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FIC: Phantom Pain (Unspoken RR #35) [PG-13] Warren, Jean

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  • Andariel L.
    Title: Phantom Pain Author: Andariel (andariell@yahoo.com) Summary: So what happened with Warren and Jean after Scott found her living in the penthouse?
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 7, 2001
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      Title: Phantom Pain
      Author: Andariel (andariell@...)
      Summary: So what happened with Warren and Jean after Scott found her living in
      the penthouse? Begins concurrent with and ends slightly after Min's "Trying"
      Codes: Warren, Jean, AU
      Rating: PG-13 (on the plus side for bad language)
      Disclaimer: Not mine, though I do have much fun playing with them.
      Archive: Lists, jenn's Indulgence, Muse's Fool.
      A/N: This has been niggling me for a while, and I finally finished it. Not
      earth shattering, but necessary (at least to me).
      Thanks to: Min for dropping a little something in "Trying" that made me *need*
      to write this. That fic was... <sighs> I have no words to describe how much I
      loved it. Also to jenn, who thought I got Warren right, which was a great
      relief -- Thanks for the preview, chica!
      Feedback: Would go well with my hot chocolate and cake. <g>

      *******************************************************

      Warren watched Jean pace the floor while he tried to determine what to say to
      her. She was biting down on her thumbnail as she walked, apparently too deep in
      her own thoughts to share them with him. She'd been in constant motion ever
      since Scott had walked out the door. Either pacing as she was now, or sitting
      in a chair fidgeting -- tapping her foot, sipping her wine, thrumming her
      fingers on the glass she held as if it were a talisman that could resolve the
      chaotic mix of thoughts in her mind.

      Warren suppressed a sigh and rubbed at the taut muscles in his neck. He'd been
      in the same place on the couch during her entire frenzy of motion. Where she
      dealt with the tension through the physical expression of it, Warren had
      internalized his and remained stationary. He wondered if she had any idea how
      like Scott she was in that need to do something, anything really, when her
      emotions ran high.

      Realizing that watching her pace was putting him even more on edge, his eyes
      slid to the dining room table. The formerly appetizing Lobster Newburg and
      asparagus tips almandine that he'd had catered now lay gathering dust motes and
      becoming an inedible mess. Neither of them had felt like eating after that
      scene with Scott.

      Bloody fucking hell. That *look* on Scott's face. His expression and body
      language had said more than he did. Warren knew that he'd wanted to believe
      them when they had explained the situation to him. But Warren didn't need to be
      a telepath to read Scott's lack of faith as plain as day, because he knew the
      signs intimately -- the stiff posture, the little tick in his jaw muscle, the
      hands clasped tightly behind his back. Scott had tried to accept that they
      weren't doing anything more than sharing a roof, but some part of him didn't.

      And damn him if *that* wasn't irritating as all hell. Warren was used to not
      being believed at times -- he had enough a sense of himself to realize that it
      wasn't wholly undeserved, considering his propensity for bending the truth when
      it suited his purposes. But to be doubted when he was telling the truth, by
      Scott of all people, who knew better than anyone how to determine when Warren
      was fabricating a story for show... well, that was enough to give him a bit of
      self righteous anger.

      They hadn't *done* anything -- well, nothing outside that brief but unbelievably
      stirring kiss in the shelter. Warren shifted remembering it. The soft lips
      that had trembled against his, clinging for the most fleeting of moments before
      they both backed away. Such an innocuous kiss shouldn't have left such an
      impression, but it had.

      Giving himself an internal shake, Warren glanced over at her again. Still
      pacing, still rhythmically clamping her teeth down on her nail. He'd tried to
      talk to her several times but had received nothing more than one word responses,
      if anything at all. A flare of irritation at his absent best friend hit him.
      Christ, Scott. Finally had her relatively calm and you had to show up.
      Appropriate timing was never your strong suit, pal.

      That thought brought on the musing of what *would* have been appropriate timing.
      After he'd had a chance to tell Scott that Jean was staying with him
      temporarily? Certainly would have been better than what *had* happened -- Scott
      showing up to ask for his help in locating Jean only to see her walking out of
      the wine locker with a nice bottle of German Trocken Riesling in her hand.
      Innocent they were, but Warren had felt like he'd been caught at something, like
      a kid with his hand in the cookie jar.

