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FF: The Choice. PG-13, bordering R. (1/?)

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  • Megan
    Title: The Choice (1/?) Author: Megan Harrell, meganharrell76@hotmail.com Rating: mostly PG-13, but to be safe, some is probably bordering R. Pairings: this is
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 25, 2003
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      Title: The Choice (1/?)
      Author: Megan Harrell, meganharrell76@...
      Rating: mostly PG-13, but to be safe, some is probably bordering R.
      Pairings: this is basically a fic that involves everyone from the
      movies. There will be spoilers from the movies, I'm sure. The main
      characters are gonna be Logan and Jean, but Scott will play a heavy
      role as well; Professor X and Storm may be used quite a bit, too.
      I'm also toying with the idea of bringing in Beast and possibly
      Gambit, because I like those characters pretty well, at least from
      what I've seen in the cartoons.
      Disclaimer: The only character I own is Sydney. She's a product of
      my over-active imagination. The rest of the characters definitely
      are not mine. If they were, I'd probably be helping write the X-Men
      movies, instead of what I want to see happen in the fanfics!
      Author's Notes: I don't know how many of you have read the book X2:
      X-Men United, but this story will take place after the movie ended,
      but with a twist on the book's ending. Jean didn't die saving
      everyone, but she's not blind like she was in the book. I'll tell
      you straight up–I'm a die hard Logan and Jean fan in movie-verse
      fanfiction, so that's what I write. I was never a big fan of the
      comics or the cartoon, so I probably won't honor everything that
      happened in the comics...probably why I don't mind Logan and Jean
      based on the actors' chemistry. So if you're a big Scott/Jean fan,
      you may not like this. They won't be together romantically, but they
      will remain good friends. Sorry, that's just the kind of fics I
      write. But this isn't solely based on romance and relationships.
      There's a mission in here somewhere, I promise! Hopefully, I still
      have some people still willing to read, and without further delay,
      here's the story! Feedback is greatly appreciated–my email address
      is above. If you want to archive it somewhere, just ask me first!

      The battle at Alkali Lake had taken a toll on all of the X-
      Men. Professor Xavier was mentally worn out from the use of Cerebro
      and the allusion Jason had placed him in; Rogue was still pretty
      shaken from flying the Blackbird and crashing it; Bobby was still
      shaken by John's choice to go with Magneto; Jean was also weak
      mentally from freeing the jet and curious as to the source of her
      new power; Scott and Logan had both just witnessed the woman they
      love almost die saving them; and all the mutants were still feeling
      the effects of Stryker's plan to annihilate the mutant race.
      During the ride back, everyone was lost in their own
      thoughts and conversations. Scott had reluctantly left Jean's side
      to help Storm pilot the jet; Logan had taken a seat close to the
      front, but seeing Scott return to the pilot's seat, he walked back
      to the back to see how Jean was doing.
      "How're you doing?" he asked, touching her shoulder lightly.
      She knew he was worried about her; she didn't have to be a
      telepath to figure it out...it was written all over his face. "I'm
      okay, Logan. I'm a little confused though; I should be weaker than
      what I am, and I have no idea where all that power came from," she
      Logan sat down beside her. "Maybe you're powers are still
      developing?" he guessed.
      "I don't know; I'm hoping that in a few days the Professor
      will be well enough to help me figure it all out," she replied,
      taking his hand. "Thank you."
      He looked at their joined hands. "For what?" he asked. He
      would never understand women; not even 24 hours ago, she acted like
      she chose Scott over him, and here she was holding his hand? Or
      maybe she was just being nice and letting him down easy. Or maybe
      she really wasn't as sure about what she wanted as she let on.
      "For worrying about me," she answered. "Logan," she started
      when he kissed her hand lightly.
      "I know. `Girls flirt with the dangerous guy; they don't
      take him home,'" he said, echoing her words from the night
      before. "Don't worry, I won't make lover boy up there jealous. You
      made your decision, and I'll respect it, because I respect you."
      Jean sighed. "That's not what I was going to say, but thank
      you," she finally said. When he got up to leave, she called his
      "Yeah?" he turned back around to face her.
      "You're a good guy, too," she began, taking his hand
      again. "That's what makes this so hard."
      Logan just nodded and went back to his seat. He replayed her
      words over in his head. "You're a good guy, too. That's what makes
      this so hard." What the hell did that mean? Was that her subtle way
      of saying he still had a shot with her, that she still hadn't made
      her decision? He'd promised to back off, so how was he supposed to
      find out?
