Title: One Simple Word
Author: Kalimando (Quidam)
Characters: Scott, Jean, and a few others who make an appearance
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine.
Summary: It's one word, so why can't either of them just come out
and say it?
Rating: PG- dropped the S bomb once.
Notes: Feedback would be much appreciated
Both were keenly aware of the valley between them. Sharing the same
bed, the same covers, but not touching, not facing, not speaking. It
was over something trivial, something neither could remember, but
you put two stubborn mules facing in the opposite direction and
neither one is going to budge. So they went about their day
carefully avoiding one another and when by chance they happened to
meet it was with forced civility- a curt hello as they tripped over
themselves to hastily make their departure.
When they weren't in the classrooms lecturing about mitochondria or
algebraic equations, Scott would busy himself in the garage, face
hidden under a car, checking brake pads which had been previously
checked 5 times before in the last week. Jean sought refuge in her
lab, nose buried in a microscope, studying the same slide but
neglecting to write down her observations.
One simple word, 5 letters. So why is that one word the most
difficult to say? Pride has five letters as well and god knows that
Scott and Jean had enough pride to spare.
Jean had made up her mind to just apologize and had even stayed up,
pretending to read, waiting for Scott to come in. When he did, even
if she couldn't see his eyes, the surprise of finding her awake was
written all over his face. And before she could utter that simple
word comprised of 5 letters, Scott took off for the bathroom. Jean
turned off her reading lamp, then and listened to the sounds of
Scott fussing in the bathroom, stalling. She was still awake,
staring at the blank wall, when Scott deemed it safe to return to
the bedroom. Careful not to overstep that imaginary line, he slid
into bed. When Scott woke in the morning, Jean had long since left
the room- the slight indentation on her pillow was the only clue
that she had even slept in the bed. Tangled bed sheets which were
once a daily occurrence still had the folded creases from when they
were folded in the laundry room. Bodies which once clung to one
another in the night, now lay like corpses.
"This is getting ridiculous," noted Ororo. "Can't you say something
Xavier shook his head determinedly, "No. They're both adults, even
if they are behaving like the students, and when they're ready they
will confront the situation."
Ororo nodded but it was clear she didn't agree. With the trend Jean
and Scott had set, Ororo doubted that either would remain in the
same room long enough to deal with whatever the hell it was they
were silently arguing about.
Logan, who under normal circumstances, would have been inclined to
throw a few smart ass comments in Scott's direction wisely refrained
from doing so. There were just some lines even Logan knew not to
cross. The expression Scott had been sporting might also have had
something to do with it.
If Jean and Scott thought they were doing an adequate job of keeping
their now tense relationship a secret, they were only fooling
themselves. The entire school knew that something had happened- an
disagreement of some kind- but no one knew the details. Several
attempts were made to gather more information which only resulted in
detention, added homework, and enough pop quizzes to scar them for
life. Rowdy students became model students and lectures were
conducted in near silence. Students traipsed around Scott and Jean
in attempts to avoid detection. Make yourself as small and
insignificant as possible and maybe, just maybe there won't be extra
homework, or another exam, or a research paper.
A purple gel pen flew across the room, hitting the opposite
wall. "This sucks!" Two heads popped up from school books to glance
at Jubilee, now scowling at the set of questions in front of her. "I
mean, they're mad at each other, so why do we have to suffer?"
Kitty shrugged, "Because they're the adults and we have to do what
they say. Now shut up and let me finish studying."
"That doesn't make it right," muttered Jubes as she went to retrieve
her pen. At the rate Scott and Jean were going, Jubes considered
herself lucky if she actually graduated for with each pop quiz and
exam, her grade steadily declined.
How long can a couple continue the charade before growing weary of
it? Two weeks? Three? Four weeks and 3 days, in Scott and Jean's
case. She was walking out of her office, balancing a cup of coffee
and several stacks of files, he coming back from the hangar, and
neither one paying any attention to where they were going. Jean
backed up into Scott causing the coffee to spill over the files and
"Shit!" Jean dropped the files and shook the drops of coffee from
Scott reached for her hand and though her first instinct was to pull
away from him, Jean allowed him to. The doctor became the patient,
if only for a brief few moments.
"You okay?" Scott wasn't referring to just her hand but the past 4
weeks. Four weeks and 3 days.
"It stings a little."
Both were speaking in the same code, treading close to that line
they'd drawn in front of each other, cautiously drawing nearing,
sniffing the air like two wary animals.
"Are you doing anything for lunch?" The files and the coffee mug lay
scattered on the floor in front of them creating a broken line of
wet soggy papers.
"Nothing that can't be rescheduled," she admitted.
"Lunch in front of the lake around 12:30?"
"I'd like that," Jean smiled genuinely- not the forced smile she'd
constructed over the past month.
Scott lingered to help gather the wet papers before reluctantly
leaving to prepare lunch. Neither had uttered that one simple word,
at least not out loud. They didn't need to. The line had been
erased. And the silence that lingered over them as they stared out
over the lake was an easy, comfortable one.