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fic: Idle Musings of a Woman at Eighty (1/1), Jean POV, semi-adult

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  • Minisinoo Girl
    This is one of my floofy-ish pieces after finishing CLIMB. Indulge me. It s really a vignette. URL posted as always, for those who prefer html. ...
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1 12:14 PM
      This is one of my "floofy-ish" pieces after finishing
      CLIMB. Indulge me. <g> It's really a vignette. URL
      posted as always, for those who prefer html.


      Summary: An old woman on good endings. L/J/S (but not
      a threesome) c. 2100 words

      Warnings: Adult subject matter.

      Notes: I wouldn't mind having the wisdom of sixty,
      the libido of thirty, the body of twenty, and the gall
      of eighty. This is my drool-over-Logan piece. And
      what *would* it be like to watch him stay the same

      Disclaimer: Marvel owns, not I.

      Sweat beads on slick skin and slides together, then
      runs in rivulets down his back and out from beneath
      his arms. I watch it. I want to lick it off, lick
      him clean like a popsickle. I wonder what his skin
      tastes like? Salt and cigars and that indefinable man

      He's not beautiful. Not in the usual
      magazine-sculpted ideal of chiseled and starved
      perfection. I slept with chiseled perfection for
      forty-one years. After a while, it loses its appeal.
      Contempt of the familiar, I suppose. This face is
      handsome, but the skin is less taut and faint lines
      bracket the mouth, crease the forehead. It's a face
      that is aging, but not old, a face in the flower of
      manhood. All the smoothness of youth has been sanded
      off by years and experience, and the eyes -�
      all-color-hazel and none �- are deep with the weight
      of things seen. He knows the underside of life, and
      its brilliance, too, the whole kaleidoscope-complexity
      of being human. It's drawn his mouth gentle and
      curved with irony.

      No, he's not a beautiful man. But he is a handsome
      one, and interesting -� which is more important. It's
      not the animal magnetism that attracted me then, nor
      attracts me now. He has that, but so do a lot of men.
      What always interested me about him was that, when I
      talked to him, he listened. And I often thought that
      if he'd made love to me, he wouldn't have rushed.
      Patience is a virtue of age.

      So I watch him a moment more from the shadow of the
      gym doorway. He's too involved in his lesson with the
      kids to have smelled me yet.

      But I can't stay hidden forever, indeterminate in the
      doorway, so I enter the room with measured steps, feel
      it as they all register my presence.

      The Grand Dame of Westchester.

      They look at me with awe, I feel it beating against
      the glass lantern of my mind like the fluttering wings
      of moths. I must be so careful with them or I would
      burn them up. I am Phoenix. Yet I am also simply me.
      Plain Jean. I don't feel so special on the inside of
      my skin, and I wonder, idly, if this is how Charles
      felt when we idolized him, so many years ago.
      Inscrutable, omniscient Professor X. Now I am the
      inscrutable, omniscient one. Senator Jean Grey. How
      funny. I wonder if these children know how I snore
      like a chain saw, or that I put ketchup on my cottage
      cheese. Scott always thought that was nuts � both the
      ketchup and the eating of cottage cheese, in the first
      place. "Live dangerously Jean," he used to say, "try
      some salsa." And I'd laugh and poke him in the belly.
      The belly got wider as he got older. But then, so
      did mine. He never did lose his hair, at least.

      Now, I make my way across the floor. 'Magestically,'
      I've heard it called. In truth, I just can't walk
      fast any more. Only one pair of eyes doesn't watch me
      with awe. There's a glint in them. *Come to keep
      tabs on me, Old Woman?*, he asks in my mind, where the
      students can't hear.

