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Volume 2 -- Supreme Reflections -- Jean Grey

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Jean Grey
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Jean’s Reflections (AN: Takes place after issue 34)

Everyone loves to make jokes about love. Who can blame them? Love is sappy and uncool, a product of chick flicks and Hallmark greeting cards. For whatever reason, the ability to love is seen as sign of weakness. You can’t be tough, macho, and cool if you actually love someone. And if you can’t be those things, then how can you be a decent hero?

I don’t worry it because the whole premise is stupid. Love is nothing to joke about. It’s nothing to scoff at. It doesn’t make anybody weak and does plenty to make us strong. Perhaps I’m bias because I’ve always been an emotional person. It’s not enough for me to just feel these things. I have to be genuinely passionate about it. That passion is what drives me. It’s part of who I am. It’s part of what makes me strong. Love and passion are almost like another mutant power for me. The way I feel for others and for myself is a trait that has always guided me, now more so than ever. For everything I’ve been through, I feel I’ve completed my own special journey of passion and have so much to show for it.

A smile of pure contentment dominated the face of Jean Grey as she lay comfortably under the sheets of her bed. She had plenty of reason to be happy. Lying right beside her was her new boyfriend, Scott Summers. They were both naked, having shared a night of powerful passion that left them tired, sweaty, and swimming in bliss. Scott had long since passed out and was in a deep sleep. Jean, always one to enjoy the afterglow, stayed awake to admire everything that was going on in her life.

Lying on her side and smiling at Scott’s sleeping form, she avoided the usual remarks about men being so tired after sex. It would have been inappropriate to put this in the context of a casual romp. For her, sex and lovemaking took on a whole new meaning with Scott. That was saying a lot for someone who defined herself by her passion. While her lover slept, Jean bathed in his warmth and let his soothing presence consume her.

I still can’t believe it. If someone went back in time five years ago and told me I would one day be lying naked in a bed with the love of my life, I probably would have checked myself back into the insane asylum. It was an outrageous notion that someone like me, Jean Grey, could have something like this. I come from a long line of degenerates who have plenty of passion, but for all the wrong things.

It seems like only yesterday I was just a scared little girl who was too emotional for her own good. It’s not like I was conditioned or anything. That’s just how I was. Most kids at age five don’t even know what the word empathy means. I was literally living it every day. It was hard not to sometimes because emotions always ran high in my family.

In a ways I was one of the luckier Greys. I wasn’t born into an environment of deviance and self-destruction. My parents were among the first to make a conscious effort at being decent human beings. My dad came from a family of drunks and screw-ups. He tried to rise above it, going to school and becoming a teacher. My mother’s side was even worse. It wasn’t enough to just screw up at life. They had a tradition of crime going for them as well. My mom never hid that she had some black marks on her police record, but compared to the rest of her family she was a saint. She and my dad had the right mindset when they got their act together and got married. They also had something else going for them…luck.

It’s sort of that unspoken requirement for success that nobody likes to talk about. Having desire, dedication, and a strong work-ethic is not enough to make it in this world. It also takes a certain level of blind luck. My parents had much more of it than the rest of their respective families. My dad had the uncanny fortune of walking into the wrong counselor’s office when he was in high school. He went in with the intention of dropping out like so many of his relatives had, but the counselor happened to be someone who gave a damn. Not only did he talk him out of it, he helped him get his act together. Add on top of that winning a scholarship that he admits he shouldn’t have won and you’ve got someone who drew all the right cards.

My mom was just as lucky. She was well on her way to joining her mother in the art of being a career con-artist. That plan fell through when she had the luck of a con literally blowing up in her face when she was a teenager. A guy she was trying to con was stupid enough to put out a cigar by throwing it across the room. He ended up setting his house on fire and getting himself killed in the process. My mother got out and was shaken by the whole ordeal. Then the guy’s sister comes into the picture and finds out what my mom was up to. She could have turned her into the cops easy, but instead she took pity on her because her brother was such a degenerate to begin with. Add to that her own mother being busted before she could catch up with he and you’ve got a perfect set of circumstances for her and my dad to meet.

While luck may be nice and all, it does have a downside. Relying too much on luck makes the world around you much more fragile. It can also seriously affect someone’s mindset. They can become arrogant, pretensions, and even weak to a degree. My parents got a lot of breaks and to their credit they tried to make the most of them. By the time my sister and I were born, they had a decent house and were making a respectable living. But even during those better days, I could sense just how fragile it was.

