TITLE: Red Nail Polish
AUTHOR: Mara Greengrass
AUTHOR'S E-MAIL: fishfolk@...
. Feedback is better than
PERMISSION TO ARCHIVE: Yes, just let me know.
CATEGORY: Gen, angst
SUMMARY: What do you think about when your world is falling apart?
DISCLAIMER: The X-Men and the X-Men movieverse belong to Marvel and
Twentieth-Century Fox and other entities with expensive lawyers. I am
making no profit from this story.
NOTES/DEDICATION: This story was written in response to a Challenge in
a Can (http://www.dymphna.net/challenge)
. I came up with the idea
while sitting with my husband in a hospital emergency room waiting to
hear about my father-in-law and watching my mother-in-law pace. So,
even though they'll never read this, I dedicate this story to Sam and
Tamar Fishman. Jean Grey/bitter/nail polish.
The nail polish was red. Fire engine red. It matched the dress she had
chosen for the evening, the dress she'd chosen because Scott loved how
it looked on her.
The damn nail polish was *so* red. So bright and cheerful. It was
Bright and cheerful. It matched the two chairs outside the combined
lab/hospital room under the mansion. Why had she never noticed how
incongruous those chairs were? Too bright against cool blue/silver
walls. Too much like flames licking up against the walls.
She sat in one of the chairs, with a silent Ororo next to her, and
waited for Hank to bring her news about Scott.
She sat and stared at her nail polish. It wasn't even chipped. It
looked as fresh as it had when she'd put it on this afternoon.
That was unfair. It should be chipped, shredded like the dress it
matched. How could she get through a fight without even chipping the
How could her lover be lying in that room dying and she and her nail
polish were unscathed?
It shouldn't be so bright. How could anything be bright when Scott was
She wanted to just dip her hands in acetone to get rid of it. Acetone
or battery acid, because who cared what happened to her hands if Scott
died? Nothing mattered if he died.
The red of her nails didn't look bright and cheerful anymore. It
looked like blood, like Scott's blood as he lay on the ground in front
of her. His blood pouring out because he'd refrained from using his
powers for fear of hitting the other people in the restaurant.
She didn't usually wear nail polish, but it went so well with the
dress, she'd gone to the trouble.
Scott came by the bedroom while she was putting it on, wrinkled his
nose at the smell and then tried to tickle her. She'd kicked him out
of the room so she could finish the nail polish.
Kicked him out of the room. Sent him away. Voluntarily given up time
they could have spent together.
She begrudged every single second she'd spent putting the polish on
and waiting for it to dry. Wasted time. Just like Scott's life would
be wasted if he died.
She swallowed convulsively, almost choking at the thought. She tasted
bitter bile, bitter to match her thoughts. Distantly, she felt Ororo's
arm around her shoulder and the concern in her mind, but she kept
staring at the nail polish.
The Professor came and tried to talk to her, but she just divided her
time between looking at her hands and staring at the door. Waiting for
Hank to come out. Resisting the urge to burst through the door and
demand to help treat Scott.
She wanted to scratch herself with her nails, scratch until she broke
through the numbness, scratch until she bled so she could be with
But she sat in the chair and waited. She waited with her bitter
thoughts and her red nail polish.