When somethings hard to talk about, it only gets
harder the longer you put it off. Thats a lesson I
should have learned long before this.
Logan was right and I was wrong. I should have told
Jean at the outset that he and I were lovers. I
realized that now, but the realization had come too
late. Waiting had only made it harder to say
anything. Id let I dare not wait upon I would
and it hadnt worked any better for me than for the
poor cat in the adage. It had only consolidated the
distance between us, only left me feeling like I was
Id told Logan I was putting it off for her sake, but
I think now it was for my own. I didnt want to
disappoint her more than I already had; I didnt want
to have to face her sadness. I didnt want her to
feel like Id betrayed her. Maybe I didnt want to
face the fact that I had betrayed her. After all, as
Id said to Logan, it would be harder news for her to
hear I was involved with him than it would have been
had it been anyone else.
It would have been harder news, I mean. It wasnt
news at all. It was a moot point now. There was no
reason to tell Jean about Logan and me, since there
was no Logan and me, not any longer. Logan wasnt
willing to have anything to do with me. Id tried to
tell him that hed misinterpreted what was happening
with Jean-Paul, but he wouldnt listen. Logan! Id
said as soon as we were alone, It wasnt what you
How do you know what I think?
Oh come on. You were looking daggers at me and
Its nothing to me what you do with him. Or anybody
Im not doing anything with him. He was showing me
the transmitter Hank made him.
Hedve been showing you a lot more than that if I
Believe me, Logan. Im telling you the truth:
nothing was happening. I tried to put my arms around
him but he stalked off.
And that was pretty much that. Northstar and Pyro
left the next day, off looking for Magneto. Their
part of the mission was to find him and infiltrate,
convincing him they were joining the Brotherhood and
finding out what his plans were and why he needed that
We were continuing the investigation on this end, too.
Logan was in on all the team meetings and spoke to me
as necessary when we needed to talk about a mission.
But that was all. I tried to get through to him for a
few days before I gave up. I looked for him every
chance I could to speak to him alone following him
to the Danger Room, to his bedroom. I found him at
the pool at night. It didnt matter where he was he
wouldnt speak to me, wouldnt touch me, wouldnt
listen to me. When I tried to make him listen, he
left. Logan made clear that outside of team business
he was going to have nothing to do with me. I dont
know who he was spending his time with, but he was out
a lot, particularly at night. I didnt ask where he
went. As hed said, we had no claim on each other.
On the team, though, he was still a full participant.
I dont know if anyone noticed the tension between us,
but I did my best not to let it show and I think he
did, too. Charles had no reason to warn me again that
we needed Logan, so Id best not alienate him. He was
fully an X-Man.
Jean was working up to being fully on the team, too.
She wasnt yet involved in combat missions, but she
was in on team meetings and taking on some
assignments. She volunteered to go to the zoo and
talk to the veterinarians and zookeepers in order to
find out what we could about the animal Magneto had
snatched. Her medical background and ability to pass
for normal made her the obvious choice. I didnt want
her going alone, though. She said shed be fine, but
I couldnt be sure. I insisted that Logan accompany
her, for protection. He had no objections. When it
came to X-Men missions, he was listening to me.
I took Jean aside after the meeting where it was
decided that she and Logan would continue the
investigation by going to the zoo. Id decided that I
needed to make up for my silence, as much as I could
at this point. Can we talk? I asked. She nodded
but said nothing.
We walked to the enclosed garden. I felt it was time,
past time, to tell Jean some of what Id gone through,
to make clear to her the changes Id undergone, to
apologize for disappointing her. There was no
relationship to disclose, no involvement with Logan,
but I felt like there was still much more to say to
her than just Its over and Im sorry.
I dont know how to begin, I told her, sitting next
to her on a bench, but I feel like I have to tell you
some of what went on when you were... gone.
Im not sure I want to hear about it. At least not
all of it. She turned away.
Fair enough. Ill try not to over-share. I took a
deep breath. I... I never lied to you, Jean. You
knew I was gay from the start. I wasnt hiding
anything. I thought I could marry you, live that kind
of life. I hoped I could, anyway. I tried for so
long. I loved you so much I thought I could do it.
She didnt say anything. I continued. When you
were... gone, when I thought you were lost to us, I
was devastated. You can ask anyone. I totally fell
apart. In the middle of a class, even.
That got a response. Hard to imagine Scott Summers
out of control, she said, half a smile on her face.
It happened. I thought my life was over. Well, it
was. The life we planned together was over. But over
time, well, I knew my whole life wasnt over. You
were gone, but I was still here. And I had to think
more about what I wanted to do with the rest of my
time. So much of my energy had gone for so long into
denying who I am, into hiding from who I am. I dont
think I realized just how much effort Id put into
that until some of the weight of grief and loss
started to lift. It took a long time, but I came to
feel like what we did what we tried to do it was a
mistake. I looked at her. Her face was turned away
still, but I could see a tear on her cheek. I stopped
talking, but she gestured to me to continue. An
honest mistake, a sincere mistake, a loving mistake.