Jean shifted around on the bed, rolling onto her back and looking up at the ceiling in a daze. Even when she was in such a wonderful state of being, it was hard for her thoughts not to wander. Unlike her family, she did not take the many breaks she had in life for granted. She didn’t dare tempt fate in such a way. She had seen first hand the dangers of that kind of attitude. It affected her and her family in so many ways.

It was almost like a pre-cursor to my telepathic powers. My older sister, Sara, didn’t really pick up on it. My parents didn’t pick up on it either. There was always this tension within the family, as if the slightest nudge in the wrong direction could destroy everything my parents had gained. It showed up in the smallest of ways only I seemed to notice.

Like every time the phone would ring, everyone would tense. It’s almost as if they were expecting it to be a call from God himself saying that he was through giving the Grey family any breaks. It showed up in bigger ways as well like when my parents would get into these random fights. They were never violent or anything, but they were pretty frequent. On the surface there was the typical anger and frustration you would expect between two normal adults, but I saw something more under the surface. I saw fear…a raw, paralyzing fear that they both shared without ever expressing. They were afraid of things getting difficult. They were afraid of falling back into old habits.

It made me afraid too. I was just a little girl who was reading all these emotions I barely understood and couldn’t handle. And all this was without having to hear their thoughts mind you. I often needed Sara’s help holding it together. She was always a lot stronger than me. She had the luxury of being able to internalize her emotions and deal with them. I never developed that talent. I wish I had because all that fear eventually did catch up to us. My parents and I had to learn the hard way that being so deeply afraid was like a self-fulfilling prophecy. It puts you in the wrong mindset. It makes you careless, irrational, and frail. That’s a bad combination when your luck finally runs out and you have to deal with real challenges in the form of tragedy.

Tears formed in Jean’s eyes as she gazed distantly into the space above her. It seemed so long ago yet it still felt so fresh in her mind…the tragedy that changed her life forever. Just as Scott’s life had been upended by a single event, her world was shaken to a point where it never truly recovered. In one fateful moment her family’s luck ran out. In a single moment her spirit would be tested in the harshest of ways. Only it wasn’t just her own well-being that would affect the grim events that would unfold.

One little mistake was all it took. Fate didn’t have to do much to shake my family to the core. It only required a steady rain, a car with me and Sara in the back seat, and two parents who were arguing more than they should have been. I remember being pretty overwhelmed. I was seeing a lot of conflict between my parents. They were arguing about an incident with my mom’s sister, who got into a fresh round of trouble. I don’t remember exactly what they were debated. I just know it was heated and they both looked as though they wanted to curl up in a fetal position. I tried to hold it together. Sara held my hand, telling me it would pass once we got home. That never happened.

In an instant it felt like the Earth itself had turned on us. It felt as though a giant hand reached up, grabbed the car, and shoved it into a perilous skid. I remember my mom and sister screaming. I remember seeing my dad’s eyes widen with terror. At that point I closed my eyes, hoping it was all just a bad dream. But the nightmare was just beginning.

The car did at least three full flips. It landed upside down, causing the interior to crumble like a tin can. It all happened so fast I didn’t have time to scream. I probably couldn’t have if I tried. I was feeling all these terrible emotions, not just from myself but from my family as well. Professor Xavier later said that this trauma resulted in the first manifestation of my telepathy. I sincerely wish it hadn’t because the first thing I sensed was my dead sister.

A cold shiver ran down Jean’s spine. She had to wipe away some of the tears forming in her eyes. Even after all these years these memories caused her so much pain. She didn’t just recall the sights and sounds of that terrible moment. She recalled the feelings as well and in many ways they were far worse.

When I opened my eyes the first thing I saw was Sara looking at me with vacant eyes. She had been crushed so fast it she died almost instantly. Even if she hadn’t, her injuries were pretty gruesome. I’ll never get that image of blood, bone, and skin being warped beyond all recognition.

The sight of my dead sister was bad enough. When I called out for my parents, I found out they were in bad shape too. They were both alive, but out cold. My father’s head was slammed against the side door and his right arm was broken in three places. My mother was even worse. Her side of the car was a twisted jungle of metal and class. They crushed her arm, her leg, three ribs, and a few bones in her back. I was the only one left conscious and to this day I wish I wasn’t. Because in that moment, I was completely overwhelmed. All these emotions came over me. I felt sorrow, fear, despair, grief…pretty much every terrible feeling you would expect of a tragedy. Every aspect of that incident was etched onto my soul. To this day the horrors of that night are still with me. But that were just the beginning of a classic Grey family downward spiral.

