried to escape. Kurt was always sweet and sensitive, Jean had never meant to harm him. In the first branch of the reality she remembered she had also attacked him in the mansion of the fifth avenue, but that was something Kurt wasn’t aware of and a burden she would have to make peace with herself. ‘After all, you lost contvol, it’s ok, we understand,’ Kurt reassured her and Jean smiled, fighting back the tears she felt welling in her eyes, human emotions were so familiar again yet so raw and sudden. ‘I’m sorry vor not making to you on time,’ Kurt added ashamed, referring to the space mission. 

‘You couldn’t possibly save me,’ Jean spoke the words which for her meant so much more than what Kurt could understand. The Force would find her anyway, it had been her destiny, a destiny met and accepted. She nodded her head and before she could stand, the boys rose, opening their arms for her. She hugged them both tightly, brothers from different parents she was so fortunate to have. 

‘Storm’s on the roof.’ Peter offered as he was sure Jean would want to find her best friend next. Jean nodded, friends for years knew each other well, Jean looked at Peter for a moment more, she caught a straight thought of his even if she hadn’t pried, like his body, his mind raced. ‘You want to leave,’ she sent privately, Peter sighed, not bothered by anything. 

‘Kurt knows, you can talk,’ Peter offered and Jean glanced at her blue friend before she could look back at Peter. 

‘Does Charles know?’ she wondered and Peter shook his head. 

‘Not yet, I want to make sure first myself.’ Peter replied and Jean didn’t have to ask where he’d go. ‘I… Genosha might be in danger, with all this Registration they want to impose. I wouldn’t want to see M- Erik do something stupid. And honestly, I don’t think the team will reestablish itself soon. Raven and Hank are about to leave too.’ Peter said honestly and Jean sighed and nodded. She knew all this, had felt it in Hank and Raven’s heads while she was in the infirmary. 

She had tried to feel the guilt in her, like she’d do in the past. But she knew, especially after following the reality of Raven surviving, Jean wasn’t the seed of their team’s destruction. Charles had pushed them all too far, led them to a way of life no one asked for and now the cracks were clear. At first, Jubilee had left for England, to persuade a career in fashion but also escape the pressure. Elisabeth had followed in the UK, trying to find her own way in the world, the pressure had been enormous on everyone and Jean had found an escape while at med school and out of the mansion for long periods of time. But like Scott himself, they had returned in their home and the team. When Charles turned them public, things became unbearable for them all. Now, Hank and Raven, the team captains were out, done with the show and Peter wanted to follow his father, who had stood by the X-Men’s side and fought the aliens in the chance he had gotten to show his good side. Being only rewarded by the humans targeting Genosha and all of them with the Registration Act. 

They all had changed even in Charles’ second chance for them all, the team was basically disbanded as Jean doubted anyone would assemble if some need arose at that moment. The humans showed their teeth and even though they were not at the worst scenario of humans attacking them, things were taking a turn for the worst, Jean could feel it. 

She remained silent, looking at her friend, almost following her own steps of going to find a father forgotten. Jean knew however Peter wouldn’t be met by Erik the way she had been met by her own father. That thought didn’t sting with jealousy or pain, she was past that, she had her own family even if cast out from Genosha in both versions of reality. Jean could see Erik’s reasoning behind it. It had been enough for her that he had fought by the X-Men’s side on both cases to defend her, she had protected him when she had to, including him in this strange version of family they had. Jean glanced at Kurt who smiled shyly at her and spoke. 

‘Don’t vorry about me, I have nov’ere to go,’ he said honestly, that sprang pain within Jean, she could also feel for him, she had felt like that after she exited her father’s house at Redhook. 

‘I know the feeling,’ she finally replied in sympathy and Kurt nodded with his innocent eyes looking down. 

Jean left, needing to find the woman she considered her best friend. From all her friends Storm was the one she had seen the least. She could remember her voice over her while she was out. She remembered her face the first time she woke up, but for the past days she hadn’t seen Storm but in glimpses around the school and Jean was no fool. She knew her best friend avoided her. Jean had given her time to come back to her but Ororo had chosen not to show up and Jean was done waiting.

She moved up the grand staircase and further up to the attic, where Storm occupied the small space turned into a bedroom. She had asked of Charles to be the closest she could be to the sky and their professor couldn’t possibly deny her wish. Jean opened the door of her best friend’s quarters and moved towards the open balcony doors, leading outside. She knew very well where her best friend was, they had created a spot for them ever since they became friends, high above the mansion, where they could unleash their powers without fear of distraction. A place only for two powerful women like themselves. 

Jean rose to the sky, arms to her sides, her body off the ground gracefully. She realized she needed to use gestures less than before, her mind focusing without the need of her limbs. She could see her best friend, hovering high above, she approached as Storm held her hands at shoulder’s length, the wind up was crispier the higher Jean reached. She made her presence known to her friend as she approached the weather manipulator until there will only two feet away. She felt no fear from Ororo, only guilt and pain. 

Jean sighed at the radiating feelings emitted from her closest female friend. Storm needed time to speak whatever pained her but Jean wouldn’t leave without the air cleaned between them, Storm was a master with air. The two needed time and space now that they were both back but Jean would fight for her friendship. She closed her own eyes, allowing her powers to outstretch, flex and mingle with Storm’s as the two women allowed themselves in silence as their powers merged and created a kind of invisible vortex, keeping both X-Women unaffected.

 There was a thunder in the distance as Storm vented in Jean’s presence and Jean waited, allowing the firebird to form around her, not as magnificent as it could but Jean tested its form as it gave way to that uncontrolled, unshaped hue of purple and white and formed itself more into what Jean would like it to be, a Phoenix. 

‘Would you forgive me?’ Ororo knew how to think loud enough for Jean to catch her thought. The telepath opened her eyes and looked at her friend as both women toned down their powers and approached each other. 

‘Why wouldn’t I?’ Jean asked and Ororo sighed and looked down at the void beneath them. 

‘I doubted you, I tried to talk Scott into accepting that you could be gone, that you were against us.’ Storm confessed and Jean could see all the guilt and fear in her friend. 

‘I doubted myself, if that makes you feel better, and as far as I know you fought for me, for our family, you defended me in the UN, you’ve got my back.’ Jean offered and Ororo’s eyes filled with tears. Jean always kept Ororo close to her heart, having lived a tough life, lured by Apocalypse into a freedom that would lead to devastation, angry and forged into the streets. Jean understood why Storm was always keen on raising walls the moment someone went astray, in her early life there was no space for mistakes and enemies kept close. ‘As for what you told Scott, I might have done the same if you turned against us,’ Jean added and Storm shook her head. 

‘No you wouldn’t have, you didn’t when I came to you after Apocalypse.’ Storm added and Jean smiled. 

‘I was young and naive back then,’ Jean added and Ororo chuckled sadly as she looked deep into her best friend’s eyes. 

‘I should have seen something had changed, I’m supposed to know you so well, Scott had asked me but I had hoped you were alright.’ Storm added sadly but Jean shook her head again. 

‘’Ro…. No one could understand what happened to me. Stop beating yourself up and just promise me you’ll stick around.’ Jean offered easily and Ororo could only smile and reach for her best friend. The two women hugged tightly, letting out breaths of relief at restoring their friendship. 

‘Jey, what do you mean by that?’ Ororo asked as the two moved themselves lower until they could touch down gracefully at Ororo’s balcony. Jean sighed and looked across the grounds, her eyes stopping at the abandoned boathouse of the lake. She would love to put some distance between herself and Scott and everyone else but she wouldn’t jump ship while asking others to stay. 

‘Hank and Raven want to leave.’ Jean tested the news and Ororo nodded sadly, she knew, probably had talked about it with the couple of the First Class X-Men. ‘Peter’s considering going to Erik…’ Jean added and Storm’s eyes widened in disbelief before Jean could go on. ‘You blame him? I’m thinking of quitting from the team myself.’ Jean spoke the words without difficulty, there had been so many problems, so many things that happened and she wasn’t to play dumb and let them be again. She was the master of her own destiny, she wouldn’t be pushed and pulled around by anyone. 

‘We can stay and form the team as we wish it to be. Charles needs to become the headmaster of the place and we need to step up with the team…’ Ororo insisted but Jean sighed. 

‘What’s left of the team is-’

‘A teleporter, a weather manipulator, an excellent strategist who shoots beams from his eyes and the most powerful creature in the solar system, sounds good to me, Jey. Come on…’ Ororo tried and Jean sighed, she knew, for Ororo, it was only the school that gave her a purpose, for years now. Jean had Scott, the plans for a family, her career as a doctor and a researcher, and only then the school followed in her list of priorities. 

‘How do you manage?’ Jean asked and Storm looked at her in curiosity. ‘All this power, all this responsibility, how do you choose to stay here when people consider you a goddess in other places of the world? I want to know.’ Jean elaborated, she had chosen to return, keep the Phoenix within her, let her destiny in her own hands but she wasn’t sure towards which way it should be focused on. Ororo smiled and sighed, looking towards the horizon by Jean’s side. 

‘When Apocalypse enhanced my powers, made me reach my peak… it wasn’t my choice. He put me in a position I never asked, until then I could conjure some wind, maybe a rain when I got furious. After Apocalypse, I was left to live with the ability to devastate a country if I was in the mood for it…’ Storm started talking and Jean nodded, understanding her friend and the position she had been in. ‘That scared me, after the initial fury and ignorance, after I saw Apocalypse and the way he used his horsemen, after he was defeated, I realized I had to find balance, a family, so at my lowest, I wouldn’t destroy anything.’ Storm added and this time looked at Jean, the two understood each other deeply. ‘I chose the school because I wanted to seize the opportunity for an education, for a life within a family. I believed in Charles, and I still do, no matter his wrongdoings, I can see his motive. With some of us, it worked, with some, it didn’t…’ Storm added and Jean knew what she had taken for granted, raised by Charles, was a fruit of struggle in Storm’s life: a loving home, an education and a feeling of belonging. 

