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"A Word in Private" (1/1) Scott/Jean [PG] X1

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  • Seema
    Title: A Word in Private Author: Seema (seemag1@yahoo.com) Summary: Set before the first movie, Scott checks on Jean. Rating/warning & pairing (if
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 7, 2003
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      Title: A Word in Private
      Author: Seema (seemag1@...)
      Summary: Set before the first movie, Scott checks on Jean.
      Rating/warning & pairing (if applicable):) Scott/Jean
      Archive: The story is already at XMFF and on my website
      (http://seema.org/fanficindex.html). Anywhere else, please ask.

      Disclaimer: A tip of the hat to Marvel Comics as they aren't mine.

      Author's Note: A response to Minisinoo's challenge to write Scott
      and Jean fic which "involves thinking about relationships in the day-
      to-day, and the challenges of maintaining them ... and the fun of
      being in one." This one is set about a week or so before the first X-
      Men movie.


      The door was slightly ajar, but Scott Summers knocked anyway.


      He poked his head in. "Got a minute for me?"

      Jean Grey looked up, a slow smile spreading across her face at the
      sound of his voice. With a sigh, she shoved back her chair and rose.

      "Always," she said, coming towards him. "You're a sight for sore

      "I thought you could use a break." Scott handed Jean a cup of coffee
      and a muffin. She took both gratefully. Scott glanced at her desk;
      it was piled high with notebooks, folders and various medical
      texts. "How's it going?"

      Jean sank back into her chair while Scott took the one opposite her.
      He waited while Jean took a sip of coffee.

      "Perfect," she said after a moment, her hands still cupped around
      the steaming mug. "I needed that."

      "I'm sorry I couldn't make it down here earlier," Scott said. Given
      that finals were right around the corner, for once, the students
      were taking advantage of Scott's office hours and asking him
      questions, by all rights, they should have asked much, much earlier
      in the semester. "I was absolutely swamped."

      "It's all right, I understand. Besides," Jean said, "I'm not sure I
      would have welcomed the distraction before now." She pointed to a
      blue folder on her desk. "I finally polished my statement. I think I
      must have spent at least five hours on the conclusion itself. I want
      to strike the right tone, you know? Not too belligerent, but not too
      soft either." She sighed. "Now, I'm just trying to anticipate all of
      the questions they might throw at me and writing down my possible
      responses. I want to be prepared for all eventualities."

      "You look exhausted," Scott said softly. "When was the last time you
      saw sunlight?"

      "Don't ask," she said, taking a bite of the muffin. Scott knew Jean
      had been working non-stop for nearly twelve hours reviewing the
      latest research in mutant genetics in preparation for her testimony
      in front of Congress, scheduled for the following week; he was also
      aware that Jean had stopped working only once to give the Professor
      a status report on her progress. Scott rose from his seat and
      circled around the desk and pulled Jean to her feet.

      "I am glad to see you, Summers," she said wearily as she stepped
      into his embrace. Scott kissed her lightly on the forehead and then
      drew her over to the sofa. She snuggled against him and Scott
      relaxed, loving the feel of Jean against him. It was quiet times
      like this when he could really appreciate how well they fit
      together, how they complemented each other. He appreciated the
      calmness and balance she brought to his life and the way she -- and
      only she -- could make him feel.

      "I talked to the Professor a few minutes ago," Scott said. He
      stroked Jean's hair lightly with his fingers. "He didn't sound
      optimistic. His sources seem to think there's a good chance the
      Mutant Registry Bill is going to get the votes it needs to pass in
      Congress. There are a couple of swing votes, a couple of senators
      who may be persuaded to go either way."

      Jean nodded. "I'm aware of that. The President has already indicated
      he will sign the bill if it ends up on his desk."

      "It's a lot of pressure for you, Jean." He eyed her carefully.

      She wove her fingers in with his. "I can handle it, Scott."

      "I know you can."

      "It's no different than presenting a paper at a medical conference
      and I've done that plenty of times with great success," Jean said.
      She twisted around so that she was leaning against the other
      armrest. Scott gently reached for her feet, removed her shoes and
      started massaging her soles. Jean inhaled. "That feels good. God,
      Scott, thank you."