Everything soon became a blur. I don’t even remember the paramedics arriving or the trip to the hospital. I just remember crying and sobbing to myself, trying to take control again. Usually Sara was the one who helped calm me down. Now she was gone and I would have to cope with this on my own. The doctors later said she never stood a chance. Her neck had been crushed and if that didn’t kill her than the blood loss sure did. As hard as it was for me to wrap my head around at the tender age of eight, my mom and dad struggled in their own right and not very well I might add.

My father was somewhat lucky if you can call it that. He only suffered a concussion and a broken arm. He was going to make a full recovery physically. Then when the doctors told him about Sara, it became clear that he would never fully recover. I was in the room with him. I saw his reaction. He didn’t break down crying or lash out. His face just became this beacon of sorrow. I honestly don’t think he knew how to react. I think he tried to convince himself that this wasn’t happening. As if that news hadn’t been hard enough, he was hit with another shocker about my mom.

Unlike Sara, she survived. Unlike me and my father, she would not make a full recovery. In addition to the broken bones and bruising, the crash did serious damage to her lower back. It left her paralyzed from the chest down. She was never going to walk again. Not only that, there were a few blood clots during surgery. That meant she was going to be in chronic pain as well. I remember when I first saw her I practically froze. My father had to turn away. I think he would have thrown up if he could. When my mom eventually came too, she looked totally defeated. It was as if somebody reached inside and ripped her soul right out of her.

Our lives were never going to be the same. My parents’ worst fears had come to life. Their fragile world had been shattered. Now they were going to have to be strong and adapt to these grim circumstances. All was not lost. We had the opportunities and the means to move forward without giving into despair. I didn’t want to give into this sorrow. I didn’t want this to be the end. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t feel the same way.

Jean’s tears gave way to a more hardened demeanor. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, taking the pain of this grim memory and accepting it for all its horrors. She could never forget the pain and suffering it caused her, but Jean refused to let it doom her to a life of despair. She learned to rise above it. She was the only one in her family who did and that proved to be an ominous sign of the new life that unfolded.

By the time we buried Sara, it was official. My parents were not equipped to deal with this. As soon as my mom was discharged from the hospital, she had to adapt to life in a wheelchair. She didn’t adapt very well though. She constantly lashed out at me and my father, angry that she had to rely on others to do the most basic of activities. Her only solace were her pain pills. Boy did she love those pain pills. Pretty soon she was downing them like they were candy. That seemed to be the only way she could cope.

My dad’s coping skills were just as bad. I watched as he put what had to be the most piss poor effort into helping his family that anyone has ever done in the history of mankind. He seemed so lost if not paralyzed at times. Whenever my mother complained or talked to him, he would get overwhelmed and shut down. I tried to talk to reach out to him. He was my father after all. But he never responded. He coped solely through bottle after bottle of hard liquor. He had always been somewhat of a drinker, but now he was walking the road to full fledged alcoholism. From the moment he got up to the moment he came home from work, he had a bottle of booze close by. He wouldn’t talk about it. He wouldn’t let anybody in. He would avoid confronting hardship of any kind. He was content to just drink his problems away.

This left me in quite a position. Sara was gone and my parents had lost all hope. I was watching first hand as my family fell apart. It’s the kind of display that leaves a hell of a mark on a child. In a way it was the only decent help my parents ever offered. They provided me with extra motivation to not end up like them. They may be okay with quitting, but I wasn’t. That meant I had to pull myself together and stand on my own two feet. I couldn’t be that emotional girl who got overwhelmed at the drop of a hat. I had to be strong in my own right and I had to do it without my parents.

The next few years were a real test of character. I had to wake up every morning and work hard so I could rise above my parents’ shortcomings. That meant spending as little time at home as I could get away with. School became my only escape, which sounds pathetic in some ways and fitting in others. I used that environment as a proving ground, learning how to cope with all these feelings I had always struggled with. I didn’t stop being passionate. I just learned to focus and channel it. I became stronger in the process. I didn’t make many friends, but I did endear myself to others and that was really powerful. My talent for empathy went a long way with people. It helped me connect with others in a way I wasn’t getting at home.

For a while it looked as though I was well on my way. Things were getting worse with my parents, but they weren’t taking me down with them. I was really encouraged for a while. Then a new challenge emerged that I was completely unprepared for. It wasn’t as horrific as a car crash, but it had an impact that was every bit as difficult.

