Title: Square Pegs, Round Holes
Author: Andariel (andariell@...
Codes: Ororo, Jean
Summary: Ororo tests the waters and learns more about the mansion's hurricane
bringer <g>. Occurs some time after jenn's "Reaction Shot"
Author Notes: I'm obsessed. This universe has driven all my other fic muses
away. If I wasn't so giddy, it would probably worry me more.
Archiving: RRindex at Indulgence, Muse's Fool, WRFA, XMMFC
Disclaimer: Not mine. It doesn't make me happy, but it's true.
Feedback: Like hot chocolate on a cool fall day
As Ororo entered the elevator and keyed in the code that would allow her to
access the penthouse level, she wondered at the changes that had occurred
amongst her teammates in such a short time. The chaos swirling about the
mansion had all the inhabitants on edge. Quite frankly, Ororo was a bit weary
of dealing with the tension. Her discussions with Scott and Logan had helped
clarify things in her mind, and she'd felt compelled to act. She had no idea if
what she'd decided to do would make any difference, but at least she was doing
*something* -- unlike the two men, who both seemed prepared to either brood or
rage about the situation rather than trying to rationally deal with it.
Exiting the elevator, she crossed to Warren's penthouse and rang the bell. A
few moments later, the door opened to reveal the person Ororo was hoping could
assist her in making sense out of things.
Jean appeared to be surprised but not unpleasantly so based on her expression of
mild curiosity. "Hello, Ororo. If you've come looking for Warren, I'm afraid
he's not in. He left a few hours ago to take care of some business."
"Yes. Warren is currently at the mansion discussing funding for the school with
Charles. That is why I chose now to come."
Jean's brow arched and a smile twitched to life on her face. "The direct
approach. I can't tell you how refreshing that is."
Ororo returned the smile, glad to see that Jean appeared willing to talk to her.
"Unlike the men involved, I do not believe you need to be coddled."
Jean, smile still in place, titled her head slightly, then backed away from the
door. "Would you like a cappuccino? I've been in the kitchen all morning
trying to teach myself how to use that monstrously large machine Warren refers
to as a coffee maker. I think I've finally managed to figure it out."
Ororo walked into the apartment and headed for Warren's kitchen. "Thank you,
but no. Water is all I need." As she opened the chrome door of the
refrigerator, she glanced around at the large space and mused -- not for the
first time -- that the number and variety of appliances made the kitchen look
like it belonged in a small restaurant rather than a private residence. Warren
had never been one to settle for having less than the best.
Taking out a bottle of water and opening it, Ororo turned to watch Jean sit on
one of the stools at the breakfast bar. The woman seemed quite at home in
Warren's apartment. Ororo wasn't sure whether that should be taken as a good
sign or a bad one.
As she was taking a sip of water, Jean spoke again. "I can't blame anyone for
treating me like I'm... fragile, considering how I've been behaving. Based on
what you've all seen of me, I don't think any of you would recognize the person
I was a month ago." She paused for a second, playing idly with the spoon in her
coffee cup and then giving a quick laugh that hung somewhere between nostalgia
and bitterness. "What would Bryant think of the Phoenix if he could see her
Another man involved in this mess? Goddess... could this possibly be even
*more* complicated? "Bryant is...?"
Jean considered the question, then shrugged. "A former... involvement.
Relationship terminology has always been bothersome for me. Ex-boyfriend makes
it sound like we went to the homecoming dance together and significant other is
too... clinical. Anyway, Bryant and I did our residency together, lived
together for three years until he got tired of playing second fiddle to my
career. I always took medicine more seriously than he did."
When Jean paused to take a sip of cappuccino, Ororo crossed the floor to the
breakfast bar and placed her water bottle on its surface. "So... he called you
Jean's eyes flew up from the coffee cup, almost like she'd forgotten Ororo's
presence. "My nickname from residency. We all ended up with one sooner or
later. Working eighteen hour shifts with the same group of people, constantly
being berated by the attendings, scraping by in cramped apartments and studying
together whenever we weren't working... it tends to be a bonding experience."
"Phoenix as in the city, or the mythological bird?" This wasn't what Ororo had
come to discuss, but she was no more immune to curiosity than anyone else was.
She wanted to know more about the woman who had come into their lives so
suddenly, like... well, like a hurricane, to use Rogue's analogy.
"I was on rotation in the ER. The EMTs brought in a teenager who'd wrapped his
car around a tree. He had massive internal bleeding, head trauma, the works.