‘I chose my destiny thinking that; powerful or not, I could help generations of my kind in my own way, and so far I prefer to be a teacher rather than a symbol of worship, that would bore me to death and I’d cause devastation anyway.’ Storm added and Jean this time chuckled as she nodded at her friend’s words that came with a smile. ‘You can still create, you can still give life with the Force within you, and at the same time you can teach and heal and help the world as yourself, like you did before, my dear friend.’ Storm added and Jean only nodded and hugged her friend of almost a decade. 

‘Thank you, ‘Ro. I needed that,’ she admitted as Ororo hugged her back tightly. She wouldn’t leave Charles in her head anytime soon, but she valued his words and she valued the rest of her family, each and every one of them meant so much to her, and above all, it was her return to Scott that ignited life in her bones. 





Scott held Jean’s hand in his as he pushed open the door of their suite. She hadn’t returned to it ever since her return to Earth -boy how strange all this sounded- and Scott was pleasantly surprised that some of their friends had taken care of the mess he had created while in mourning. The sheets had been changed, the plates of rotting food had been taken away and the room had its windows open for fresh air to get in. Scott glanced at Jean who was looking around the room with familiarity and relief in her eyes. She was indeed home, their bedroom was always their haven in a mansion full of people with all kinds of powers. He could see it in her eyes, no matter the changes ahead, they’d make it, they’d find a way. 

The past days had been awkward and hard to pass by. His body was healing nicely, his metabolism always working wonders when in need but Scott knew, the moment he’d be ready to go from the infirmary, Hank would also discharge Raven and hang the robe -and the base’s keys- and leave with his beloved from the mansion. It was hard to believe the oldest couple in the mansion were packing their stuff, leaving Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters for good, leaving the school and team once and for all. They would have a meeting later that day at Charles’ office, to bid their farewell to their friends and speak with Charles about the future of them all. Scott was anxious about it, worried they’d create more damage than good. 

What actually hurt was that he couldn’t share all this with Jean through their bond which she kept stubbornly close for his own safety as she kept repeating in the past days and Scott couldn’t be more frustrated about it. The Bond had developed itself years ago, after Apocalypse; and it had only got stronger after their first time making love. It had grown between them like a golden thread of exchanging thoughts, feelings and each other’s very presence, allowing a deeper binding between two people who shared a life in common. 

The measurements for his powers had came out that morning, his body needed solar power to metabolize and turn into his beams but ever since Jean’s return, they seemed to spike in intensity and power. Hank believed the reason Scott had fallen into the coma was due to his body metabolizing some of the Force’s energy he felt through Jean and the bond they shared. It wasn’t the bond in it itself that created the problem but the Force that radiated power between them, and Scott was ready to taste the new boundaries, even if Jean was reluctant. They would test the new territory in the danger room soon but for now, Scott only wanted Jean to reactivate the bond whose blockage created a constant pain in both. 

Scott allowed Jean around the room, she took her time, touching her clothes in the wardrobe, lingering on the jacket of her uniform, he gave her time to feel at home again as she ran her slender fingers on the spine of her books, checked on her vinyl collection and touched her pillow. Her eyes however stopped at the broken frame on her side of the bed, her eyes turned sad and sympathetic as they traveled to Scott who sighed and approached her. 

‘I’ll have it replaced, baby.’ he promised absentmindedly but he couldn’t fool her. ‘Lets just say I wasn’t the best company ever since New York,’ he added in an attempt to humor and he knew she wanted to delve into his mind through their bond, to see what he had been through during her absence. ‘Open the bond, please, I miss it, I miss feeling you, all of you.’ Scott begged this time as his hands wrapped around the woman of his life. Jean wrapped her own arms around his shoulders, caressing his face tenderly. They had lost and found each other again, against aliens, betrayals, a cosmic Force, yet they stood before each other, alive, together. Scott could only feel proud of them both for choosing each other over it all. She had returned for him and even if they hadn’t spoken about it yet, he knew, she was at crossroads regarding her destiny with the Phoenix inside her as she decided to call the Force. He was also sure they’d struggle with her new powers, an entity had become one with her and she had returned to her human form, it wouldn’t be an easy path to follow for either of them. 

‘I’m here every step of the way, no matter what you choose to do with it. I’m here and I will help you in every way I can. You came back to me and I intend to be with you, always.’ Scott promised, hoping he was easing her worries over humanizing the Phoenix Force, minimizing it within her brain to protect the universe from its power and their relationship from destruction. 

‘I…’ Jean tried but Scott captured her lips in a fierce kiss he had intended on giving her for so many days. He needed her, after weeks away from her and days within his grasp but always around people. He needed her like a starved man and she craved for him as much, he could feel it even if she struggled to keep the bond closed. Scott led her towards the bed until the back of her knees bent and they landed on their bed in a tangle of roaming hands, kissing lips and ragged breaths. ‘I love you, Scott.’ Jean whispered the truth and Scott smiled and captured her lips in yet another kiss, his hands delving beneath her blouse, touching the soft skin of her ribs. 

‘Show me how much,’ he prompted and she could only hoist his own t-shirt off his body, her eyes hungry on him, her hands quick to follow wherever she looked. He moaned at her touch, always responsive at his beautiful girlfriend. ‘Open the bond, baby, let it work as it should.’ he encouraged but Jean was looking at him with a request of her own. 

‘I want to see your eyes once more.’ she whispered breathlessly and Scott felt that panic returning in his belly. His powers had changed yet she had kept them at bay, but he was afraid every time, it had been instinct for him after all those years. He wished he could feel the comfort of the bond at such instance. He shook his head, he would trust her only if she trusted him. 

‘Open our bond and I will let you take off the visor,’ he brought the deal as they found themselves against each other, their bodies screaming for their minds to finish whichever deal they had to strike at that specific moment. Jean huffed in frustration as Scott smiled cockilly, reminding her of that insufferable young adult he used to be when he first reached the school and she could only give in as he pressed his lower body against hers, making her moan at the friction. She trusted herself, she trusted Scott, she only had to trust the Force that now was one with her to allow the bond function properly. She wasn’t sure she’d be able to keep it blocked for much longer, anyway, it felt like trying to keep a dam from breaking. 

Their breaths were caught in their throats as Jean opened the link little by little. Scott felt the pressure in his head increasing until it felt like a pounding on his temples but he didn’t wince at the sensation as it was overshadowed by the tide of feelings and thoughts shared with Jean. All the love and need she felt for him was only matched by his own feelings for her, only now they were shared and forged in a fire of a Force that was Jean. 

Scott could see the hue of her powers engulfing both but he wasn’t afraid, he was sure she wasn’t even aware of them as she felt euphoric. They both felt whole with their bond blossoming within the cosmic fire. Jean reached for the visor and this time Scott wasn’t afraid, trusting her completely as he opened his eyes and she pushed back the beams. The discomfort slowly decreasing as his body adjusted to the power she emitted thanks to the bond that had been established between them for so long. He once was afraid to ope his eyes and she had been terrified to close hers. Now they looked bare at each other, she was beautiful, and he could feel her own appreciation for his beauty. 

‘Jean,’ he breathed her name in surprise as he felt their clothes dissolving into nothing and their bare bodies coming into contact. He loved her new powers, he thought with an internal smile he shared with Jean who also smiled and kissed him passionately again. 

He was soon moving down her body, worshipping every inch of skin, trailing hot, open mouthed kisses down her collarbone, her breasts, her ticklish belly, her hip and then he was between her legs, finding her ready for him. She moaned his name again and again as he gave her pleasure with his tongue and lips, knowing exactly how to kiss between her folds, suck at her clit and lick her core. She was backing up her hips, needing more within minutes and he had to be honest with himself, he was close to the brink himself. Yet he held onto her as she fell over the edge against his mouth, calling out his name in all her naked glory. She was back, with him, for him, alive and loving him.

He moved above her, taking her lips in a hot kiss as he slid inside her in a smooth thrust that had both moaning into their kiss and falling into a dance they knew so well against each other. Scott looked around him and realized Jean had changed the scenery of their bedroom into the universe. He could feel the comfort of their mattress as he thrust in her again and again but they hovered in the middle of the universe, engulfed in Jean’s fire, the stars and galaxies stood silent witnesses of the couple’s encounter. 

Everything was enhanced, his senses, the feel of his lover beneath him, their bodies were on fire, burning away every pain and every ache, leaving only bliss and passion for each other. 

‘I love you so much,’ at last sent within their bond; the thought was shared as if created by one being. They felt thus, not able to distinguish where one started and the other ended as they reached their peak at the same time, letting go of the past months and starting anew, pleasure overtaking their bodies as they held each other in a tight embrace of passion and love. 



Chapter Text

Chapter 8 - Compromised 

 

A vortex of fire, the firebird screeching, annihilating the planet. 

 

Jean’s eyes snapped open, her lips gasping breaths through to her lungs. She covered her ragged breathing with a hand that travelled up to rub her eyes. She sat up and hid her face in her hands. Thankfully Scott was fast asleep, his mind emitting exhaustion, worry but no fear or agony, like hers did. She looked outside the window, this new life, this merge with the Force would take years to get used to. She sighed and summoned the bottle of water that always waited on the nightstand. She took a sip and waited for her racing heart to calm. When she was younger, she was afraid of the dark power -as she had described it to Charles once- that left her shaking. Now she was its master, she was shaping it -little by little- to what she wanted it to be. She never asked for a cosmic force to merge with her but she got the deal anyway and she would forge her own destiny with her choices and its taming. She was going to prevail, but for that moment, she needed to stop shaking in fear of what would happen if she didn’t. 

 

 

 

Jean and Scott moved down the corridor to Charles’ study, hand in hand. The voices arguing loudly were audible through the closed doors as the couple approached. Without knocking, they opened and entered the room as the fight unfolded before them. Erik was there, looking furiously outside the window, yet radiating a familiarity with the place, he used to be a resident in the mansion, almost  a lifetime ago. Raven and Hank were there as well and Jean could feel the rest approaching. 