With her eyes still closed, Jean continued to breathe deep. Everything was so quiet and peaceful. Lying here with Scott, there was a warm silence both around the room and within her mind. Being a powerful telepath, that kind of silence was the equivalent of three Christmas mornings. It was as rare as it was special. Every telepath had to condition their mind to condition their mind to deal with the bombardment of thoughts they encountered each and every day. It was a level of conditioning that she certainly lacked when her powers first manifested.

Sara used to say my talent for empathy came from reading all the subtleties in someone’s demeanor. It was a real talent that I was probably born with and something I should be careful with. It turned out she was right, at least partially. That empathy didn’t just come form just reading faces. It came from reading thoughts as well.

I don’t remember ever hearing a thought early on. Mutant powers don’t usually manifest like that. But that empathy was a sign of things to come. After the crash, the floodgates in my mind began to crack. I started picking up on a few thoughts here and there. It was never much. I tried to write it off as just a product of being overwhelmed at times. I thought I could handle it. Then the floodgates broke and my mind turned into a proverbial battleground.

I started getting these weird seizures. Out of nowhere I would be bombarded with this string of thoughts that felt like someone blowing an air horn right into my ears. It got so bad a few times I passed out. When I told the school nurse about the voices she thought it was some lingering post traumatic stress disorder from the car crash. My father could have looked into it further, but alcoholism seemed to be killing too many brain cells. It took six whole months of mental agony before I was sent to a hospital where they finally revealed the truth that I was a mutant.

At the time I didn’t know what to make of it. This was when treatment for mutants was still developing and nobody had any idea at the time that my telepathy was so strong. My parents were both clueless. They thought counseling was all they could muster, but no counselor is equipped to deal with a confused telepath. To their credit they tried to help me cope. For a while I was semi-functional. I forced myself to be even stronger, doing everything I could to keep my mind in one piece. That wasn’t easy when I didn’t understand what the hell these powers entailed. Eventually that lack of understanding caught up to me.

By the time I was twelve the mental strain was so great it triggered another latent talent. It started when I was in school. I would go through my little episodes and small objects around me would start to shake. Pretty soon that shaking turned into an all out assault. I remember some of the teachers thinking I was possessed by a demon or something. If only that were the case because I would argue telekinesis is way more destructive. It got so bad one time I levitated every desk in my classroom and knocked several bookcases. This turned me from a tragic victim to an all out freak. All those friends I had were now afraid and completely turned their backs on me. Even worse, the principal was steamed about the damage I caused and had me expelled.

That was the worst thing that could have happened. Being expelled meant I had to spend my days at home again. My mother was getting worse by the day. She was taking so many pain killers at this point that she was basically in the same dazed state every hour of every day. My dad’s drinking didn’t get better either. He had graduated to the harder liquors now and was drunk more often than when he was sober. On top of that his teaching career was going downhill. He was on the verge of getting fired and me being there with my problems was just too much for him.

I needed my father to stop squandering every chance he had at making things better. I needed him to step up and be strong for me because I couldn’t handle these powers on my own. He had every opportunity to make the right decision. He failed at any turn. After just one telekinetic outburst at home, he called the hospital and had me committed to a mental ward.

Jean finally opened her eyes. A touch of anger soon crept into her psyche. It was impossible to avoid this anger whenever she tried to make sense of the world she came from. It was hard not to be angry because the very people who were supposed to love and support her just kept finding ways of making her life more difficult. It wasn’t like they didn’t have the power. It just required them to work too hard and be too strong.

Because of their shortcomings, she suffered. She suffered in a way that came close to the night of the crash that killed Sara. Only this suffering was drawn out much longer and she nearly lost herself completely in the process.

That was probably the darkest period in my life. I tried so hard to be strong and rise above the grim circumstances of my family. Now I was in a padded cell surrounded by people with crazy minds projecting all sorts of twisted thoughts. It was the first time I seriously contemplated giving up.

This place was seriously not equipped to handle a mutant or any distraught 13-year-old girl for that matter. They had to keep me locked up like a prisoner because my telekinesis was so chaotic. Their solution was to keep me drugged constantly, which probably sounded like a good idea on paper. But for me, it was like being strapped to the world’s worst amusement park ride every hour of every day. This did help keep my telekinesis at bay, but it did nothing to stop my telepathy. I was still being bombarded by thoughts from people who really were crazy in the classic sense. Their treatment for this was even worse. I had to endure these shock therapy treatments that left my head feeling like mush for days on end. For a while it felt like my mind was going to completely shut down.