I remembered describing my relationship with Jean to
Logan, using almost those exact words. But still a
And now she was looking at me, tears in her eyes. I
believed you could do it, she said.
I believed you could do anything.
And then I let her in. The mental shields Id kept in
place since she came back first under Phoenix
control, then as herself came down and I let Jean
into my brain for the first time since Alkali Lake. I
let her feel all my sadness at hurting her, but all my
resolve to be myself my own queer self as well.
She smiled a bit through the tears. You really did
try, she said. I know it. I guess there are some
things that even you cant control.
Can we be friends again? I asked.
She shook her head. Maybe someday. Im not ready
for that yet. She started crying again as she got up
and left the garden.
Jean and Logan went to the zoo the next day. Between
interviewing the staff and Jean surreptitiously
examining some of them telepathically, we found out a
lot. There was no doubt that the gorilla Magneto had
taken was a mutant. Mutant animals were rare, but had
been identified a few times always primates. The
X-gene on this gorilla seemed to just be beginning to
activate. It wasnt clear yet what its powers were,
but it seemed to be something that frightened the
other gorillas. None of the other animals would go
near it. The veterinary and zookeeper staff were
being very cautious. None of them had touched the
animal without protective gloves. But the baby
gorilla had touched one of the attendants on the face
while hed been feeding it. They found him
unconscious on the floor.
None of his colleagues had seen it happen, Jean told
us at a team meeting after she and Logan got back.
Their working hypothesis is that the animal has
super-human strength. Or super-gorilla strength, I
suppose, shed added, to chuckles from all assembled.
But he doesnt remember being hit by the gorilla.
And theres not a mark on him, Logan had added. He
doesnt look like a guy whod been in a fight with a
gorilla, even a baby one.
Rogues powers. I was the one who said it but the
whole team had come to the same conclusion.
Charles added, And we know what Erik used Rogue for
before to power his mutagenic machine. Could he be
trying to build a new one?
Maybe, Id replied. Maybe he figured out what was
faulty about it, why it killed Senator Kelly. Maybe
hes ready to try again, that hes perfected it so it
doesnt kill the mutants it makes.
Or maybe he doesnt care if it kills them, was
I paused. We should tell Northstar and Pyro, let
them know what theyre looking for.
But we couldnt. Jean-Paul had contacted us a few
times, with brief messages saying that their attempts
to find Magneto and the Brotherhood hadnt borne
fruit. And then once, the day before Jean and Logan
had gone to the zoo, saying that they thought theyd
found him. Hed warned then that he might not be able
to contact us for a while, but Id hoped wed hear
Days stretched into a couple of weeks, though, without
any contact. If Magneto was planning a new assault on
the non-mutant population, trying to use that mutant
gorilla to power his device, we didnt know where he
was planning to launch it from or how. I hoped
Jean-Paul and Johnny had successfully infiltrated and
were gaining the intelligence we didnt have, but the
longer we heard nothing from them the more worried I
was. Should we activate the homing device? I asked
Charles, two weeks after the last contact wed had.
Not yet, he answered. Im worried, too, Scott,
hed added, but I dont know if using it would
endanger Jean-Paul. He can activate it himself if he
needs us. If we do, theres a good chance Magneto
will realize whats going on.
Jean pulled me aside after the meeting, but it wasnt
to talk about Jean-Paul. I didnt know what she
wanted but I was just glad that Jean seemed to want to
spend time with me. So when she asked if I were free
to go for a walk after dinner, I said yes
immediately and then cleared my schedule to make it
Things had been better lately. I do think talking to
her that time in the garden had helped, even if it
felt like it was just making things worse right when
it happened. I hadnt seen much of her since that
day, but when I did she didnt seem unhappy in my
presence. In fact, she seemed much more engaged both
with me and with the rest of the team, more involved
with the others. Id see her on the grounds or at
meals, with Logan or Storm, speaking animatedly and
much more like her old self. Although still not back
to combat duty, Jean was very actively participating
in team meetings and using her knowledge, skill, and
mutant powers in our efforts to find and thwart
Jean was pleasant to me in meetings, engaged in
conversations that included me at meals, and generally
seemed to be treating me like a colleague, and maybe a
friend. But this was the first time she sought me out
to speak privately since that day in the garden. It
gave me some hope that we could begin healing the rift
We strode around the grounds a bit, just talking about
school and team business. Im going to teach summer
term, she said. Hank wants to just work on his
research and I figure with half the school going
home for the holidays its a good way to ease back
Its a great idea, I replied. There are plenty of
courses in the fall to keep both you and Hank busy.