‘All I’m asking of you is to be patient.’ Charles was saying as he glanced at Scott and Jean, nodding to acknowledge their presence before he could turn towards Erik again. 

‘The humans are about to stamp us all with burning numbers on our foreheads, Charles. Do you understand what that means for Genosha, for this very school?’ Erik bellowed and Raven shut her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose as Hank stood silently by her side.

‘It’s just one congressman who is trying to make noise over a stupid idea, lets not make it a flag to be hostile -while out there- the X-Men are still heroes for millions.’ Charles tried patiently and Erik snorted angrily. 

‘We’ve stopped way too many men with stupid ideas from bringing hell upon us, old friend,’ Erik said pointedly and the two men looked at each other for a long moment, forgeting the two couples in the room. Jean tried to feel the situation without prying as Charles would feel her intrusion but got nothing but tension and a feeling of pain between the two men. She cursed herself for keeping Charles’ values on the use of telepathy, she should simply plunge into his mind and play God, consequences be damned, she didn’t. 

‘They already have collars for our powers… the humans are playing hostile while we sit and argue our morals.’ Erik snapped but Jean finally spoke before Charles could answer the provocation. 

‘Why you’re here, Erik?’ Jean finally asked calmly, crossing her arms over her chest as she and Scott remained standing, closer to Charles than anyone else in the room, unconsciously picking a side. 

‘After you, no one gets in Genosha like that anymore, I’m trying to pick up and escort the ones asking for help myself, in this case: Hank and Raven.’ Erik answered truthfully and Jean and Scott looked at Hank who nodded his head. 

‘You’re going to Genosha?’ Jean asked in disbelief, it was one thing for them to live on their own, and an entirely different thing to go with Erik who was clearly changing his recent peaceful tactics. Jean had spent the past few days adjusting at the house, her own skin and she had focused on Scott, trying to find her way back to normal. She was worried about Raven and Hank’s move, the lines were being drawn once more, the sides more visible than in years. 

‘I’m leaving but I want to become a politician, with Genosha as my base. Mutants need their rights represented before it’s too late for our species,’ Hank explained and Jean this time looked at Raven, it was clear she hadn’t imagined her life after the school like that but the Registration Act and the Phoenix ordeal had changed a lot for her too, she just didn’t know what fate she had been spared. Maybe if she knew, she would have joined Magneto still with her surgery stitches. Hank seemed determined to work on the vision he had with Charles, only twisting it without him. 

Nobody had the time to say something more as Kurt, Ororo and Peter entered the room and looked at Charles before anyone else could react. 

‘Just talked with Betsy, she’s asking for help in London with Jubs, there is a mutant they want us to pick up. Piotr Rasputin, ranway from the Soviet Union ever since its dissolution, he’s searching for shelter.’ Ororo spoke the words that spread the awkwardness around the room. The team was needed, yet there was no team for the past few weeks and everybody seemed crossed. Charles glanced at Hank and Raven who looked away, he then looked at Erik. Jean wondered if Charles expected the couple to simple suit up and run to England for the new mutant. Or if he was afraid Erik would somehow step up and take the mutant to Genosha although he had no means to reach the United Kingdom just like that. 

‘Very well, we’ll send help.’ Charles finally replied, still looking at the remainings of the First Class as they were remembered, ever since Cuba. ‘Hank, the base?’ Charles asked, his voice somehow getting colder. It was all his property after all, Jean thought with a pang of what felt like unease. 

‘All set and operable, I have left a full list of guidelines on all the vehicles and the Blackbird, I’m sure Scott will manage. Jean should find everything at the lab for the infirmary.’ Hank explained professionally. A friendship of so many years was turning into a cold relationship among colleagues. 

‘We’ll be waiting to say our goodbyes outside.’ Raven finally spoke and Jean hoped she’d be able to speak to her, ask her if this was actually what she wanted. It was clear in her mind she wanted to go. Even if she remembered the only reality she experienced -the one she survived- Jean could feel Raven was done with the grand plans in the mansion. Only problem was, out of the haven of Wetchester, the newly born state of Genosha seemed like the only destination and Hank and Erik had already plans very similar to Charles, only for different results. Raven and Hank started moving, looking at Charles for a last time as he mentally sent his words to them. Jean couldn’t help but overhear his agony and Scott witnessed the silent words through the bond.. 

‘This will always be your home,’ 

Erik followed after the couple without a second glance, he was angry at the humans, venting on Charles, blaming him for the inevitable. Jean could feel this had to do with Charles’ methods and the two realities she and Scott remembered but Charles blocked whatever else was going on and Jean wasn’t there to fight mentally her mentor, in fact she was done with whatever had to do with the brain of his. She needed distance. 

‘I want to come with you,’ Peter spoke as Erik reached the door Hank and Raven had opened. Ororo looked down, eyes closed, Kurt looked fearfully for Erik’s reaction, rozar at hand. Jean and Scott remained silent, knowing through their bond what Jean had told Scott of Peter and his decision, out of instinct for a man who was like a father to them, they glanced at Charles’ shattered expression.  Peter kept looking at Erik stubbornly, unable to look at Charles’ pained face before Erik’s turmoiled one. He was leaving one father for the other and he was on edge himself. Jean knew, even if Erik refused, Peter wouldn't stay in Westchester any longer. ‘I have a sister, she’s… she’s like me, never wanted to join us here.’ Peter added in a whisper. 

After a moment more that felt like an eternity, Erik offered his hand to Peter, their eyes locked, they both knew, of course they did, even though Erik had never reached for his only son, Peter was ready to follow and Jean could understand why. Peter shook his father’s hand. 

‘Peter...’ Charles’ voice calling out was broken, just like the rest of him. Peter looked at Charles with sad eyes. 

‘I need to find my answers, I need to…’ Peter trailed off, everyone understood, it wasn’t so much about the derailed team but for Peter’s own sense of belonging. He needed the attempt, the risk, Raven and Hank being there would help, this was an opportunity. Peter exited the room after that, Erik stood behind a moment more, this time looking at Jean. 

‘I’m sorry for casting you out,’ he was honest, that much Jean could accept. ‘I wish I could repair what I did. Genosha is open for you.’ Erik added, Jean sighed. ‘The humans will try things against powerful people like you, like all of you, mutants are already filling Genosha in fear of the Act.’ he looked around at the rest, Charles was ready to protest but Jean spoke this time, on behalf of the remaining people in the room, the only X-Men left. 

‘We’re fine where we are,’ she said with finality in her voice that Erik couldn’t counter. ‘Take care of our people and if you need help with Genosha, we’ll defend your people with our lives.’ Jean added and Erik could only nod his head. She had matured in her time in space, she would have been aggressive before his actions, maybe she wouldn’t even had accepted his apology. 

Erik left the room and closed the door behind him, leaving Charles with his remaining team. The X-Men stood in silence before Charles could speak to them, choosing his words carefully as he looked at each of them for a long moment. 

‘The President wants to know, are we still a team?’ Charles asked and Jean could feel the hurt and fear in his voice. No matter what had happened in the other reality, he still faced the consequences of his actions, he still lost half his people. As she glanced at her boyfriend and two good friends, she couldn’t help but think of them as a sad shadow of what they had been, yet with their population cut down to half, they seemed less tense, less pushed and forced. This was a rare moment they had the chance to raise their voice and speak for themselves. 

‘Yes,’ Ororo answered first, looking at Kurt who nodded his head. 

‘Yes,’ he added shyly, a pacifist, the only one who never complained or moaned about the team’s methods. Charles turned towards Scott, Jean already knew her boyfriend’s answer. Focused on the sense of duty Scott always had for the man and the place that took him in, accepted him and gave him a chance. Jean felt Scott remembering her own words from years ago, when she had told him of what Alex had thought of him, he had believed Scott could change the world. The X-Men were the way for Scott to do so. 

‘Yes,’ he replied simply. Jean exhaled silently, knowing they would stay, even if she felt like running, knowing she would be the physician and the teacher, even if the only thing she felt like was take Scott and fly to the stars, maybe beyond them. Charles turned his head towards her and the rest did the same, awaiting her answer. 

‘No,’ Jean replied as simply as Scott had. Kurt felt the instant worry of another fallout. Storm sighed but nodded slowly, going with whatever sailed Jean’s boat before another departure. Scott remained stoic, unsurprised as they had spoken about it in private. Charles waited, too tender to preach on her or demand of her to pass her limits. ‘People are still divided about me, I’m not going to parade like an animal at the zoo, allowing them to keep score on how I help or don’t help in times of need. That would harm the team more than it would do it good. I can’t hide the effects of my powers and I don’t want them to become a symbol of fear.’ Jean added, wanting to show them she had her reasons even if she’d be understood without an explanation. ‘Maybe in the future, I will. When I am ready, for now, I need to focus on balancing….myself. Hank leaving also leaves me with a ton of duties I didn’t have before. I need to focus on my research, I will take care of the role of the physician and I will keep my classes if the children are not scared of me. That’s enough duties to keep me busy for the next months. I need time.’ she finally concluded and everyone nodded. Charles reached out with sympathy and understanding and Jean knew he hated the fact that everyone took their own decisions, not playing along anymore. He’d learn, she thought, he’d get humble again, as he was when she first met him. 

 ‘Ok, Scott,’ Charles started, looking back at the man he considered a son. ‘Since you master mechanics, You will be the main pilot of the Blackbird, until you can teach Ororo and Kurt as well.’ Charles started and Scott nodded. ‘You’ll also be the field leader from now on. I’m done guiding you through Cerebro.’ Charles added and Jean could feel through the bond, Scott’s surprise and pride. He nodded dutifully. 

‘Than you,’ he replied stoically. 