I remember at one point feeling so lost and desperate that I started having these weird visions. They may have been nightmares for all I know, but whatever they were they were pretty terrifying. In them I would cry out desperately for someone to help me. I would reach out with my mind and body, screaming into the heavens for the strength to free myself from this suffering. Then I would hear this voice that claimed to heed my calls. I don’t know who or what it was. But it would say it understood me and was coming to help me. Then this strange fire would consume me. That was usually when I would wake up or return to some semblance of sanity.

For a while I felt like giving into this vision. It would have been so much easier to just let myself go and allow everything to simply fall apart. But I held on. I refused to give up in the same way my parents had. I fought the temptation to let go after having worked so hard to become strong in my own right. I was able to keep my sanity long enough for a man named Professor Charles Xavier to find me.

This was the point where I finally broke away from the endless cycle of family dramas. I won’t say it was easy, but it wasn’t too hard either. I had an opportunity to reclaim my wounded spirit after my parents did so much to neglect it. This opportunity came under some grim circumstances though.

Shortly before Professor Xavier found me, I was told that my mother had passed away. Years of prescription drug abuse had finally caught up to her along with her injuries. My dad was once again so devastated he quit his job and went on a two-week bender. I only saw him one more time when he officially signed the papers to grant sole custody to Charles Xavier. I still remember crying at him and yelling at him for being so reckless and selfish. I’ve pretty much shut him and the rest of my family out of my life. As far as I’m concerned, Charles Xavier is the closest thing to a real father I’ve ever had and the X-men are the closest thing to real family.

It was a daunting notion sometimes. Family had always been taboo for Jean Grey. She associated family with all the wrong things. It was impossible to escape where she came from. There was nothing she could do to change the fact that she was the daughter of John and Elaine Grey. These people clearly loved her like any parents should, but they were victims of their own fears. When the going got tough, they failed at every opportunity and she paid a very high price for it.

Conversely, she felt more at home with Charles Xavier than she ever did with her parents. It wasn’t uncommon for the others to think of the X-men a family, but for her it was much more significant. Here, she didn’t just find a place where she could learn to control her powers and use her talents for the greater good. She discovered a whole new world that helped her become stronger than she ever dreamed.

In one day with Charles Xavier, I learned more about controlling my powers and than I had from years of unpleasant trial-and-error. He was a real miracle worker. He helped me strengthen my mind so I could not only shut out the voices, but focus my efforts so I could put these powers to good use. And thus began my life as an X-man.

It didn’t all happen at once. Coming out of a mental asylum with a dead mother and an alcoholic father is a lot of baggage for a 14-year-old girl to carry. I certainly didn’t rise to Marvel Girl status right off the bat. In fact, most of my first year at the institute was spent just pulling myself together. I had to shake off a lot of the dead weight I accumulated from the past. Everything from Sara’s death to my parents’ inability to parent had to be confronted once and for all. I couldn’t keep dwelling on it. I couldn’t let it dictate my life. With help from Charles Xavier, I faced my pain and rebuilt what I nearly lost in the asylum.

Now my life could finally start moving forward. The Professor kept me busy, enrolling me in numerous classes so I could catch up on what I missed during those darker periods of my life. Hank McCoy, who was the only other teacher at the time, went above and beyond to teach me and that first class of X-men. It may not seem that important on the surface, but to me it meant an awful lot. Going to school, learning about the world, and becoming my own person gave my life a sense of normalcy and stability. There’s no way I can possibly overstate how valuable that is to me.

Almost as important as my road back to sanity, there were other little details that helped change my life for the better. In addition to finding a father figure in Charles Xavier, I found a new group of friends to connect with. One in particular that really stood out was a boy named Scott Summers.

A warm smile formed on her face. Breaking from her daze, Jean turned back on her side to face the sleeping Scott Summers. He was still on his back, breathing deeply in a peaceful slumber. Just being close to his warmth was enough to soothe any part of her troubled soul. He was her lover now, but before that he became her best friend and an integral part of her life.

I arrived at the institute shortly after he did. When I first met him, it was anything but love at first sight. I had just gotten out of an insane asylum and looked like a war refugee with pigtails. I was pretty shy so we really didn’t talk much at first. As I gained control over my life and my sanity, I reached out to him and by whatever miracle of fate he reached back.