      Now, the "cookie" was drinking down an expensive bottle of wine like it was
      water, and he was trying to figure out why he'd felt so damned guilty when he'd
      done precious little to earn the emotion. Scott Summers and Charlie Xavier were
      members of the elite few who were capable of raising self-censure in Warren. A
      fact he was none too pleased about at the moment, but he had to wonder if that
      misplaced shame had somehow been apparent, and if that may have been the cause
      of Scott's presumption.

      Chicken -- egg. Egg -- chicken. Quit analyzing, Worthington. Do something
      about the redhead before she bolts again.

      Warren flexed his wings slightly as he leaned forward to rest his elbows on his
      knees. "That's a rather nice rug you're wearing a path into."

      Jean pulled her hand from her mouth and looked over at him, then down at the
      hand-woven Aubusson under her feet. She walked around the sofa and resumed
      pacing on the hardwood floor, started worrying her thumbnail again after
      muttering "Sorry," in a distracted tone.

      Warren sighed as he pressed to his feet and crossed to the dining table. "A
      telepath should be able to tell when a person is joking, don't you think?"

      Jean stopped pacing and glanced over at him mutely for a second, then laughed
      when she picked up the dry humor in his tone. "I suppose you're right. But it
      is a lovely carpet. No need to abuse it."

      Warren smiled sardonically as he retrieved the abandoned plates from the table.
      "Believe me, that rug has taken more offensive abuse than your size eights could
      dish out." With plates in hand, he turned toward the kitchen, making a head
      gesture in the direction of the floor. "If you look closely enough, you can
      still make out a faint Merlot colored stain, courtesy of one of Candy's fits."

      Warren heard her speak as he reached the sink with the laden plates. "And Candy
      would be...?"

      Warren chuckled as he scraped the congealed seafood and asparagus formerly known
      as a gourmet meal off the plates and into the garbage disposal. "That's right.
      You haven't met her, have you?" He let the water run and flipped a switch on
      the wall. The machinery churned quietly for a minute before he turned it off
      and faced her again, leaning his hips against the edge of the counter. "Candace
      Southern. Heiress, spoiled rotten, quick to temper and slow to apologize.
      We're ... involved. On and off."

      She tilted her head curiously at him. "Really? Which is it currently?"

      Warren turned and rinsed the plates while he considered the question. The pause
      wasn't for effect -- he seriously needed to think so he could recall how they'd
      left things. He closed the water tap and placed the dishes in the drainer,
      turning to walk back toward Jean. "As I recall, it was off. She called me, and
      I quote, 'a hedonistic pig who wouldn't know good breeding if it walked up and
      slapped me in the face'. Then she slapped me and stormed out."

      A surprised giggle burst out of Jean. "She sounds like a handful."

      Warren chuckled himself, glad to see she was distracted, at least for the time
      being. "All relationships are a mine field. Candy is my personal version of
      TNT, that's all."

      The quick smile faded as she said, "He didn't believe us."

      Damn it... He'd been hoping for a little more relaxation on her part before they
      tackled the Scott issue, but here it was, and it needed to be dealt with. He
      nodded. "Picked that up myself."

      A little furrow formed between her brows, and Warren wasn't sure if that meant
      she was angry or confused. "If he's the one who's wrong, then why do I feel
      ashamed?"

      "Scott has mastered the art of inspiring guilt. He uses it to magnificent
      effect with the students. Half the time they confess to things he doesn't even
      know about because they *think* he knows." He reached out and tentatively
      placed a hand on her upper arm. She didn't flinch away, which he had to take as
      a good sign.

      She looked up at him, tired resignation in her eyes. "But *why* didn't he
      believe us? It seemed like something in him actually wanted to think we were
      lying."

      Warren took a moment to consider that. Interesting that she'd picked that up
      from Scott, or was it merely an assumption on her part? Either case... "I
      wouldn't worry about it. Scott's just wound a bit tighter than usual." And
      wasn't *that* a frightening concept, in and of itself?

      Jean sighed. "Because of me. I know I'm partly to blame for his being upset,
      but he had no right to take it out on you too, Warren. I may not be entitled to
      expect his trust, but you are. You're teammates. For Christ's sake, you're
      best friends. Why won't he believe you, if he can't believe me?"