‘Ororo, you’ll be the next in command, your powerset is great for offensives.’ Charles offered and Ororo nodded simply. ‘Kurt, I want you to be an escape mechanism for the two since Peter is gone.’ Charles added as casually as he could and Kurt nodded, Jean could feel his relief for not getting some leading role in the team. ‘We need more members, if Elisabeth comes back with this new mutant, we can see his own powers, if he’s interested in joining the cause. We can also see through the eldest students, most of them want to join the team but I want you, Scott and Ororo to decide upon who is truly able to join. If any is fit, they’ll have to be trained in the Danger Room for months before they can join the team. We need a schedule for that too, a training process to make sure they are fit, this could be designed by Scott and Jean, as the physician around here.’ Charles spoke the words he had rehearsed to say at the possibility of having some of the team still willing to fight. Jean only nodded, that was something she was willing to do, even if she had her objections on choosing from the students, she kept silent, she wasn’t in the team by her choice, and after all; she had became a soldier when she was a student herself. ‘Jean, the only thing I ask of you is to be the school’s defence in the times the rest will be on a mission.’ Charles added and Jean nodded, she would protect her family and home at all costs. 

‘Of course,’ she simply agreed.   

‘I need time to check through all of Hank’s notes on the Blackbird and the improvements he made ever since the space mission,’ Scott spoke seriously, Charles nodded. 

‘We also need to make a schedule for the Danger Room sessions.’ Ororo added and everyone nodded. Jean spoke then as she looked at her friends and mentor.

‘I will need the Danger Room at least twice per week, for my own use.’ Jean added, they all knew the school would be safer if Jean tried her new powers within a protected environment. Everyone nodded, they would adjust their lives at their actual needs. Jean glanced at Scott who nodded and took a step forward. 

‘Another thing that must be done, for the team to function properly.’ Scott begun and Jean braced herself. Scott had spoken about it with her, Ororo and Kurt in private, at the time, Peter had been there too but now he was out and without a saying into it. ‘The team will operate in secret from now.’ Scott finally spoke the words that made Charles protest. 

‘Scott…’ he tried but saw everyone looking at him in the same way, with warning. ‘The team is a symbol, a way to keep the peace.’ he tried but Scott shook his head, Jean fought the urge to speak but let her boyfriend speak on behalf of everyone, after all; he had just been chosen as their leader. 

‘Erik’s right...They were ready to capture us with Inhibitor Collars, they had them ready, Charles. This is not how humanity should be keeping the peace from their own end. We also need to find how they acquired these things.’ Scott retorted and Charles sighed. Jean knew Scott wouldn’t speak of the reality he vaguely remembered where said collars had been used, but the fact of these things existed in the first place was a reason for alarm in itself. ‘So, speak with the President, tell him the new plans and inform him that if he needs a special task force, we’re there.’ Scott explained, his words were curt spoken, hiding anger for all the past mistakes.  ‘But no publicity, no more journalists trailing behind us every time we try to help in a situation, no more interviews and covers. Enough.’ Scott added and Jean searched in Charles’ eyes for the reaction, the push against their will. After a moment, the older man finally nodded in defeat, sighing deeply. 

‘We like it or not, I’m sure Erik will make moves to learn about the collars as well, Raven could help him with a mission like that. We need to keep in touch with them, for information and in case of them needing us and vice versa.’ Scott added and Jean could feel the discomfort in the room. It was evident to Charles, Scott wasn’t willing to stop the departed X-Men from interfering with the humans, especially since the humans had technology that could take them all down. Scott, as the new leader would try to keep them from a civil war between mutants. Jean preferred Scott’s strategy than Charles’ enforced fight for peace. She had been hunted down by humans, in both realities, chased over control. She was glad they wouldn’t play along with the humans blindly from now on. She didn’t wish to be registered like cattle, or classified as a weapon of mass destruction, weapons tend to be eliminated, and she’d fight for her life against anyone who would come close to harm her or her powerful family. People still feared her as it was Hers and Vuk’s words rushed in her brain in a whisper, poisoning her with fear. 

‘What hey fear… They seek to destroy...’

‘So, we go undercover, we keep in touch with Erik for information and help. We recruit the eldest students, after we form a training program for the chosen ones. We schedule the Danger Room for us all.’ Ororo listed the things needed to be done. Scott and Kurt nodded, Jean remained stoic as she watched Charles who finally nodded. 

‘You had been ready to retire… your method led us as far as it could have, let Scott take over now.’ Jean prompted gently through a thought. Charles looked at her for a long moment. She knew he had done something great  -terrible maybe, but great- for them all to be there, for Raven to be alive and able to leave, for Erik not unleashing Hell against them and the humans. Charles finally nodded and spoke. 

‘And I speak with the President while you go to England, Betsy needs you. Good luck, X-Men.’ Charles finally responded, giving his consent on all the new changes. They all breathed in relief as he finally gave in. 

‘Right, suit up, we’re leaving in fifteen minutes.’ Scott gave the order to Ororo and Kurt who nodded and everyone started for the door. They’d say their goodbyes to the departing members of the team and leave for England. Jean remained behind for a moment longer as Scott, Ororo and Kurt moved outside. Jean turned and looked at Charles who was already reaching for the phone linked with the special line to the President. 

‘Charles,’ Jean spoke, similar in the way he had stopped her when she had been at the door a few days back. He paused and looked at her, expecting her words. ‘Thank you.’ she finally said, he was truly giving them a chance, taking down the ideal form of his vision for it to survive altogether. 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 9- Terrified 

 

Scott was rushing through the corridors, still sweaty and bruised by the brutal session in the Danger Room. He had changed from his uniforms to his clothes without a shower as he had been trying to reach Jean through the bond for the past thirty minutes and he encountered only silence.  His heart was thudding in his chest as he tried once more to reach her through the bond, he found it silent, almost completely vacant like in the first days after her return. 

It had been months, yet they were all still struggling. The team -of which he was the leader now- was coping as a secret task force for the new President. With Elisabeth back, Piotr Rasputin added and Jean excluded -per her request- they were trying new things but Scott could see everyone was on edge. Jean had struggled the most, trying to balance the Phoenix Force -as she named it herself- and her mortal, mutant self. She had chosen her destiny - a destiny intertwined with him- but handling a cosmic force had been easier while merged with it amorphously rather than containing it inside her human brain, no matter how powerful she was. 

And Scott had remained by her side, supporting her all the way, a beacon for her to reach every time she felt the struggle was too much. Sometimes, he felt guilty their love made her fight so hard, he wondered how things would have been for them both if they had never bumped into each other almost ten years ago. Yet, every time he looked at her, he knew the answer, they were inevitable to each other. 

He had been struggling himself, to leave behind both branches of reality, to let go of the lack of explanation about them. Jean hadn’t tried to get in Charles’ head to learn the truth and in general; she had kept her distance as the two co-existed around each other peacefully but needed time to trust each other like before, let alone restore their telepathic partnership. That added pressure on Scott’s shoulder, standing between the man he considered a father and the love of his life. The various needs of the team and the school that he had to take care of as more and more people turned towards him instead of Charles for advice and help, didn’t help ever since staff and students learnt of his leadership. The recruiting students program was good but Scott needed to put more work into it, in fear of something going wrong and a student getting hurt. Jean’s powers fed his own, making his beams deadly, that only added to the hours of the Danger Room Sessions. The world remained vacant from the absence of the X-Men but Scott had been right, they operated properly without reporters and civilians watching them as if in a reality show. 

Raven, Hank and Peter kept minimum contact and shared information they got from their own missions as Erik changed his tactics -as expected- from simply living in Genosha, to using it not only as a haven but also as headquarters. While the humans raised more voices in favor of the Registration Act and more mutants moved to Genosha for protection in numbers, in case things went downhill. The inhibitor collars were made by Essex Corps, led by a man named Nathaniel Essex, a geneticist specialising in mutant genes. Jean wanted to meet the man for her own research, and hope for some way to dwarf and maintain the Phoenix Force through her mutation, Scott hated the idea and the man who sold such technology to humans. 

Scott had seen Jean’s nightmares through their bond. Her terror for the future, what the Phoenix Force would become after she was gone, what would happen if she was gone too soon. What would happen if one day, she allowed the Force to touch her darkest feelings again. What would become of them all if the Phoenix and Jean separated again and the Phoenix devoured the planet like it had done with so many before its arrival to Earth. The responsibility of playing God was crushing her and Scott was afraid that sometimes, in her darkest moments, she welcomed the downfall. 

The thought made him run even faster to their shared bedroom as he had been trying again to reach her through their link in vain. She would have had a quick shower and a nap, while he’d be at the Danger Room with the X-Men. The bedroom was empty but the door of the bathroom was ajar, he rushed in it. 

He burst in the room, afraid of what he’d see as he felt the last whisper of the bond silencing, his heart dropped at Jean’s sight. She was laying in the bath, her pale skin seemed white in the water, her copper red hair floated around her unnaturally, her eyes were closed, her lips almost colorless, her brain silent. 

He needed only two strides to reach her, his arms wrapping around her, pulling forcefully her familiar yet dead weight, his own blood cold in his veins, like the water that he pulled her from, jerking her awake and causing her to reactivate the bond and struggle against him for balance. The surge of life from her end ignited his own fury. Was she trying to drown herself?

‘What the fuck are you doing, Jean?’ Scott’s voice was full of fear and anger. He almost tasted his agony, the anger, the terror, her life was more important than his. He wasn’t going to lose her again. 

‘I’m fine Scott, I’m fine, let go,’ Jean half complained half tried to reassure him as she fought for balance within the bathtub, her hands clasping at its wall. The water was falling over the edge, on the floor, his shoes and clothes as they struggled momentary against each other. He was out of breath, the relief trying to supress the terror. ‘I was relaxing,’ she added awkwardly, he could feel the apology in her words, he had scared her, he was glad she hadn’t shoved him across the room in her panic, he still needed time to calm down his own racing heart.

He could feel through the bond she was being honest. He breathed heavily, his eyebrows creased, clothes soaked as he came in contact with the water to pull her up, the special glasses concealed his wild eyes looking down at her naked body, she remained awkwardly sat on the tub. The silence between them lingered, their bond screaming his fear and her apology over a misunderstanding.  She looked up at him as he ran a wet hand through his hair in frustration, he snapped the toilet lid shut and sat on it, taking a deep breath.