It was kind of awkward at first. We were both in the process of rebuilding our lives. He just came from living on the streets and I just came from the loony bin. He was the first person my age that I could fully relate to. We kind of leaned on each other during those early years and that laid the seeds of a special bond between us. Now to be fair I probably did more leaning than him. Scott was so disciplined and focused. I was amazed how he was so on top everything after what he had been through. I tried to emulate that strength. I like to think I did okay for myself, but Scott was there to pick me up whenever I fell. It was from him I drew the desire to be an X-man.

Now during this whole time, there were no romantic feelings. That seems kind of hard to believe now, but it’s true. I really didn’t feel anything other than friendship for this man for many of those early years. Scott was a great friend and all, but he often came off as stoic and hardened. Some went so far as to call him callous, but I knew better. I was probably one of the few who could sense the emotions beneath that hard demeanor of his. That may just be because of my telepathic talents and my knack for empathy, but Scott has never been one to wear his emotions on his sleeve. He internalizes them without completely suppressing them. I can feel him on so many levels now, but it wasn’t always like that. First, I had to learn about the proclivities of romantic love on my own terms.

After a few formative years, Professor Xavier took the next step with the X-men. He brought in a dishonorably discharged marine named John Proudstar. He was tasked with turning us from damaged young mutants to full fledged heroes. This meant going through the kind of conditioning most soldiers go through. It was a hell of an experience, especially for someone like me who was never all that athletic. Luckily, puberty had kicked in for me and I hit a growth spurt. I went from a scrawny little teenager to a fully figured woman. I managed to get some of the better genes the Grey clan has to offer and that meant filling out bras and skin-tight pants in a way that drew extra attention. John Proudstar was one of particular interest that I couldn’t help but notice.

It’s kind of embarrassing to think about now, but along with that growth spurt came all sorts of hormone-driven feelings. Being a passionate person by nature has a way of tapping some of those primal forces that are hard wired into every naïve youth. I craved intimacy. Not just sexual, but emotional as well. Around this time Scott had gotten involved in his first relationship and that sort of prompted me to make a move. So I did. Shortly after I turned 18, I hooked up with John. I probably made a total fool of myself. He was five years older than me and one of my teachers on top of that. But it didn’t take a whole lot of convincing to give it a try. I’m glad he did because I learned a lot from that relationship and not just on the rules of romance.

It was also during this time that the X-men began our first wave as we call it. This was the period when Professor Xavier had us dress up as masked vigilantes and venture out into the world, fighting crime, saving lives, and showing humanity that mutant powers could be used for the greater good. It was how we implemented the training John gave us and it became the cornerstone from which the X-men were built.

Everybody else was pretty enthusiastic about it, but I was a mess. I never imagined using my powers as a superhero and I was by far the clumsiest member of the team. I sort of needed some extra support and that’s what John gave me. He helped me embrace my role as an X-man just as everyone else had embraced theirs. Being with him, I made that important transition from being a girl to being a woman. And part of that process involved intimacy…something I’ve since grown very fond of.

With the utmost care, Jean slipped her hand over Scott’s bare chest and cuddled closer to her lover’s body. The warm feeling of her naked flesh against his was intoxicating. Having always been keen on connecting with people emotionally, it was only natural that she would be equally good at the physical aspects of connection. From a hug to a kiss to sex to full blown lovemaking she treasured these profound gestures. Some were more exhilarating than others and it definitely showed in how she embraced her lovers.

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I love sex. I love intimacy. I love embracing that special someone emotionally, spiritually, and physically. But as much as I love it, I don’t just throw myself at anyone. There have been only three men in my life that I’ve embraced like this. Scott is the most complete, but it was with John that I learned the ins and outs of relationships.

It wasn’t without a healthy dose of awkward jitters. I gave myself to John after only our third date. Before that I must have brought it up in every conversation. I sure put him on the spot at times since I know he had been with other women. For a while I was just eager to get it over with, but cooler heads did prevail. When it did happen, I felt like a new woman. It was so amazing to share that kind of closeness with someone. I think that more than anything broke me out of my shell and turned me the fiery personality I am today.

That fiery passion became sort of a beacon for the X-men. As our vigilante roles grew, our mission became more complex. Mutant affairs were just beginning to explode and our exploits were having a major impact. As mutants became more organized as a group, so too did the anti-mutant forces of the world. Pretty soon the X-men were more than just a bunch of super-powered teens in masks. We were the personification of a cause. We were the side that stood for peace and understanding. That kind of impact really resonated with me and Scott, but others on the team didn’t feel the same way. He didn’t show it at first, but John was one of them.