      To give a completely honest answer to that question would be to make things
      harder on her, so Warren evaded. "It's a long story. Water under the bridge
      and all that. Scott just... he needs some time to sort things out in his head.
      He'll realize the truth."

      Warren watched her glance down and away from his eyes, taking a long sip from
      her wine glass. Then she slowly trailed a look up his chest, stopping at his
      mouth, up to meet his gaze again, something unreadable in the light brown
      depths. "Or... we could make his lie the truth. May as well burn for a witch
      instead of for a saint."

      Warren didn't move, frozen with surprise at the frankly sexual glance she was
      directing at him. "What?" Oh, how very smooth, Worthington. She'll be jumping
      into your arms any second, helpless to resist your razor sharp wit.

      The moment broken, she stepped back from him, shaking her head bemusedly. "I
      don't know what I'm doing. Fuck... I'm behaving like the prototypical scorned
      woman, and considering the circumstances, that's pretty damned amusing." She
      laughed, but there was no humor in it. "How can I be scorned by a man who I
      have no claim to? Ridiculous..."

      Warren took a step forward, stopping when she moved back to keep the distance
      between them. Fucking hell. He'd botched this amazingly well, hadn't he?
      "Jean, it's okay. I-"

      "No," she interrupted forcefully, firmly shaking her head. "I need to get my
      head on straight before I do anything else to... I'm going up on the roof for a
      while."

      Warren realized she was right to back away, for her sake if not his, but that
      didn't prevent him from regretting the way he'd handled the situation. He
      almost offered to go up with her, but she seemed to want to be alone. He
      watched her cross to the door to grab her jacket. When her hand was on the
      doorknob, he said, "Keep back from the ledge. That first step is a big one."

      She turned a glance at him over her shoulder, adding a quick, sad smile.
      "You're not going to need to come swooping down after me, I promise. I'm not
      suicidal, I just... need some fresh air."

      When the door closed behind her, Warren fetched his own full wine glass from the
      dining table and swallowed the contents in quick succession. He held up the
      empty goblet, watching the light shine off a few stray droplets clinging to the
      crystal and thinking about the telepathic doctor seeking solace on the roof.
      Playing surrogate for his hardheaded best friend in her bed shouldn't be
      appealing. And on one hand, it wasn't, but on the other...

      "Fucking hell," echoed in the empty room.

      ~*~

      Jean pushed open the access door and stalked across the roof of the building.
      God damn it! What was wrong with her?

      "Scott Summers is what's wrong with you," she muttered angrily, kicking an empty
      soda can someone had abandoned. It didn't help relieve her frustration.
      Staring at it fixedly, she levitated it in the air, then closed a mental fist
      around it, smiling with grim satisfaction when it crumbled under the force of
      her mind.

      She'd always been able to control her telekinesis ability, so why was the
      telepathy so hard to master? She'd manifested the TK when she was a teenager
      and had instinctively known how to direct the power. Jean supposed that she
      must have lost some flexibility of mind and ease of learning with age.

      She paced along the rooftop, not noticing the lights of the city around her or
      the stars in the clear night sky. Her mind turned back to what had brought her
      to the roof in the first place, and she ground her teeth. "Why do I give a good
      damn what Scott does or thinks? I haven't even *kissed* the man and I feel
      territorial..." She stopped pacing, throwing her hands out and staring up at
      the sky. "What the hell do you want from me, Scott?"

      Suddenly realizing what she was doing, Jean dropped her hands and laughed.
      "Great... now he's got me talking to myself. That Thorazine may not be a bad
      idea after all. I could use a nice padded room to bounce off for a while."

      She glanced around the roof and saw the shadowed outline of a deck chair. She
      made her way over to it and sat down, kicking the heels of her shoes against the
      resilient plastic. Leaning her head against the padded headrest sewn inside the
      back of the lounge, she looked up at the sky again. "I won't spend the rest of
      my life pining away for someone I can't have. If Scott can give up on us... on
      the chance for an us, then so can I."

      Jean closed her eyes and focused on her mental relaxation exercises. She didn't
      realize how exhausted the frustration had made her. Didn't even notice when she
      drifted off into a dreamless sleep.

      "Jean..."

      She twitched slightly, but didn't come fully awake.

      "Help me."