He flat-lined while I was working on him. Dr. Ryser, the ER attending physician,
came in to call the code, but I refused to stop working on the boy. I *knew* he
Jean paused a moment, looking over at her then back down at the coffee. "I
guess I know now where that belief came from. Back then, I just thought it was
instinct. When his heart restarted, we stabilized him and sent him into
surgery. Bryant told me I was either completely insane or extremely lucky,
because no one contradicted Ryser without facing disciplinary action. Said I
had 'pulled my career from the ashes' by saving the boy and started calling me
Jean suddenly laughed and looked up at her again. "I don't know why I told you
all of that. You're very easy to talk to."
Ororo smiled softly. "So I've been told." The smile dissipated as she recalled
her reason for coming over to the penthouse in the first place. "You seem to
have settled in rather comfortably here."
Jean took another sip of her drink before replying. "I guess I have. It's not
permanent, but... Warren makes it easy to be comfortable." She turned her head
to stare out the window at the Manhattan skyline. "He's free to make me a
priority, rather than a problem to be solved. Even if I am just his latest
rescue project... a kitten he pulled from the river, it's ... uncomplicated with
Uncomplicated? Ororo frowned to herself. The doctor didn't seem the type to be
purposely obtuse. Something was missing here... "I do not believe you are
taking everything into consideration if you believe involving yourself with
Warren has not complicated things."
A raised auburn brow indicated Jean had understood the implication. "I'm not
sleeping with Warren, if that's what you're thinking."
The unspoken words hung in the air until Ororo verbalized them. "Not yet."
Jean's head turned quickly, meeting Ororo's gaze again, unreadable emotions
skittering across her face. "I won't say that I haven't considered it. I have.
But that wouldn't be fair to Warren or to me. Not while I'm still so confused
The gaze was broken again, and Ororo completed the sentence. "About Scott."
The lack of answer to her statement was all the confirmation she needed. "I
spoke with Scott, after he found you here. He was quite confused himself."
Jean stood up quickly and walked into the kitchen with her coffee cup, dumping
the contents into the sink as she spoke bitterly. "I have enough problems of my
own. I can't worry about what Scott Summers chooses to believe or do." She
shook her head and turned on the water faucet, rinsing out the cup and placing
it in the dish drainer. "We told him nothing was going on between us. If he
chose not to accept that... well, he has his own reasons. He believed what he
needed to believe so he could do what he wanted to do."
Ororo raised a brow at that statement, unsure of the logic Jean was following.
"What is it you believe he wanted to do?"
Jean turned and leaned back against the counter. "I haven't known Scott for
long, but there's one thing I'm certain of -- he's not a person who deals well
with lack of control. He needs the concrete, the provable. That's what he has
with Marie. Seven years of history and commitment that *prove* he belongs with
her. This... connection between him and me, it's not rational. It's..." Jean
shook her head and gave a strained laugh. "Hell, I don't understand it any
better than he does. The bottom line is, if he can convince himself that I've
turned to Warren, he can dismiss the bond he feels to me as an aberration and
return to his neat, tidy life."
Ororo tilted her head. "And you can do the same, correct?"
Jean looked up and over at her, brow furrowed with confusion. "What?"
"All the motivations and reactions you have placed at Scott's door are yours as
well. You have categorized it all very neatly. Scott returns to Rogue, you
become involved with Warren. Eventually, you return to your job at the hospital
and forget what happened between you and Scott, yes? Everything cut and dried,
no loose ends."
When Jean was unable to meet her eyes, Ororo felt a wave of sympathy come over
her. But she knew the other woman needed to face some facts before the
situation became worse through more false beliefs. "Although we all wish it to
the contrary at times, life is not tidy. Warren and Scott are best friends.
You cannot pretend that won't have an impact." She decided to leave out the
sudden, strong connection between Rogue and Logan, deciding the other woman had
enough to consider without adding one more complication to the mix.
Jean finally looked up. "Basically, you're saying I can't shove a square peg
into a round hole."
Ororo shook her head slowly. "No. I am not saying that. All things are
possible, given enough tenacity. You -- all of you -- may succeed in forcing
things to fit that were not intended to be. But in doing so, you cannot avoid
causing damage. The square peg only fits the round hole when the edges are
sheared off it."
~*~ The End ~*~
Okay... sombody else's turn <g>
The Insomniac Playground
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