That sort of became a rough point in our relationship. We never really were on the same page with what we wanted the future to entail. My entire life was now driven by the X-men, but John never threw his hat into the ring completely. He came to the institute as a teacher. I don’t think he ever expected to be a superhero. That was an issue we never fully confronted. Then came the fateful mission to the SavageLand that changed everything.

Jean’s gentle touch found its way up to Scott’s face. She rose up a bit, resting her head on his chest and gazing up into the face of the man she now loved with all her heart. It was amazing to contemplate just how close she and Scott had grown over the years. That closeness took a huge step as they began this new relationship together. However, that first step they took down this path was far more eventful if not chaotic.

It was one of the first of our larger missions as X-men. This was when we started seeking out mutants looking to cause big trouble in grand scheme of human affairs. Trevor Fitzroy, a mutant thug with even more daddy issues than me, thought he could use the SavageLand as a shield from all forms of authority. He wasn’t completely wrong in that assumption. That place is a death trap. It makes JurassicPark look like Disneyland. It didn’t help that the X-men were still evolving into this new role as defenders of mutant affairs. I don’t think anybody was surprised when we stumbled into a trap.

Everyone including Professor Xavier was captured by Fitzroy. Only Scott and I got away. I don’t know if that could be called a good thing because getting away meant being tossed into the heart of the Savage Land with nothing but the clothes on our back. Whatever mission we had going in became an afterthought. The only focus from here on out was survival. It was a struggle on every level. It tested our bodies, our spirits, and our will. Yet in that struggle, something astonishing happened.

During our initial training as X-men, John told us stories about soldiers in battle. He said during times of extreme hardship, a team of soldiers would form special bonds. Those bonds went beyond merely being friends, teammates, or even lovers. They united people in a profound way where they would come to trust and rely on one another so deeply it defied description. I thought I understood that in the sense that the X-men had bonded through our struggles as a team. I had no idea it could lead to something so much more with Scott.

In those two weeks or 10 days or however long it was we were stuck in that jungle, Scott and I struggled and survived together. We had to lean on each other in a way we had never done with another human being. We couldn’t be shy or reserved anymore. We had to completely open ourselves up to one another and trust that whatever happened, we would face it together. It was hard, chaotic, and overwhelming at times. Yet through all that hardship, I saw Scott Summers in a whole new light.

I don’t know when it started or even how, but during that time in the Savage Land I started feeling a whole new range of emotions for Scott Summers. We both saw each other without our usual reservations. We saw each other for who we really were. In doing so I saw a man that I couldn’t help but fall in love with. I didn’t know how strong it was at the time, but it was definitely there. By the time we found Fitzroy and fought our way out, there was no going back. My life and my heart would never be the same.

Her gentle touch continued the constant stream of soothing sensations. Even though Scott was fast asleep, he still seemed to acknowledge her presence with an unconscious shift in his demeanor. Jean continued to indulge in his warmth, closing her eyes and resting her head on his chest. From here, she could hear his heart beating. It was so soothing and peaceful. It was a tumultuous journey to get to this point, but in a ways that made each beat of the heart more meaningful.

That mission was the beginning of the end for my relationship with John. I think he sensed it before I did. At first I didn’t want these new feelings for Scott to hurt what I had with John. I thought whatever this new bond was between me and my best friend, it wasn’t a threat to our love. Turned out I was dead wrong.

I tried to make it work. I sure worked harder than Scott’s girlfriend did because they called it quits fairly quickly even after things settled down. I don’t know the exact details behind it, but I’m pretty sure I was part of the reason why it happened. Just as sure as I am that Scott was part of the reason why John ended things when he did. To be fair, he did have other circumstances that were outside of our control. He had to go back to his people. The whole mutant affairs angle just didn’t work for him. I was sad to see him walk away. We didn’t part on bad terms or anything like that. We just went on separate paths and we haven’t looked back since.

The period after my breakup with John is what Scott and I now call the flirting period. During that time, we acted an awful lot like a couple at times even though we never made a move. We were the butt of so many jokes from the others. They kept making cracks about how we should hook up or get a room or whatever qualifies as innuendo these days. Maybe we should have. Or maybe there was a reason why it didn’t happen…a good reason that served us well in the long run.

I know now that I really didn’t understand what I was feeling for this man. How can I? I come from a family where love is so fragile and I was still playing catch-up when it came to making sense of these deeper relationships. John gave me a taste of what was possible. But it took another relationship for me and for Scott to really grasp the forces that were drawing us together.