‘I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you,’ Jean’s words were spoken quietly He still watched her with wild eyes, all her nightmares snapped before his eyes at once, in some of them, she let go, and in others, he followed her. He could feel she had just lost track of time, choosing a relaxing bath like she used to do before the space mission, like she used to do ever since she was a teenager. So many things had changed, they had changed and he had forgotten how to be normal and lose contact through the bond for a while, how it was to let go of each other as she clung to him for her struggle to remain and he clung to her for exactly the same reason. He was constantly afraid she’d slip through his fingers, he was afraid he would wake up one day and she’d be dead and cold, gone forever. Her nightmares shook him but his left him alone again.

‘No, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you,’ Scott finally spoke the words as he rose from his seat, he was ready to leave, already looking towards the bedroom when she grasped his wrist with her wet, cold hand, he halted and turned around to look at her. Her firm grip reminded him of the strong woman she was. She raised her eyes and looked at him, they both seemed exhausted and spent. They both did their best to recover, to communicate and adjust a cosmic force between them, forging their love through creation and destruction. She tried and he knew it, but she also knew he was struggling and scared himself. 

‘I love you,’ Jean offered honestly. Scott didn’t have time to say a word as she continued. ‘I know, sometimes the thought crosses my mind, but I’d never do that to you, to us.’ Jean promised and Scott remained frozen for a moment before he could pull her up from their joined hands and envelop her in a tight embrace with the tub’s wall between their bodies. Her dripping body dampened his clothes more but Scott didn’t care as he held Jean tightly in his arms, more water splashing out of the tub as he kept her tightly against him. Jean took a deep breath and wrapped her own arms around him, holding as tight, her eyes closing at the feel of his familiar warm body. 

The couple remained against each other, wet and dry, cold and warm, femine and male, kite and rope. They completed each other and they were completing the circle. She was passing through the threshold of stagnation back to normal, forgiving herself, even if she was not forgetting what happened and Scott was right there, like he always had been, pulling her through with her sanity intact. He had been and bruised himself, insecure and leading, strong yet wavering,  but he had taken every blow for her, and now they were finally moving forward.

She wasn’t going anywhere.

‘Marry me? He asked as he still held her, his eyes glued on the tiles behind her. Their breaths held, their hearts beating fast against each other, the silence didn’t last long as she proceeded the words in her brain. She pulled slightly from his arms so they could look at each other. She had learnt to read through every little change in his expression even with the glasses or the visor on, when the rest thought he always concealed everything, Jean knew exactly what he was thinking just by looking at him. And at that moment, he was full of hope, fear and nerves. He could read her through their bond, he allowed himself bare before just like she remained bare in his arms. 

She had survived it all with him, thanks to him. Nothing could break them, a cosmic force, aliens and villains couldn’t pull them apart, and boy hadn’t they tried? Jean and Scott survived it all thanks to each other. She wanted the rest of her life with him, their love was the only constant in her life even in her darkest days. 

 ‘Yes, absolutely yes,’ she finally replied, she smiled for the first time in months, the feeling of wholeness reaching her eyes as she crushed her lips against his in a long, loving kiss between soulmates. She broke the kiss and hugged Scott tightly, a hug that made him chuckle and breathe in relief as she shivered against him, she was still naked and wet.

He only outstretched an arm, taking her fluffy towel and wrapping it around her as he pulled her out of the tub, Jean bent her knees for Scott to pull her out completely so she could stand before him on the wet floor of the bathroom.  They were smiling goofily at each other in the messy place, he was half soaked and she was shivering and semi covered in the towel. As romantic as they could get for their marriage proposal.

‘We need a ring,’ Scott mused after a moment as he caressed her cheek, Jean chuckled.

‘We need a mop.’ She countered, he only laughed, kissed her nose and hugged her to him, she wasn't going anywhere.

 

Chapter Text

X- Men Parabellum

Part 2
2030

Chapter 10 - God Syndrome

 

The elevator's massive doors opened with an ominous thud before the Madame Secretary, the Chief of Strategy for the Defense Department and the Ambassador of Mutant Rights for the United Nations. Jean Grey, Scott Summers and Hank McCoy found themselves before a dark corridor with lights turning on automatically as they detected the trio’s movement. The walls were plain, painted in a dim grey, the two men were by the telepath’s sides, all of them walking towards the end of the concrete floor with solemn faces. 

Anger, disbelief, anxiety, fear and betrayal flooded within the minds of the three mutants who had been through so much in their struggle to keep the world safe over the decades. Jean’s term was due to its end along the President’s, ending two terms of fighting for a better society, a just world. Only to be thrown under the bus once again by the revelation from the secret services. 

The revelation had a name, lineage and powers that gave Jean nightmares. 

David Haller, self-called Legion, Charles Xavier’s only son, a son unstable and powerful, the question lay only on how far his powers and madness extended. 

He had been kept secret from them, no matter how hard Jean had tried to find the secrets of her department, he had been the best kept. Like Eden, like the secret experiment bases had been kept secret from previous Secretaries, even Presidents. Her hand clenched into a fist at the memory from a couple of days back. 

They had been summoned by the President himself, two men were among him. They had been referred to as “service men”, they were CIA, devises on their heads, blocking Jean’s powers, they were there only to reveal that to her, Scott and Hank, only because they were losing control over the subject of their secret. 

They had known for decades. David Haller had been given for adoption in 1966 by Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller after a “mental episode” that involved Charles and Amahl Farouk, “the Shadow King”. Charles had defeated Farouk but gave his son for adoption, changing his name yet erasing Gabrielle Haller’s memory of her very child, in fear of more enemies finding either Gabrielle or David and hurting them. After that, Charles Xavier had shut down his institute as he had lost his legs, friends, allies, partner and child along his hope for the world. The child had shown abnormal behaviour from a very young age in his foster family and in his young adult years had been taken to a hospital for mental health problems, suicide attempts, petty criminal behaviour and instability had led him to a phyciatric hospital from which he had escaped in 1998, leading to a fight with Division 3, a secret organization of the goverment that led to a secret manhunt of the mutant that left dead several tens of people from that Division. After about two years of absence he had been found and captured, kept for experiments and observation as he was the only such powerful being on the planet without hosting a Cosmic Force within him... The only known visit from his father -which David seemed to remember only after a point during the two years of captivity and treatment- had been in 1992 while his foster family was in Paris for summer vacations, the duration or reason of Charles’ visit was unknown as David refused to speak about it. Legion called himself thus because of his multiple personalities, each personality held a power, so far he had manifested more than seven hundred, all bending a different gift but for the past months, he recalled things as David who he seemed oblivious to for decades, possibly because of his disorder/mutation snapping open a part of his brain previously locked. He was manifesting more and more personalities, grew greater control over them all and it seemed as if he could bend the different powers from his control as David. 

And of all that, Jean Grey had no idea about, no matter how many times she had plunged deep into Charles’ mind, no matter how deeply connected she had been with him. She had no idea about David Haller and either Scott or Hank knew about all this. She felt betrayed, appalled and she could feel these emotions tenfold by Hank, who stood by Charles’ side for so long yet was kept in the dark as well. 

The CIA had contacted them only because they were losing control of the mutant, they always revealed such things when they were in deep shit and this time, it seemed like they were losing big time. 

So far he had murdered four people by the blink of an eye and the inhibitor collar on around his neck. He kept saying “I’m looking for hope…” and soon he was asking for Jean Grey, his sister as he called her, before threatening of killing more and escaping, yet he seemed uninterested into leaving or killing. 

The three mutants stood before the tempered glass cage at the end of the room, cameras, alarms and guns were pointing towards the cage, similar to the ones Magneto had been kept times and times again. 

The man was sitting comfortably in the uncomfortable chair, waiting for them with a bright smile. Dressed in a white uniform, hands cuffed before him in a lock, his fingers playing with each other maniacally, his light hair unruly. He had his father’s eyes, only twisted with madness and cruelty. 

‘At very long last,’ his deep voice came clear, welcoming through the glass, as if it wasn’t there. He was looking so intrigued by the presence of people around him, these specific people. ‘Hank McCoy,’ David Haller first looked at Beast, a sinister smile on his features. ‘You were supposed to be something like uncle Beastie to me, I guess.’ he started with mocking sympathy. Hank didn’t have time to say a word, even a whisper of sympathy as Legion turned towards Scott. 

‘Scott Summers, the Son all but in name,’ David declared and started laughing hysterically. ‘No worries, I didn’t get the name either.’ he said breathlessly before he sobered up within a moment and his eyes darted to Jean, narrowing. ‘And of course Jean Grey, the Beloved,’ he spat the words as he snapped up from his chair. The trio remained unmoving before the abrupt movement but on guard, nonetheless. It was obvious, he found Hank and Scott dislikable, but there was something deeper against Jean. 

‘If you break something, anything... I can fix it.’ He mocked his father’s words, spoken to Jean over so many decades ago. 

‘Not anything,’ he mocked more Jean’s response back from the day she had reached the Mansion for the first time.

‘She can’t be helped, she’s a lost cause…’ Her own father’s words, spoken with malice.

‘No she’s not, as long as there’s someone to care for her, who believes, then there’s still hope,’ Legion mocked his father’s memory again, Jean’s patience was thinning. 

‘What are you trying to prove?’ Jean finally spoke as impassive as she could, giving Legion the satisfaction of her very reaction. 

‘People with God Syndrome tend to be awful parents to their children.’ Legion finally responded, reaching the glass in such proximity it fogged because of his breath. ‘Your father simply erased you, mine replaced me with you…’ he glanced at Scott and Hank. ‘And the rest, taking over my home, my legacy, you were all guided by him, played his game, Raven Darkholme dared speak against it all and died because of his choices.’ he added with a smile. Jean clenched her jaw as she felt Scott’s panic through their bond. 