      "It's the least I can do for the cause," he meant it as a light-
      hearted remark, but he knew as well as Jean that her testimony
      before Congress would be possibly one of the most serious things
      she'd ever done or, for that matter, ever do. If the bill passed and
      mutants started registering, it would be very difficult to overturn
      the legislation. The quiet life that he had grown accustomed to at
      Xavier's School for the Gifted would be over and Scott knew it would
      be impossible for the students, most of them adolescents just coming
      to terms with their newly emerging mutations, to adjust properly if
      they also had the added burden of registering their very existence
      with the government. The safe haven Charles Xavier had built would
      be destroyed and Scott, as one of Xavier's first pupils and leader
      of the X-Men, was determined that that wouldn't happen; it went
      without saying that Jean shared his feelings on the subject.

      He looked at Jean; her eyes were half-closed and her hair was
      slipping out of its loose ponytail. She was wearing jeans and a t-
      shirt beneath her lab coat; she'd probably put the coat on out of
      habit more than anything else as she hadn't worked in the lab or the
      infirmary since she'd started the arduous process of preparing for
      her testimony before the Senate. He could see the strain in the
      corners of her eyes, the thin line of her lips, and in the tightness
      of her jaw.

      "Hey," Scott said gently. "Talk to me." At the sound of his voice,
      Jean opened her eyes.


      "You might feel like you've got to put up a brave front for all of
      *them* --" he pointed towards the office door "-- but this is *me*,
      Jean. You can tell me what's going on. The amount of work you're
      putting into this--" he paused, trying to think of what his next
      words ought to be "-- you're *not* fine, are you, Jean?"

      Jean stared off into space for a minute, her eyes growing brighter
      by the second. She blinked furiously and returned her gaze to
      Scott's face.

      "It's all right," he said softly. He reached across to gently wipe
      his thumb across the spot of moisture just below her left eye. "Let
      it go, Jean."

      She shook her head. "I'm sorry."

      "There's no need to apologize," Scott said. He watched Jean
      intently. "This is hard on you, I understand that."

      Jean nodded sadly. "I've been trying to convince myself that it's
      nothing more than a medical conference," Jean said softly, "but the
      reality is that it *isn't*. Those senators *want* to know who we
      are, what we can do, where we are..."

      "And you'll be able to answer all of those questions ably," Scott
      said earnestly. "You're a medical doctor, Jean. You know this stuff
      cold and I *know* that you can *do* this. Something like this is a
      walk in the park for someone with your credentials." He was slightly
      exaggerating now, but he knew that with her stellar preparation
      under her belt, Jean would do fine when it came to questions on the
      medical and scientific data; after all, she was one of the smartest
      people he knew. However, he knew that the emotional and *personal*
      angle of the testimony would be much more difficult to handle; for
      that reason, he didn't envy her at all.

      "Dr. Jean Grey, MD, and mutant," Jean said. A note of humor underlay
      her tone. "Yeah, definitely can't think of anyone else better suited
      to go and stand in front of one hundred belligerent anti-mutant

      "Not *all* of them are going to vote for the bill." At least, Scott
      thought, he *hoped* that there were a few left in the Senate who
      might be friendly towards mutants.

      "No, but most of them are. You already talked to the Professor so
      you do know what the odds are. If I fail, Scott, I'll be letting the
      Professor down, the students, *you*--" Jean's voice trailed off.

      "You're not going to fail."

      Jean bit her lip and nodded, but he could tell she didn't believe

      "The Professor, all of the students, you, Storm, Hank, you're all
      depending on me," Jean said. She shook her head. "I'm afraid of what
      will happen if things don't go the way we want them to." She stared
      at Scott. "What if the outcome has already been decided? What if the
      testimony is simply a formality? Regardless, if the bill passes, it
      goes without saying that it'll affect us all and I'm afraid you will
      blame me." Jean seemed startled at her own words. "Wow, I actually
      said it."

      "That's not going to happen, Jean."