Dating Logan was certainly unexpected. That wasn’t just a lesson in love. It was a lesson in the finer details of relationships. It seems kind of odd that I would learn so much from dating a guy like Logan, but I did. He taught me to channel all that passion I had in a new way. It made for an exciting and enchanting ride not to mention some pretty heated intimacy. Rogue’s relationship with Scott was kind of like that too. She sort of jarred him into a mindset where he wasn’t afraid to reach out and act on these emotions. A lot of what drove those relationships was raw emotion not complicated with subtleties. It was basic if not primal in a ways. There was definitely love. I never hesitated to tell Logan that I loved him. But there’s only so far that basic passion goes. As soon as the subtleties and uncertainties start creeping in, that’s when it starts to go downhill.

After I broke up with Logan, everything started falling into place. I began to understand all these complex emotions I had for Scott. It was kind of like being given a map when I was completely lost. Sure, it took a while before he broke up with Rogue. But I think even she knew they were not going to last beyond a certain point. It certainly could have gone smoother. I still feel bad about causing so much tension between them. At least she hasn’t held too much of a grudge. I actually think she’s happy that Scott and I finally came together.

It certainly could have gone smoother. We could both feel these unspoken emotions drawing us together. Yet it still took an incident with a guy named Sinister to get us to come clean. It’s kind of fitting in a ways. We overcame so many challenges to fall in love yet we needed one more to make it official. It makes what we have now all the more precious.

Jean was still relishing in the warm rhythms of Scott’s heartbeat. It was like a beacon, helping guide her into a peaceful sleep. She was close to nodding off when Scott lightly stirred from his slumber.

“Jean?” he said in a raspy voice.

“Mmm…did I wake you, Scott?” said Jean softly.

“A little,” he teased, “You okay? You seem…restless.”

“As if that’s even possible after a night of heated lovemaking,” she quipped.

“Are you sure? You know you’re a lousy liar, especially with me.”

“I’m sure,” assured Jean.

Scott looked at her and smiled. Even when he was half-asleep, he could convey so much emotion to her. It was a level of emotion that Jean now cherished. It manifested in little moments like these, demonstrating the true extent of their love.

There’s so much passion in his eyes. He may hide them from the world behind those ruby quartz glasses of his, but I can feel it. That’s the defining element of our relationship and how I know it’s special.

Scott had always been reserved if not stoic at times. He’s never been big on expression emotions, but he’s still an emotional person. I don’t think anybody can really appreciate the kind of feeling he conveys. He’s well-aware of what he feels. He’s even gone so far to say that it’s part of why his past relationships never got beyond a certain point. With me, it’s different. I feel him on all the levels he coveys his emotions. I understand him and he understands me. All the passion that’s such a huge part of who I am just comes together when I’m with him.

We’ve only begun this relationship, but I’m not afraid to admit that I believe Scott’s the one. In fact, I KNOW Scott’s the one. We love each other in a way that goes beyond passion. We’ve connected on so many profound levels and yet there are so many others we’re just beginning to explore.

My love for Scott has brought me to a new stage in my life where I’m not afraid or uncertain. For years I’ve struggled to understand these feelings. I’ve lost so much and spent a good portion of my life just rebuilding. Now I’m done picking up the pieces. Together with Scott, I feel truly whole. I feel like there’s no challenge I can’t face. Whatever the world of the X-men or relationships has waiting for me, I’m ready to confront it. There’s so much more to fight for and with Scott by my side, I’ll fight with every ounce of passion in my heart.

Jean let out a content sigh and curled up closer to her lover. Scott was still smiling, lightly caressing her face with loving gestures. He looked like he was ready to make love to her all over again despite his drowsy state. It was a sentiment that did not go unappreciated by Jean.

“You’re thoughts…they’re so tender for a girl trying to fall asleep,” she said softly.

“My mind is yours to enjoy, Jean,” said Scott warmly, “Anything else I can do to help?”

“Well I am a little cold. Do you have any way of fixing that?”

“Not to worry, beautiful. I’ll keep you warm tonight. I promise.”

Always one to stay true to his word, Scott gently slipped his arm around Jean’s waist and hugged her closely. His powerful grip provided just the kind of warmth she was looking for. Letting out a soft purr, Jean Grey assumed a comfortable position next to her lover and let herself drift into a world of dreams.

‘I love you, Scott.’

‘I love you too, Jean.’

Next Issue: Hank

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