      *No. Just came to watch you sweat, Old Man.*

      *Care to lick it off later?*

      And Jesus, just which of us is the telepath here? I
      meet his eyes and shake my head faintly. Aloud, we
      speak of other things, such as the importance of
      physical exercise for mental agility. It's true
      enough. But Lord, it sounds so . . . potted. Like a
      two-bit column in a health magazine. At least Logan
      no longer must teach them how to keep themselves
      alive. Prejudice isn't dead, but it's gone to hide in
      the dark under the porch. Xavier didn't live to see
      that, but Scott did. He was among the chief
      architects of that tolerance. I was another. We two
      built a palace together on Charles' foundation, and
      God, I loved that man. Scott, not Charles.

      *I miss you, Slim.* It's the whispered litany of
      eight years, no less poignant for the passage of time
      but less sharp at the edges. I think of Scott softly
      now. We grew old together. I watched his body
      change. I watched his hair turn grey and his muscles
      go lax. And I watched him become the moral leader
      that Charles had seen inside when he'd put him in
      charge of the X-Men. Scott never held public office
      (that was me), but he did become a bit of a legend.

      Yet heros are hard to live with at home, no matter how
      much you love them. He was only ever half here. Too
      many people needed a piece of Scott and he had a bad
      habit of bringing them to bed with us at night.
      Sometimes I found myself talking to the wall of his
      ear. He lived with a mobile phone and his HP notebook
      just as much as he lived with his glasses.

      But Logan listened to me, and still does. Sometimes,
      I need to be a woman. Not a doctor. Not a
      researcher. Not a senator. Not an X-Man. And
      dammit, not a political activist's long-suffering

      Or widow.

      Sometimes I wonder if I am the Grand Dame here for me,
      or as Mrs. Scott Summers, even though I never took his
      name. That was the funniest thing of all. We just
      didn't quite get around to a wedding, woke up one
      morning and realized we'd been sleeping in the same
      bed for seven years and that was Common Law. So we
      registered it and went on with the important things in
      life. My sister asked me once if I didn't resent him
      for not marrying me formally. God knows, I resented
      him for a lot of things, but never that.

      Smiling at the thought, I wait for Logan to dismiss
      his class. Today, I feel a need to speak to someone
      who doesn't idolize me, or hate me, or want something
      from me. He walks me back towards my office �- the
      old corner office that once was Charles' and then was
      Scott's and now is mine -� and gallantly offers me his
      arm on the stairs, makes a flourish of it for humor to
      conceal the fact that without the arm, my bad knee
      would probably go out and send me crashing
      ignominiously to the bottom. Most of the time these
      days, I use the elevator.

      You're old, Jean Grey.

      My back aches when I unbend from sitting, and I have
      arthritis in my hands and knees and feet �- too many
      years of standing for hours in ridiculous heels. Now,
      I wear flats, but still look most men in the eye
      despite the shrinking of bones and a touch of
      osteoporosis. I should have drank more milk when I
      was nursing and taken my calcium like a good little
      doctor girl.

      "Is Nate arriving in time for the party?"

      "His plane gets in at four. Chris is going to pick
      his dad up. And shhh. They think it's a secret."

      He laughs. *They should know they can't keep secrets
      from a telepath.*

      *Nate IS a telepath, Logan.*

      *Then he really should know better.*

      That makes me smile. *He's Scott's son. He's
      predisposed to selective blindness.*

      *And grand gestures.*

      *That, too.*

      We've reached my office door and he opens it for me,
      ushers me in. I expect him to leave then; Logan has
      become marginally respectable in his old age and
      oversees the mansion for me. I don't trust anyone
      else to do it, even Emma. She manages the school, and
      that's enough. But this place still exists at two
      levels, and Logan manages the Underground. They used
      to tell me that I was the heart of the X-Men and Scott
      was the soul. I'm not sure what Logan is, but we
      couldn't exist without him, even when it's no longer
      necessary to save -� or fight -� the world. Maybe
      Logan has been the soul all along, and Scott was the
      mind. That makes more sense to me.