      "This is what makes it hard." She made an attempt at a smile. "Your
      faith, everyone's *utter* faith in me. It makes it difficult to talk
      about the possibilities, the 'what ifs'."

      Scott inhaled sharply. Jean had a point; no one in the school had
      talked about anything *but* the successful defeat of the Mutant
      Registration Act. The passage of said bill had not even been
      mentioned in recent days, probably because none of them were ready
      to accept the cold reality of what that would mean for all of them.
      He finally understood what Jean was going through with perfect
      clarity and he cursed himself for not even *considering* that Jean
      could very well be caught within a catch-22 situation. And he had
      never even *asked* her. "You're right, Jean. I'm sorry."

      "It's not your fault," she said. "I don't want to think about
      failure either but --" she waved her hand, indicating the office "--
      stuck in here with all of the most recent medical findings, I
      somehow *can't* think of anything else." Jean took a deep breath. "I
      have one thing going for me: I'm not sure that many of the senators
      know I'm telepathic or telekinetic," she said slowly. "I'm simply
      testifying as an expert in the field of mutant genetics under the
      umbrella of the Genetically Enhanced Rights Association."

      "Which is what *you* are. An expert, that is," Scott said. "I think
      it's to our benefit that you're not an 'obvious' mutant. You have a
      chance of convincing them without having to worry about overcoming
      any pre-conceived notions," Scott said. He pointed to his red-quartz
      sunglasses, the ones which protected the world around him from the
      optic blasts his eyes produced; when the sunglasses were removed and
      Scott's eyes opened, he had the ability to punch holes through
      objects, not to mention human beings. "One look at me and people
      *know*." He couldn't help but keep the bitterness out of his voice.
      He'd long ago accepted the fact that he was 'different', that he had
      a power that needed to be controlled tightly, but he also was very
      aware of just how intolerant people could be.

      "And what is it that they know, Scott?" Jean asked softly. She drew
      her legs beneath her and leaned towards him. Scott shifted his
      position, drawing Jean down to him so that her head rested on his
      chest. He tightened his arm around her. "They don't know how good
      you are with the students, how capable you are, and the amount of
      control you maintain to prevent from hurting anyone else." She
      reached up to caress his cheek; her fingers were still rough from
      working long hours in the lab, but he didn't care. "You are so much
      more than your mutation, Scott."

      "But none of that matters to Congress."

      "No," Jean said, "no, it doesn't." Her fingers curled into a
      fist. "But I'll make them see that *we* are people too, with dreams
      and aspirations and lives of our own. Passing this bill will take
      all of that away from us."

      Scott was pleased to hear the determination in Jean's voice;
      occasionally, despite her obvious intelligent and various academic
      accomplishments, she could still be insecure, especially when it
      came to mutant matters. Her own telepathy was mostly shielded until
      the time came when the Professor deemed she could handle the
      cacophony of voices in her head and she struggled to move objects
      bigger than a bread box. In time, Scott knew that Jean would grow
      into her own powers, but he understood that the effort frustrated
      her and that her empathy with students was not feigned; she really
      did understand their struggle because it was the same as hers.

      *The same as yours.* Jean twisted slightly so she could look at

      He smiled at her. *Touché.*

      *That's better.* He loved the way her mental giggle tickled at his
      mind. In the twelve hours Jean had locked herself in her office, he
      hadn't really felt the touch of her mind against his. The link was
      still there and he could occasionally feel her exhaustion through it
      and the occasional grunt of frustration, but she hadn't seemed to be
      aware of him, or of anyone else. Until this moment, he hadn't
      realized just how *much* he had missed not only Jean's physical
      presence, but her mental one as well. *I'm sorry. When this is all
      over, I'll make it up to you.*

      "It's okay," Scott whispered. He gently caressed her
      cheek. "Preparing for your testimony is much, much more important
      than me. I'll still be here when you're done."

      "I know," Jean said. She hugged him fiercely. "Thank you."

      They sat there in silence and after a few minutes, Scott realized
      Jean had fallen asleep. He kissed the top of her head lightly and
      then holding her still, he leaned his head against the back of the
      sofa, closing his eyes as well.

      ~ the end
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