‘Raven Darkholme is alive,’ Jean kept her voice steady and unphased. She could feel Hank’s confusion at the man’s words. She lashed out her powers, wishing to plug into David’s mind, she hit a wall. 

‘1992 had been a very interesting year, hadn’t been?’ Legion asked her with a knowing smirk. The Phoenix Days, the aftermath and her return, her struggle. She tried to penetrate his mind once again, tasted a mind of unlimited whispers, screams, colors and images, she could go mad by sinking in such a sea of people only within a brain. He didn’t seem to mind her achieving entrance into his mind, he gave the impression of enjoying it.  ‘Do you remember the White Room?’ he asked this time genuinely interested and Jean felt her stomach dropping at his words. Mind reading was common, deep mind reading with an inhibitor collar was remarkable, but speaking of planes of existence so far away from the human standards -planes she believed she had reached alone- was something different. ‘Once you went on your own, to retrieve your body, the second time I send you there by accident, when I bent reality for the first time, all manipulated by my father,’ David finally revealed and Jean couldn’t help but defend Charles once again, no matter the times he had let her down, kept secrets from her, her own father, his own son, the road to Hell was paved with good intentions, and Charles always tried for the Greater Good. 

‘I’m really sorry he mistreated you, but I had no idea of your existence, none of us had. He always tried to do things out of love.’ Jean tried to explain how things were, she was done listening to his taunting. 

‘Oh yes, Dad always loved people in a very… disturbing way. Made you soldiers, kept on pushing until some of you literally burnt out… then tried to fix his mess as not to lose his task force.’ David smiled at Scott while speaking. ‘But some of you died and came back, one way or the other,’ this time he winked at Hank who was still frowned at the words about Raven. 

‘You requested to meet me, I’m here,’ Jean tried to keep him focused and this time the man smiled at her and nodded. 

‘I’m glad Cyclops is here too, you two were the closest he had to children, we could all be siblings, and of course he knows everything because of the special bond you think no one knows about,’ Legion revealed the things he knew of them but both Jean and Scott remained stoic as they stared at the man. ‘I just wanted you to know… I’m looking for hope,’ David replied with his own father's words and this time Jean frowned. She couldn’t penetrate his mind anymore, he had erected a powerful wall around him again, preventing her from reading him. This was something new for her, she had struggled but entered Franklin Richard’s mind again and again, but this here was different. 

‘Hope in what?’ she was ready to ask when the realisation hit her, her heart skipped a beat. Her and Scott’s daughter. Their eighteen year old child. Scott felt Jean’s thoughts and panic, marrying his own agony. Legion clearly read her eyes and Scott’s posture as he nodded, satisfied. 

‘If you touch our child, I’ll fucking kill you, monster.’ Scott threatened, finally losing his infamous composure and making a step closer, Legion snapped his head towards his direction, intrigued by the word. 

‘You know, my doctor used to say that the word “monster” is not a noun, that to be a monster, you’ve first got to do something monstrous…’ David was pointing his finger in the air, remembering his therapist’s words, suddenly lost in his own conversation. Jean had enough, she stepped closer, reaching her husband, her lean body almost touching the tempered glass that separated her from David Haller. He was a tall man, his eyes so similar yet so different from the calm sea of his father’s, his were a tormented ocean. 

‘I know about daddy issues and I know about mental issues, unlimited powers and losing it because of betrayal,’ she spoke boldly, she had been through so much, she wouldn’t have anyone threatening her child. 

‘You know nothing,’ Legion tried angrily but Jean countered back.

‘And Everything,’ she insisted. ‘You probably blame me for Charles, for my position and not finding you sooner, for the bend in 1992,’ Jean decoded his threats and riddles. ‘But I swear to you, if you try anything against our child, I’ll send you to wherever Charles is so you can solve all your problems. I loved your father yet I let him die on me so my child could live. You don’t want to go against me,’ Jean’s words were calm, even, but her eyes flared with fire, the firebird screeched within her defensively at the mention of Hope. 

Jean finally turned her back and started walking in the opposite direction, her heels echoing on the floor as Hank and Scott turned around too, both itching with tension and fury, leaving the man seething behind them. He smiled before he could scream and punch the glass that kept him prisoner. 

‘I do! I so do and I will. He always said there’s still hope! I’ll make sure there’s Hope no more! So you can taste what I tasted! His vision will die along your child!’ David Haller was screaming the words, punching his cuffed hands on the glass again and again, getting madder by the second he had no more reaction from the three X-Men. 

The massive door closed behind them, their backs still turned at the corridor that fell into darkness again. Both Jean and Scott turned to each other, their bond wide open and sharing their terror for their child. 

‘The guy is completely mental, half of the things he said didn’t even add up, Raven never died,’ Hank tried to make sense of the words he had heard. Jean and Scott felt their bond filling with old-time guilt along the terror and worry. Somehow, Legion knew of secrets only the two of them knew of as Charles had died years ago. Secrets that could destroy the trust of the team and the world. 

‘What do we do?’ Hank asked weakly as the elevator was taking them up. Jean closed her eyes in defeat as she nodded at her husband’s idea. 

‘We assemble the X-Men and the X-Force, inform them all, no secrets, we keep no one in the darkness. We first talk to Hope, Franklin will help too, I’m sure,’ Scott spoke the words Jean knew that was the right path. She’d never do what Charles did -and kept doing even after death- to her.

 No more secrets, no more lies, no more playing God. 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 11 - Looking for Hope

 

“I’m looking for hope…” Haller’s words echoed through Jean’s mind as she, Scott and Hank remained silent within the cockpit of the Blackbird, returning to Westchester as fast as they could. Scott and Hank piloted the jet while she sent the same message to all the X-Men and X-Force members through their intercom. 

 

‘Assemble in the Base. Code X’ 

 

Jean’s eyes shut in dread as she tried to process the new information, she fought so hard to remain calm. The bitter taste of betrayal filled her mouth once again and she didn’t even have Charles to confront anymore, only his grave and the consequences of his actions. Among the countless questions she had about Legion and Charles, their failed family and the reasons behind the failure, one question that burnt for decades had been answered. 

David Haller was the reason reality had split in 1992. Charles had found and forced his son to bend reality for her sake, just like he had persuaded Logan, for her, just like Franklin had done for Hope not to be lost after the Phoenix separated itself from her, her . Jean felt like she was the anchor for all the anomalies in the timeline of their lives. 

‘Please, baby, stop blaming yourself,’ Scott’s voice caused her to open her eyes, she sniffed and took away the tears that had ran down her cheeks before Hank could see anything. ‘We’ll figure it out,’ Scott promised confidently. 

The moment they had exited the high security facility he had gathered himself, like always, analyzing strategies on how to take on this new threat without engaging the fact of their new villain being after their own child. He was trying to find a way while Jean pondered on the consequences of their actions, past and future ones. 

‘He’s powerful, unstable and…’ Jean sent through their bond and felt Scott’s countering words, comforting her. 

‘He’s imprisoned, you’re more powerful than him, and even if you’re not, Hope and Franklin are, and both teams will stand for us.’ Scott put the logical arguments in place. Jean sighed and glanced at the back of his head while he piloted as if they were not internally talking. They didn’t want to confuse Hank. 

‘Hank’s no idea about the bend in ‘92, none of them does, we’ll have to explain to them.’ Jean sent back, this time fear not only for David Haller, but also for their own actions, or therefore lack of. Charles had asked her to compromise, he had asked if the love for which he had done all that was enough, and back then, while Jean struggled to be human again, she had agreed it was. She had chosen the easy way -for once in her life- and now she realized how naive she had been to do so. She had trusted Charles, she had set the lines for her to remain in the Mansion with Scott, she had drawn the lines over Hope. She had no idea there had been such secret behind them, just like with Lorna Dane, Jean and the rest were once again left to face the consequences of other people’s actions. The pattern seemed the same and Jean could only blame herself for not seeing it. 

‘Jean…’ this time Scott’s warning voice snapped her out of her self-blame, he hated the pain she inflicted upon herself. Hank turned and looked at the couple before he could look back ahead, lost in his own thoughts. Jean nodded her head silently and checked once again the intercom, the message had been sent to everyone, most of them had seen it. Jean looked at Hank, her mind racing. It had been decades since he had broken up with Raven, almost a lifetime ago, right after Genosha had fallen, right after Essex, Jean thought bitterly. Everyone had made mistakes in the course of their lifetime together. If she had forgiven them all for their misdoings, they could forgive her and Scott for choosing to oversee another of Charles’ God Games. 

‘Hank, what Haller said about Raven dying…’ Scott spoke the words Jean wanted to say. Hank turned and looked at the younger man before he could glance at Jean. They were friends for so many years, Hank was wise and tempered, he could take it easy. 

‘You know time travel is possible,’ Jean started, suddenly impatient to get it over with. ‘You saw it with Logan and you saw it with Franklin,’ Jean tried and Hank nodded slowly, she could sense he didn’t like the implication of Haller being true to what he had said. ‘The White Hot Room is a… place that exists, out of this dimension, it’s where powerful beings can access. I have been there right after I absorbed the Phoenix, to retrieve my body. It’s where Franklin and Hope went after their demise, right before Franklin could exit it at the moment he wished to as to stop your assasination back in 2024. It’s where Phoenix and I sent myself and Scott once again the moment Charles decided to bend reality, via David Haller back in 1992 as to prevent what had happened to all of us because of me.’ Jean explained in one breath, Hank had remained silent, Jean could feel the underlines shock radiating from his mind at her words. 

‘What happened to us?’ Hank dared ask and Jean sighed, Scott remained silent, obeying her will to be the one to break the news. 