      Jean shook her head. She still wasn't sure about choosing
      between Scott and Logan. One minute she wanted the stability that
      Scott provided, but the next minute she craved the adventure and
      passion she knew Logan would give her. She was attracted to Logan in
      a completely different way than Scott; Scott was safe, and they'd
      known each other for years, but Logan on the other hand, was
      unpredictable, passionate, and everything Scott was not. She loved
      Scott and probably always would, but was she still in love with him?
      Did what she felt for Logan go beyond an innocent crush and physical
      attraction? How in the world did she find herself between a rock and
      a hard place?
      When they returned to the school, Scott stood up to face the
      students. "From what I understand, the school is pretty much
      ransacked. I want you to go ahead and report to your rooms to get a
      damage report; from there, I want you to meet up in the medlab so we
      can check to make sure everyone is okay. Go ahead and change your
      clothes into something warmer and more comfortable; be back in half
      an hour," he explained.
      As the kids left the jet, Storm stood up. "Why don't you go
      ahead and get Jean upstairs? I'll finish up here," she offered.
      "Thanks," he replied, heading for Jean.
      "Kurt, Logan, can I speak with you?" Storm requested. When
      they approached her, she continued. "Kurt, can you take the
      Professor to the medlab? I'm sure that's where Scott and Jean are
      headed, anyway, so if you hurry, you won't get lost. Logan, can you
      help me finish up here?"
      Once Kurt left with the Professor, Logan turned to her. "Why
      do I get the feeling you have an ulterior motive for asking for my
      help?" he asked.
      "Because I want to talk to you," she replied. "Jean would
      hate me for this, but I'm going to pry anyway. It's pretty obvious
      that you have a thing for her, and before you say anything, it's
      also pretty obvious that she feels something for you, too. I've
      known Scott and Jean since before they were together, and you are
      the only one who's been able to really give Scott competition for
      Jean's affections. Sure she's flirted with other guys, but she's
      always made it very clear that she's with Scott; you've managed to
      mix things up. Scott's no longer sure that she'll come back to him
      when everything's all said and done, and even Jean doesn't know what
      she's going to do. I'm not saying to up and leave again, but
      consider what will make Jean happiest. If you really love her,
      Logan, you'll let her be happy, even if it's with Scott. But if you
      do decide to leave again, at least tell her goodbye," Storm finished
      and exited the jet.
      Logan shook his head and followed her. He made his way to
      the medlab, considering what Storm had just told him. Jean had left
      him more confused than ever with her last comment about him being a
      good guy; he decided to stick around to find out what she meant by
      it, no matter what Storm said.
      By the time Logan arrived at the medlab, Scott had already
      finished getting the damage reports from the kids, and Jean–who was
      looking much better–was checking them out. Scott simply acknowledged
      Logan's presence and continued standing by Jean as she examined the
      students. Logan stood around for a few minutes before heading up to
      his room.
      "Okay, since none of you seem to have any lasting side
      effects from what happened and all of your rooms are pretty much
      unharmed, go ahead and head back up to your rooms. We'll begin
      cleaning up the campus in the morning after breakfast. We'll also
      begin contacting the students who escaped to tell them that we are
      back and the school is open again. Have a good night; if you need
      anything, come find one of us," he dismissed them.
      "How do you feel Professor?" Jean asked, making her way over
      to him.
      "Tired," he simply stated. "How are you?"
      "Better than I should be. I'm actually feeling normal again,
      not exhausted at all. Perhaps when you feel better we can talk about
      it?" she asked.
      "Yes, that would be fine," he replied, closing his eyes.
      "How is he?" Scott asked her when she walked over to where
      he was standing.
      "He'll be fine; all he needs is a lot of rest," she answered
      as Storm walked over, Kurt behind her. She brought a wheelchair
      over. "Who wants to take him to his room? There's no reason he
      should stay in here; he'll be much more comfortable and get more
      rest in his own room," she said.
      "I will, as long as someone can show me the way," Kurt
      "Okay, I'll go with you," Storm offered. Together they got
      the professor into the wheelchair and left the medlab.
      "Where's Logan? I want to find out what happened the night
      of the attack," Scott said.
      "He's probably in his room. And Scott? Be easy on him. He
      did everything he could to protect the kids and the school. It's not
      his fault some of them were taken; he was only one man trying to
      fight at least a hundred soldiers," Jean said, cleaning up.
      "Why do you constantly defend him?" Scott questioned.
      "Why do you hate him so much? Why are you so jealous of
      him?" she countered.
      "I'm not jealous..." Scott began.