If you decide you want to keep teaching, that is.
I do. Im sure I do. I want to get back to normal,
back to work. Ive spoken to Brad Langer in Yonkers
about going back to the clinic, too. And Ill be
ready to be back on the team soon, too completely
including combat missions. Im sure of it.
I dont want to rush you.
I know. Youve been great. Its helped Ive felt
like everyone has really been so understanding. Its
made a difference. Ive felt welcomed, wanted, but
not pushed. Theyve all followed your lead, Scott.
I know how hard this has all been for you. Looking
at her expression, I added, Well, I guess not really.
I dont suppose any of us can. But I appreciate that
it has been extremely traumatic. I want to help. I
dont want to make things worse.
I know. I mean it youve been great. And I really
do want us to, well, to be friends again. I thought
we should talk a bit, clear the air. I know I wasnt
so receptive to it when you tried, but Ive been
thinking about what you said a lot. I want us to try
to find a way to kind of move on, you know?
I nodded. I appreciate that. Really. Neither of
us said anything for a minute. Jean, I said,
finally. I didnt want to hurt you. But I did; I
know that. I want to take responsibility for it, do
what I can. But... well, I didnt know how not to
hurt you, if that makes any sense.
She nodded. Yeah, it makes sense. Look, Ive
thought a lot about it, about what we were trying to
do. Some of the time Ive felt really mad, felt like
you were just using me to play straight, like I was
just your beard. Thats the term, right?
I nodded. It wasnt like that, really. Im not
saying that that wasnt part of it wanting to be
respectable, acceptable, living a straight life. But
a whole lot of it was loving you. You have to believe
I do. I dont think I ever really doubted it. Its
just well, realizing it was over and thinking youre
probably going on to some happy life with some guy and
Im just on my own... I got a little bitter
sometimes. But Im over that, I think. I know what
we had was something real not just a sham so you
could look straight. We shared so much, had so much
going for us. Love, respect, common experiences.
Shared purpose and vision. It was easy to lose sight
of why it couldnt work. I started to speak, but she
continued. And if your motives were mixed, well so
were mine. Id been hurt too many times by guys who
didnt really care about me. You you were my
friend. I knew you cared; I knew youd take care of
me. I may have been the safe choice for you, but you
were the safe choice for me. We both should have
known better than to play it safe.
I laughed. Hey, maybe we just needed to have some
safe zone in our lives, what with Charles sending us
out to almost get killed all the time.
She laughed, too. It felt good sitting, talking,
laughing together. I said so.
Me, too, she said. When alls said and done; when
its all over well, all the stuff we liked about
each other is still there, isnt it? We were friends
long before we were lovers. I want to be your friend
Nothing would make me happier.
And I felt happy. Relaxed, comfortable with her.
Until she asked me, Are you... well, involved with
I shook my head. No, not really. I was, or at least
I thought we were going to be... whatever. It didnt
work out, I guess. At least thats how it looks
Im sorry, Scott. She hesitated, as if not sure
whether to say more. I think I know a little of what
went on. Not everything, but I know who it was. I
saw you together sometimes. Plus, I read his mind, so
I knew he was interested in you. I was surprised to
hear this I know Charles had taught Logan how to use
mental shields, and my impression had been that he was
careful not to allow telepaths in his mind without his
Jean continued. I didnt mean to he broadcasts
something awful when hes around you. Someone should
teach him about mental shields.
Jean, I dont know what to
Its okay. You dont have to talk to me about it.
And no, Jean-Paul hasnt said anything, either. Just
blushed when I asked him right before he left with
Johnny. She looked down. Im sorry it didnt work
out. And now, with him off on a mission, well... I
hope you didnt part badly.
No, I mean it. I know, he and I always kind of
clashed, but that doesnt mean I wish him ill. And I
want you to be happy. So, if its what you want,
being with him...
Its not. Youve got it all wrong.
Im sorry. I shouldnt have brought him up. I
didnt know what to say. She continued before I had a
chance to figure that out and answer. Ive been
seeing someone myself.
Great! I said, perhaps a little too heartily. Im
glad to hear it. I had no idea.
Well, its kind of new. And Im trying to keep a low
profile. You know how this place can be such a fish
bowl. But I didnt want you finding out from someone
I appreciate that. Umm, is it serious?
She paused in thought. I dont know. No, not yet.
Its too early to say it is. But I kind of hope it
will be. Hes... different. Special. But maybe not
cut out for a serious relationship. Still, maybe he
could, if he really wanted to. I just know I love
being with him. She touched my arm and looked right
at me. Dont tell anyone, please. Dont even let
him know that you know.
Hes someone I know.
Mofic Website: http://mo.fandomnation.com/fic/
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