‘I killed Raven,’ Jean explained ‘by accident,’ she added quickly at Hank’s widening eyes. ‘I killed her at Redhook, that collision with the spikes had ended up differently, the team had split up, you turned against me, against anyone who would try to protect me, Scott, ‘Ro, Kurt and Charles tried. You sided with Erik in Genosha, you fought among each other, because of Raven’s loss and my turn against everyone.’ Jean explained and Hank was at a loss of words. Jean knew the feeling, she had tasted the same bitterness when she witnessed Logan’s nightmares of their original timeline. Where the Phoenix had consumed her whole, had caused her -or rather she had allowed the Force- to kill Scott, the only person in the universe that empowered her to keep the Phoenix within her mind, merge and live with it instead of allowing it to go rampant. ‘You turned on our side again at the end, like Erik did against the aliens. I had the same…end, but what was left behind was a broken team. That’s what Charles changed through his son.’ Jean explained and Hank looked between the Summers. 

‘All this years… you knew?...’ Hank asked in disbelief but this time Scott spoke. 

‘Through the White Room, where we believe the Phoenix engulfed us to save us -as bend or not, Jean was colliding to Earth the moment I was crushing with my motorbike- we held the knowledge of both realities, but we didn’t know how it happened. Charles refused to tell or show us. And frankly, we were too damn tired and grateful to be together again to delve into another of Charles’ masterplans. Since everyone was at least alive -and Jean still struggled with her powers at the time- we decided to let it pass. Then Sinister happened, and Genosha, and the Registration Act almost passed, Liberty Island, the team got bigger…. Life went on and we believed there was no reason to open a wound since we thrived...’ Scott was trying to excuse them after a point, counting all the misfortunes and turning points in their lives. Hank remained silent and Jean could feel he understood. He had been in their shoes before, living through other people’s actions, letting things go for the sake of peace. Sometimes not acting was the best course of action, he thought to himself and Jean couldn’t help but try and find some solace in that thought. She wished everyone would understand. At the Dusk of her life, Raven would understand, Jean hoped. 

‘I see,’ Hank finally mumbled as he sighed. He had once been idle, after Cuba, resulting in losing many of his friends. He and Charles has removed themselves from the spotlight, in the meantime, Charles had gotten himself a child. Jean had to read David Haller’s his file from the CIA again. She needed all the information available. 

‘Did you know? About Haller?’ Jean asked Hank and this time Scott looked at their old friend as well. Hank shook his head. 

‘He could hide anything he wanted to hide. For a time, he left the mansion, when he came back, he started drug abuse. It was when I developed the serum that stopped his powers but activated his spine. If he could hide from you, Jean... what chances did I have to learn about his son?’ Hank asked, his voice calm. Jean and Scott nodded, they couldn’t afford to stop trusting each other. 

‘We understand,’ they mumbled in unison as Westchester appeared before them. Jean closed her eyes and concentrated at their home as they approached. David’s rightful fortune, a voice whispered bitterly in her ear, she pushed the thought away. 

‘Almost everyone is gathered at the base.’ Jean announced, of course, it was a Sunday, everyone hung around with no classes or Danger Room practices. Raven was missing, not living in the mansion anymore but the’d reach her sooner rather than later. Nathan had been informed and was reaching the mansion on his motorbike. Jean found some solace at her son approaching, always on toe for the team. He was almost ready to come and live at the mansion, join the team and the family full time.  

They prepared for landing, the basketball court opening for the jet to lower in. Soon they were touching down, the ramp opening as they unstrapped and stood. Logan and Ororo were waiting for them, frowns upon their faces. 

‘Why the bloody X Code?’ Logan requested to know why they were on high alert, worry written all over his face as he looked at his friends. The team knew there was something going on with the CIA but they had no idea about the details. Ororo looked at her best female friend for the same answer but Scott spoke before they could start. 

‘Everyone gathered?’ he asked simply and Ororo nodded.

‘Almost, they’re waiting at the conference room,’ She replied to her old co-leading teammate. 

‘Who’s missing? Scott asked and Jean’s eyes looked away, trying to track the two young leaders across the vast property.

‘Hope and Franklin,’ she replied, her mind retreating from the radiating minds at the boathouse. 

‘Where are they? What are they doing?’ Scott asked, his voice more forceful than intended, Jean would spare him the paternal agony. 

‘...Telepathy Session.’ Jean replied after a second of hesitation, Scott stubbornly accepted his wife’s words. Unwilling to think more into it. 

‘They better show soon,’ he half barked and beside the situation, Hank rolled his eyes with a smile as Jean nodded and tried to send a telepathic warning at her daughter, she found her child’s wards up, Hope was rather preoccupied. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 12 - Young Gods

 

The couple relaxed by the lake’s edge, the heavy forest around them concealing them. Franklin loved the spot, it calmed his mind and Hope loved the silence, the mental peace of it. 

His fingers traced patterns at her naked lower back. He was on his side, head propped on the one hand, eyes following his fingers as Hope remained on her stomach, humming at the contact, face resting on her folded arms, the sheet was covering half their bodies. Hope squirmed as his fingers turned ticklish. He grinned and kissed her shoulder, her fiery mane was covering most of her back. 

‘You’re so beautiful.’ Franklin whispered and Hope smiled, her blue eyes always kind. She loved the man by her side, She knew what he had done for her, she had learnt about it by accident, almost a year ago, he had gone through time and space for her, to save her.  His sincere words made her heart beat faster. A fiery hue enveloped her body as the feelings overwhelmed her young heart. Franklin smiled, leaning in for a kiss, finding her reaction adorable. She was so pure and honest, unable to hide her feelings, she was blossoming into a Goddess with the kindest of hearts. 

Hope was ready to turn around, embrace Franklin in her arms, allow him closer again but there was a disturbance on the surface of the lake, strong enough to stir a wave that splashed against the sore. Hope glanced at the body of water and back at Franklin, a frown etched across her face.. 

‘My Mom,’ Hope explained, recognizing the telepathic disturbance that shook through their setting. Franklin nodded his head slowly, blinked and the landscape -identical to a lake close to the border with Canada- started to dissolve, replaced by Hope’s bedroom. The two powerful mutants found themselves on Hope’s newly acquired double bed, only the sheet around their naked bodies remained the same. ‘They’re back so soon?’ Franklin asked for confirmation as Hope shrugged and stood up, pulling at the sheet around her. She scanned the grounds with her mind, trying to figure out what was going. She could feel Nathan approaching on his motorbike -her dad’s gift to her older brother- Nathan wasn’t to be reaching them until the weekend. 

Their parents would go for a state secret operation along with her uncle Hank outside New York. Her mother hadn’t spoken of the location but Hope had expected them to be gone longer. Her parents had seemed so solemn while leaving and even her uncle had been sober, making his feral looks threatening to anyone who didn’t know him. All three returning so fast and clearly summoning each and every X-Man was bad news. Something was going on. 

‘Apparently,’ she replied as she felt them at the base already, among the rest of the X-Men, all the X-Men. Franklin was reaching for his pager. 

‘We’re on Code X?’ he half announced, standing up quickly himself and reaching for his underwear and clothes. Hope frowned as she started dressing and reached for her mother telepathically. 

‘Mom?’ she mentally asked the moment she felt her mother receiving. Everyone was gathered around her, even retired team mates. They were indeed on Code X. 

‘Get to the base the soonest, please.’ her mother was demanding but as always, kind. Hope could taste the underlined turmoil within her. The Force within her mother demanded attention, it felt defensive, overprotective.

Hope knew if her mother and the Phoenix felt so strong, something was very wrong.


Chapter Text

Chapter 13 - Para Bellum

 

Si vis pacem, para bellum

 

Jean and Scott remained standing before everyone, their children reaching the conference room last. The X-Men remained close to each other, Marie was comfortably sat by Remy’s side, Ororo and Logan stood close to the inactive monitors of the chamber. Hank remained close to Jean and Scott while Kitty waited patiently by Peter’s side, Kurt waited perched on one of the ventilator tubes above Betsy; who had also taken a seat. The members of X-Force stood on the other side of the room, Valeria, Laura and Zazie were quiet in a corner, by them, Yukio and Brianna stood close by. Brianna was glaring at Waden who was playing with something that seemed like spoons. 

Nathan entered the chamber, acknowledged everyone with a nod, his parents with a mental greeting sent their way as well. Jean and Scott nodded at him, they would talk later in private. Franklin and Hope joined the gathering last, looking at her parents and getting a nod from her mother. Scott watched his daughter closely as Logan sniffed the air and growled defensively. Jean sent a warning thought at her husband and a glare at Logan, urging them to behave themselves and focus on the problem ahead. 

The young couple reached the rest of the X-Force. Hope only tiptoed to kiss her brother on the cheek before they could all face forward. The X-Men and X-Force teams turned their attention to Scott, Jean and Hank as they waited. 

‘What is going on, Scott?’ Rogue asked, breaking the silence as Scott and Jean looked around them. Would they be willing to go into a fight after such a long time of peace?

‘After Cuba, Charles had a wife, Gabrielle Haller,’ Scott started, cutting straight into the matter, there were gasps and whispers at the revelation. ‘With which, he had a son, David.’ Scott added and this time there was silence across the room, only Wade gave a tiny “hmm” with a shrug. ‘This son is very much alive and against us,’ Scott spoke the words, as simply as he could. ‘And when I say “us”, I mean me, Jean and especially Hope.’ he added as calmly as he could master. Everyone shifted on their seats and feet. Franklin went unconsciously in front of Hope, covering her. Scott appreciated the gesture, but he wouldn’t admit so to the young man, or himself. 

‘Why the Hell he’s against the kiddo?’ Logan asked angrily, glancing at his favorite niece, his own daughter, Laura had reached Hope’s side, ready to advance. Hope had remained silent, unmoving, looking at her parents for an explanation without probing mentaly. Her innocent blue eyes remained glued on her family behind Franklin’s shoulder. 

Scott remained silent for a moment more, his family had the reaction he expected before an upcoming threat to his girl. He was a proud leader but he was also a proud head of that same, extended family. Jean looked at him for a moment before he could nod and she could take it from there. 

‘Let me…’ Jean offered gently at her husband who nodded, she was able to read his expression even with his glasses on, he was worried and tensed. 