      Jean bolted upright on the chaise, heart pounding quickly in her chest, breath
      heaving out of her lungs. She vaguely felt tears slipping down her cheeks, but
      her thoughts were focused on one thing.

      She had to get to him. Now.

      She jumped up and raced back down to Warren's penthouse, glanced around for his
      keys but didn't see them. Rushing down the hall to his room, she knocked
      loudly, brushing tears off her cheeks while she waited impatiently.

      Warren opened the door, tying the belt of a white silk robe and looking at her
      with worry in his eyes. "Jean? What-"

      "I need your keys, Warren. I have to go to the mansion immediately."

      Warren walked out of the room and ushered her down the hall in front of him,
      blinking and rubbing his eyes as they adjusted to the light. "You need to calm
      down first. I'm not giving you the keys to a very fast car that you'll likely
      wrap around a tree in your current state. What happened?"

      Jean tried to keep her patience, but all that desperate sadness... it weighed on
      her. She was near frantic with worry. "It's Scott. I need to get to him.
      He's -"

      "Whoa there," Warren interrupted with calming patience. "I told you earlier,
      he'll come around. Just give him some time and -"

      Jean shook her head quickly. "No. It's not that. Something's very wrong with
      him, right now. He called out to me. He *needs* me. He -" She noted the look
      on Warren's face, which was painfully easy to interpret. She ran her hands
      through her hair. "Oh God... You think I've lost what was left of my mind,
      don't you?"

      Warren shook his head. "No. I don't understand this... thing between you two,
      but if you need to go to the school, I'll take you. You're not driving like
      this."

      As Jean watched Warren turn and head for his bedroom to get dressed, something
      inside her shifted. "No, Warren. Don't."

      He kept walking. "I told you, I'm not letting you get behind the wheel-"

      "No. I mean neither of us is going."

      He turned around at that, looking confused, and she explained. "I... I think I
      must have imagined it. Wishful thinking, wine, exhaustion... powerful combo to
      make a weird dream seem real."

      "You don't think it was real now?"

      Jean walked over to the window, staring out at the city lights with unseeing
      eyes. "It couldn't have been. Even if I have a particular mental sensitivity
      to Scott, it doesn't make sense that I could feel anything from him here. My
      telepathy isn't that strong or disciplined, and even the Professor needs Cerebro
      to see over a distance as far as Salem Center to Manhattan, right?"

      She glanced over her shoulder at Warren, who was leaning against the doorjamb
      between the living room and the hallway. He shrugged. "To be honest, I don't
      understand telepathy enough to give you an answer."

      Jean turned her glance back out the window. "Regardless, if Scott needed help,
      it wouldn't be from me. He has a fiancée to get back."

      "Jean..."

      She shook her head to stop him, turning to lean back against the floor to
      ceiling plexiglass that walled the penthouse. "Don't give me false assurances.
      I saw it myself in his mind."

      "When? Tonight?"

      Jean's thoughts wandered briefly to that unguarded moment with Scott back in the
      cabin. There had been so many things in his mind... about her, about Rogue,
      about all the conflicting things he wanted. "No, but I doubt anything has
      changed for him since then. He wants her back, Warren. He needs to get back
      everything he lost when I came into his life. He wants that certainty... more
      than he wants me."

      Warren didn't answer, just stared at her with an unreadable expression. Unable
      to bear looking at him anymore, she turned back to the window. "I was seven
      years and one relationship too late to have a chance with him. I see that now,
      but I can't help wondering if things could have been different if I'd been there
      first. I even made up the scenario in my mind -- my telepathy activating
      earlier, finding out about the Professor and the school, showing up at nineteen
      and being there before she was..."

      Jean shook her head and turned around again. "It could have turned out exactly
      the same. Maybe I'm just kidding myself. Maybe he would have wanted me but
      loved Marie no matter when or how I showed up."

      Jean didn't know how it happened or which of them moved first. All she knew was
      that she ended up cradled in Warren's arms, trying to cry away the mental
      anguish that still felt as horribly real as it had the second it struck her on
      the roof.

      Rationalizing it hadn't banished the specter of Scott's pain, but she hoped
      crying her eyes out might.

      ~ End ~

      *******************************************************
      The Insomniac Playground
      http://www.wolverineandrogue.com/insomniac/index.html


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