      Now, he shuts the office door and follows me towards
      my desk, stops me before I can get behind it, great
      mahogany thing that it is. My shield, my mask, my
      dignity. His hand comes down on my shriveled shoulder
      and I can smell him strong, all salt and musk and
      health. So unlike Scott in his last years with his
      persistent yeasty cough from the walking-pneumonia
      that was killing him, or the slightly sour old-man
      smell, like dirty socks in a hamper or day-old
      washcloths. It's a smell you become used to. As he
      was used to mine. The medicine astringent of Ben-Gay
      under expensive perfume, or too much stale coffee on
      my breath.

      But now, Logan stands close behind me, close enough
      that I can feel the heat of him through the Egyptian
      linen on my back. He says nothing for a moment, just
      drags his thumb gentle over the bared, wizened skin of
      my neck, as if I were still the same woman he first
      met, a woman of thirty-three, ripe and rich and
      conflicted. I'd desired him then. I'd dreamed of
      fucking him hard against a wall. But I'd loved Scott
      with everything in me, adored my beautiful, brilliant
      boy. And I chose. I never faltered, never cheated.
      And I never regretted my choice except in those
      half-way seconds between sleep and waking, or when
      Logan passed too close and I smelled that salt and
      musk and scent of wind. Like now. Bending, he kisses
      my cheek and I feel the scratch of his beard on my
      tissue-paper skin. It sends shudders through me, and
      my dry, old passage goes moist. There's still heat
      there. There's still life there, rising like my
      namesake the phoenix, though the womb has been dead
      for almost twenty-five years.

      Silly old grandmother.

      "Happy birthday, Jeannie," his whispers.

      I turn slightly, a shift of weight to move my shoulder
      out from under his hand. My chin goes up. This silly
      old grandmother still has some pride. I don't want
      his pity. I look him in the eyes and mean to say so,
      but it never gets out.

      I see my reflection there: mostly white hair with
      vestiges of auburn, a face ravaged by gravity, a
      sagging chin. The skin around my lips is stitched by
      a drawstring of lines and my eyebrows no longer arch
      like the wings of butterflies. But the eyes
      themselves belong to Phoenix. They're as black as
      coal. And seeing my eyes in his eyes, I see what he
      sees beyond the face. There is a girl inside eighty.
      And there is a boy, still, inside the unknown years of
      his own life. Bending, he kisses that girl as his
      hand runs up my side to cup the breast of a woman. He
      rubs a thumb over my nipple, which can still remember
      how to get hard. Desire spikes out through my chest
      and belly. I'm old, not dead. Then he steps back,
      lips quirking up in that self-depreciating smile.
      "I've waited a long time to do that, Red. But I'd
      better get down to the dining hall. There's a
      surprise party to prepare for, and punch to spike."

      "What?" I ask him, lifting an eyebrow. "You think you
      need to get me drunk to pass second base?"

      "Nah. But if I didn't spike the punch, Nate would
      think I'd gone soft in my old age."

      "And we couldn't have that, could we?"

      Winking, he ducks out the door, leaves me to myself.
      Maybe I should feel ashamed for what just transpired,
      but it seems senseless. Perversity is in the eye of
      the beholder. I spent most of my life in the bed of a
      man almost nine years my junior, and have still
      outlived him by almost a decade. So what if I kiss a
      man who is, I'm quite certain, at least twice nine
      years my senior? The fact that he has the body of a
      thirty-five year old is irrelevant. They say age is
      in the mind. My mind is ageless. It's my body that
      has forgotten.

      I pick up a picture from my desk. Scott, teaching
      Nathan to walk. Scott stands behind with Nate's
      little fists gripping his father's fingers as he
      toddles. In the background, almost out of the
      picture, Logan sits on a step and watches. Not with
      envy. It think it's with pride. Logan had loved
      Nate, too -� the slightly gruff old uncle. And he'd
      respected Scott. Human emotions are never shoe-box
      simplistic, tagged and stored and consistent.

      The three men in my life. Eight years ago next week,
      I buried one of them after watching him live on
      willpower alone for five years. Another is flying in
      today to see his mother turn eighty. And tonight, I
      believe I shall sleep with the third.



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