‘When David was a baby, he had been attacked by an enemy of Charles’. Amhal Farouk was known to them as the Shadow King, he was defeated but Charles believed he had to keep David out of danger.’ Jean explained, hoping she was keeping the bitterness out of her voice. Some of her teammates rolled their eyes, some hid their faces in their hands, this had happened before, differently, with Lorna Dane, another grandchild of the Atom, abandoned and turned against them. ‘He gave his son for adoption, hoping to keep him safe.’ Jean added despite the annoyed whisper in reply to her words. They all realized how Lorna had been the second in line of abandonment, the first one had been David and there was no comfort in thinking how many more secrets could lay buried with their mentor. 

‘And he’s after Hope because?....’ Ororo tried to make sense of her friend’s words. Jean nodded and sighed, revealing more of Charles’ actions to their family. 

‘Because Haller had a hard life, mental issues, disorders…His mutation is multiple personalities disorder, problem is: every personality has a manifested mutation of their own. He’s a powerful schizophrenic.’ Jean tried but this time Logan spoke again. 

‘So he’s after Hope because he’s nuts?’ Logan tried to understand and Jean felt Scott’s hand on her back as she had to explain the hardest part. 

‘And in 1992, Charles forced David Haller to bend reality for our sake,’ Jean added as if she hadn’t been interrupted, causing everyone to frown at her words in confusion. ‘A reality in which I killed Raven by accident and the team tore itself apart. Charles made David change reality for Raven to survive, for me not become a murderer and the team to remain intact… For years, David couldn’t remember that but for the past months, while he’s captured by Division 3 -a special task force of which I had no idea the existence of- even if I am Madame Secretary, they have recorded a swift in his powers and the way his mind works, they don’t know why. He has started to gain control over his personalities and therefore, all their powers… He’s also organized his memories and he remembers the way he had been used in our favor. That leads to his hatred for us, we were the children of Charles while he was his only son…. He wants to harm Charles’ memory, his legacy and he identifies that legacy in Hope’s face.’ Jean concluded and everyone remained silent for a moment more. 

‘Well, shit,’ Logan finally exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air. ‘Why we didn’t know any of it before?’ he asked impatiently and Jean sighed, she had been kept in the dark before by the government she was part of, just like Hank had been. 

‘Division 3 belongs to the CIA…’ she only answered the obvious, they knew of cases -like the ones of Essex and Stryker- that even the President had been kept in the dark about. 

‘And why they want our help now?’ Logan asked angrily and Scott sighed and spoke for his wife. 

‘They’re losing control of him, he can use his powers erratically, they need assistance.’ he explained, not wanting to spread panic. Logan snorted but nodded. 

 ‘How powerful we’re talking here?’ Logan asked and Jean sighed. 

‘He’s shown at least a hundred personalities, he’s obviously able to bend reality...’ Jean explained and everyone looked among each other. 

‘What keeps him from simply making me cease to exist?’ Hope asked simply, causing everyone to turn their eyes on her while she looked directly at her parents from across the room. Jean felt a vice grip around her heart tightening. The Hell she’d unleash in a world without her daughter. 

‘I need to go back and see details, but I believe it’s his own self. He’s mentally unstable, hard to focus, untrained, he’s a ticking bomb, yes, but he has no idea how to set off.’ Jean explained softly at her child and everyone around them. Hope only nodded and glanced at Franklin who cleared his throat. 

‘How do we contain him?’ Franklin finally asked, avoiding to use words like “kill” or “exterminate”. 

‘For now, we remain on high alert.’ Scott replied this time. ‘Franklin will keep a mental eye on the school and the surrounding area. The rest of both teams will have to remain on alert in case he escapes the facilities, which is possible.’ Scott explained and looked around him. ‘If someone feels like they can’t do it, please say so now, no hard feelings, this is an old vendetta and anyone wishing to remain out of it is understood.’ Scott spoke the words who had everyone shake their heads and smile at him. 

‘Nobody’s out of it, Slim, we’re a family,’ Betsy spoke this time the words for everyone and Scott smiled, they had lost dear friends throughout the years but they had also gained amazing family members. 

‘We might need some warming up in the Danger Room but no one is touching Hope.’ Marie added and Remy nodded by her own side, the LeBeaues were not even part of the team in 1992 -and became members almost a decade later- yet they were ready to fight like the rest. 

‘Over our dead bodies, Hope is harmed.’ Ororo added, smiling at her oldest friends, Jean and Scott smiled at everyone before they could look at their daughter. 

‘Betsy and Nathan will guard you mentally. You need to stop using your telepathy -as we have been trained to do so in cases of emergency- , become untraceable for awhile.’ Jean explained and Hope sighed but nodded. She knew, through her intensive training to become a Phoenix Host like her mother, all the protocols her mother had created in her struggle to teach a child identical to her mental imprint. Telepaths worked like beacons for others, she had to lay low for awhile. ‘I’ll also disable Cerebro, the last thing we need is him somehow reaching for it to amplify his powers. If there are mutants who need to be tracked down I’ll do my best to keep in sync with the secret services and the police. For now, we go blind.’ Jean added and everyone nodded, worried at her worry. 

‘You really believe he’d be able to infiltrate the school with all of us in and even reach Cerebro?’ Kitty asked in disbelief, Jean’s worried eyes towards her answered her question. She, Scott and Hank hadn’t told them of Legion’s powers working even with an inhibitor collar on, they didn’t want to spread panic. However, they wanted everyone ready to fight -or rather- defend themselves and the school. 

‘We won’t risk it,’ Scott answered the question, everyone nodded. 

‘Until?’ Hope asked this time and everyone waited, the young mutant could feel everyone’s overprotectiveness for her, she fought the feeling of suffocation. Jean sighed before she could speak the words. 

‘Until I go through his file again, and visit him once more.’ Jean announced and everyone was ready to protest her words, Scott included, they had just been through how powerful he was. ‘Franklin won’t go near him,’ Jean added quickly as she saw Franklin ready to protest. ‘I don’t need you two engaged into a fight, young man, you could devastate an entire city.’ Jean’s words were stern towards her boyfriend’s daughter, she had fought to bring him out of his coma when he was younger, she wouldn’t lose him to Legion now. His potential was great and he would protect Hope if something happened to Scott and herself. When Susan Richards brought him to the institute, Jean had given her a promise to protect the powerful young boy as if he was her own, she intended on keeping that promise.

‘Plus, he could read traces of your mind about Hope… making us more vulnerable.’  Jean’s words halted the younger man, he was only twenty four, he still needed training and control, not only over his powers but also his reactions.  Haller would do his best drive him to the edge and provoke him. ‘That leaves me the next most powerful telepath before him.’ Jean explained the obvious. Before she and Susan Richards could give birth to their children, Jean had stood as the most powerful creature on the planet. People still worshipped her like a Goddess around the globe, until Hope and Franklin -and even Legion- could reach their full potential, she remained the most powerful. ‘I faced the Phoenix and succeeded into merging with it, without dying. I’m still powerful enough to face him and I’m  a telepath for much longer than you.’ Jean expressed the truth in a rare moment of self boasting. She had never asked for the Force to be merged with her, she had never followed a supposed destiny of an amoral, nonhuman existence. She had chosen her own life even with the Force within her and she had fought for balance for many years. She had gained a loving family through those years and she wouldn’t let them go to waste because of another of Charles’ mistake. 

‘Besides, he hates me and he’s unstable, through his anger towards me he could open up on things that could be useful. I could find openings in his mind to exploit.’ Jean concluded and everyone nodded once again. ‘Hank will go to Raven, talk to her about what is going on. Haller mentioned her, she might be in danger too.’ Jean added and Hank nodded at her words. 

Raven lived with her daughter, Lorna Dane and her husband Carlos Diaz while social services had given the custody of their daughter, Dawn Diaz to the Xavier Institute to be raised because of the young couple’s criminal records. Peter and Wanda Maximof had been close to their half sister and her mother, especially after Erik’s demise because of Jean at Finger Lakes. The hatchet had been buried but no peace had been established between Erik’s offspring and the X-Men, especially Wanda Maximof who pretty much remained against Jean and under the watchful eye of the government of which Jean was part of. Raven and Peter were the ones on speaking terms with the X-Men, from Erik’s family.

‘Alright,’ Logan spoke as he approached Scott, the two men could prepare the teams. ‘Time to warm up, everyone. Danger Room sessions every day at eight, right after the classes, before dinner.’ Logan announced and everyone nodded. ‘Starting today,’ he added and both teams stood up. ‘X-Men, we’ll have to restore all our old tactics. X-Force, we start anew, Hope’s telepathy is out, the telekinesis will have to be highlighted.’ Logan addressed Hope as she stepped from behind Franklin, ready to defend her position in the team. ‘I want you disintegrating any fucker approaching you, am I clear?’ Logan’s words directed at Hope made her smile and nod. Her father would have used a tactic of “fight and protect” her. Her uncle approached the matter in a “kill as if there’s no tomorrow” way, she preferred that, if she were honest. 

‘I’ll lead of the X-Men,’ Scott announced, knowing he had to maintain a balance between the teams. ‘Hyperstorm, you’ll lead of the X-Force.’ he looked at Franklin. ‘And protect Hope,’ he couldn’t help but add mentally, loud enough for his family of telepaths to overhear, Franklin, Nathan, Jean and Hope nodded. ‘Phoenix, you’ll remain the co-leader of the X-Force as well, without using your telepathy until we know it’s safe.’ he added, calling at his daughter with the nickname she had chosen for herself, taking over her mother’s alias. 

 ‘Alright, everybody, suit up,’ Logan gave the command as everyone stood and started for the changing rooms of the base. Jean and Scott were left last, just like Hope and Nathan did. Franklin nodding to Hope before he could follow his own team out. Jean and Scott looked at their children as Jean finally reached for them both, hugging them tightly at the same time. 

They didn’t need a word spoken, no one was to be left behind. Hope wouldn’t be trapped in a bubble of protection, that tactic had been used on Jean and backfired royally. They’d punch their way through this one.