Jean Grey defends her friends
in ways that few people can
even begin to understand.
Title: Tamer of Nightmares
Author: Pat Phillips
Rating/warning & pairing/characters:
Jean and Others.
I do not own these characters. Instead,
they are the property of Marvel Comics.
As a firm believer in property rights,
it's only reasonable that I specify that
my use of these characters should in no
way be interpreted as a threat to Marvel's
ownership of them.
All of my fan fiction, including this story,
is a not-for-profit venture. After all, when
you get down to it, who would pay for this
TAMER OF NIGHTMARES
It was just after midnight when the kettle began whistling. I
removed it from the burner and the shrill sound died away. Soon,
the scent of brewing tea filled the kitchen. I let the tea steep
for a few minutes, then poured myself a cup, adding honey and a
touch of lemon.
Sipping my tea, I looked out the kitchen window at a clear, moonlit
night. Despite the lack of any visible clouds, there was a storm
that night. The 'noise' of the storm was keeping me awake.
Have you ever had an unlikely gut feeling that turned out to be
correct? Or a sudden, uncomfortable sensation that you were being
watched -- that turned out to be true? Or the feeling of deja-vu?
Or have known precisely what a friend or family-member was going to
say just before they said it?
It your answer to any of the above is yes. Then you're probably a
Don't get too excited. Most of the human race has at least a trace
of telepathic ability. A trace so minor as to be almost
nonexistent. In fact, it's a rare person who is utterly without the
Here's one interesting aspect of that fact: among any group of
people living together in close quarters, dreams and nightmares are
a partially shared world, influenced by each dreamer.
Think of it as being like a sea. And each dreamer is a river,
pouring water into the sea.
And like the sea, there are tides, currents, squalls, and storms.
Tonight there was a storm. A storm of nightmares raging on the sea
I took another sip from my tea, closed my eyes, slowed my breathing,
relaxed my body, and reached out.
Riding the furthest wake of the storm were the small, fantasy
nightmares of the children.
*A boy had finally worked up the nerve to ask one of the prettier
girls at the school for a date. As he feared, he got a
contemptuous, utterly humiliating refusal.*
*Another boy entered the classroom for his first class of the day,
and suddenly realized that he had forgotten to put on his pants.*
*A sobbing girl relived a long-ago spanking for some half-remembered
*One of our foreign students stumbled over his English lesson as a
chorus of giggles filled the classroom.*
*Another girl fled through a forest, chased by... something. Her
feet were constantly tangling in the undergrowth.*
Those were easy. A touch and a whisper. A gentle telepathic "kiss"
and the children relaxed. The small nightmares dissipated and were
replaced with ordinary dreams, or sound sleep.
But that was just the edge of the storm. Inside, the nightmares
became more intense.
*She was desperately searching for the exit from a small room. It
was so hot and so hard to breath. And every second the walls seemed
closer. It was only a matter of time until the walls became piles
of rubble, and she would be trapped underneath them, with her mother
*He frantically scrambled for his glasses. He always put them in
exactly the same place on the nightstand. But he couldn't find them
Straining, I reached into the dreamscape and make a few
*She escaped that horribly small and cramped room through a door she
had missed until just then. My friend drew deep, shuddering breaths
under a cloudless African night sky that was banded by a brilliant
*His frantically searching hands found his glasses and replaced them
in their proper position on the nightstand. Then his head feel back
onto his pillow with a relieved sigh. Turning towards me, he curled
his strong arms around my body and nuzzled my hair.*
The storm got worse. I leaned into it, fighting my way forward.
*She held back her tears until the man was gone. Then she stumbled
down a poorly lit sidewalk. She stuffed the money into the pocket
of her jeans and tried to wipe the tears away. Cars passed her.
The faces in the cars watched her, examined her, judged her. The
worst part was the sense of loss.*
No. The past should not be forgotten or denied, but it would be
understood. There were so few choices. And she did nothing evil.
She was among friends now and those days were done. I let her go
back to sleep -- and go back to being a child.
*He kicked wildly, the only time he ever used his full strength in a
fight. The boy who punched him was off balance and twisting around
awkwardly. The kick struck the other boy square and solid. There
was the horrible sound of a breaking bones. And piercing screams
come from a boy lying on the ground, writhing in broken pain.*
I hesitated. Then I left. There are some nightmares that are
*She was screaming as the grey-clad soldiers crowded everyone into
the boxcar. She tried to tell everyone to fight, to run, to do
something -- anything. She tried to tell everyone what is going to
happen. But they would not listen. They simply would not listen.*
I ruthlessly purged that nightmare. It wasn't hers. It belonged to
The heart of that storm. That night's source of all nightmares.
From a distance I "heard" his howl of agony, fear, hate, and rage.
I tried to enter the heart of the storm. Circling it, half-blinded
by the spray of psionic chaff, I found what looked like a slight
opening. Lunging forward, my will shaped into a spear of purpose, I
tried to slip inside.
The force of being repulsed was so strong that I was whipped out of
my chair. I slammed to the kitchen floor, dazed, and gasping for
After a few painful moments, I staggered to my feet and grabbed the
edge of the table. I took deep breaths, trying to calm down.
Bracing myself, I closed my eyes and tried again...
A few minutes later, I awoke. I was lying on the kitchen floor
again. My head was pounding, my shoulder ached terribly, and I had
a nosebleed. Shaking in reaction, I curled up and tried not to
think about that unseen storm howling it's way across an invisible
It was Charles. I slowly got to my feet, picked up the knocked-over
chair, and sat at the table again. I was trembling and hot tears
were spilling down my cheeks.
*You must stop this,* he told me gently.
*I can... I can help him. If I can just...*
*This cannot be done by someone else, Jean. He will have to find
the way out himself.*
That wasn't the first time I had tried. And I had failed every
time. Charles kept warning me to stop. It was dangerous.
There was a terrible cry -- both normally and telepathically. I
winced and wiped blood from my face.
Some other night. Some other night I would try again. I couldn't
just leave him there.
I was still crying when Scott came to the kitchen to take me back to