      "Oh, you're not? Perhaps you can explain why you constantly
      criticize him, then? And why do you constantly try to mark your
      territory around him?" He just gave her a blank look. "Come on,
      Scott, I'm not stupid. Whenever I'm in the same room, you always
      come over to see what we're talking about. You put your arm around
      me or take my hand...something to show him that we're together."
      "I just don't like the guy, and it's obvious that he wants
      you...and in all honesty, I'm not so sure that you don't want him.
      I've seen you looking at him, Jean; I've witnessed some private
      moments, like today in the back of the jet; I heard you ask for him
      inside Stryker's base. You'd be nothing more than a prize to him;
      another pretty face that he slept with," he explained.
      "What do you want me to say, Scott?" she asked, losing her
      temper. She had tried to be patient with him, but it was beginning
      to wear thin. "What do you want to hear?"
      "The truth," he said, more aggressively than he'd intended.
      "Fine. The truth is that my attraction to Logan may be more
      than physical, and I'm questioning my relationship with you. While
      we're being honest with each other, I'll go ahead and tell you that
      I kissed Logan; it's obvious that you don't trust me, so is that
      what you wanted to hear?" she asked angrily.
      "You what?" he replied, a little too calmly.
      "You heard me. I kissed Logan; and for your information,
      he's done nothing but respect me and what I want this whole time.
      You've been giving him such a hard time, Scott, and he doesn't
      deserve it. You aren't the same man I fell in love with," she said,
      trying to calm down. "And one more thing: Logan's not treating me
      like a prize, Scott, you are. So until I'm more to you, then you can
      keep this," she slid the engagement ring off her finger and handed
      it to him.
      Scott stared at it for a moment. "Jean, wait," he started.
      "That's all I have to say to you right now. When you grow up
      a little, come talk to me," she threw over her shoulder as she left.
      She knew the last comment was especially hurtful to him because
      their age difference had always been somewhat of a touchy subject
      between them. Maybe it was juvenile of her, but she didn't regret
      saying it. He was acting like a spoiled brat and deserved to know it.
      Jean was knocking on the door to Logan's room before she
      realized what she was doing. "Maybe this was a bad idea," she said
      to herself. She turned to walk back down the hall to her room.
      "Jean?" she heard Logan call as he opened the door. She
      turned back around an offered a small smile. "You okay?" he asked
      "Yeah, I'm fine," she lied. Yes, physically she was fine,
      but emotionally she was a wreck. She took a few steps toward Logan
      before continuing. "I was just seeing if maybe you wanted to talk.
      You left from downstairs pretty quick."
      "Well, I was getting pretty sick of Pretty Boy giving me the
      evil eye for just looking at you; normally it wouldn't bother me,
      but right now I'm just not in the mood."
      Jean nodded. She knew Scott was very possessive and over-
      protective where she was concerned, and she understood to a point,
      but he was beginning to grate on her nerves with his somewhat
      childish behavior. She watched him silently a few more minutes
      before she spoke. "You know, you two are a lot alike."
      He chuckled. "You can't even begin to compare me to that
      kid. He's a very by-the-book, uptight Boy Scout, and
      I'm...well...not. I'm impulsive and take things as they come. No
      need fretting over tiny things like some guy looking at my
      girlfriend; either the trust is there, or it's not. Just how much
      does he trust you Jean? If he knew you were with me right now, would
      he be worrying about what we're doing, or would he be confident that
      you wouldn't do anything behind his back with me?"
      "Well, he's definitely no longer confident, and his trust in
      me has probably taken a massive hit." When she saw Logan's confused
      look she continued with, "I told him about last night."
      "About that...I'm sorry; it was all my fault for kissing
      you, and if you want, I'll explain the whole thing to Scott," Logan
      apologized. "I stepped over the line, and I'm sorry."
      "It's not all your fault. I'm as guilty as you are; more so,
      actually. I was flirting with you last night and I didn't push you
      away. I kissed you back and Scott was the farthest person on my
      mind. All I was thinking about was you, and that scares me, Logan,"
      she admitted.
      "There are several reasons; number one being that I'm
      supposed to be engaged to Scott...or at least I was at the time."
      "Were? As in you're not engaged anymore? What happened?" he
      "I was just tired of dealing with his stupid jealousy that I
      told him about last night. I told him it was obvious he never really
      trusted me in the first place and that he was treating me like a
      prize. I gave him back his ring and told him to come talk to me when
      he grows up a little," she shrugged, angry at herself for letting a
      few stray tears fall down her cheeks.
      "Hey, come here," he said, wiping away her tears and pulling
      her into a hug. "If he can't see that you're more than a prize, then
      he doesn't deserve you."
      He really is a good guy, she thought. She let him hold her a
      few more minutes before pulling away. "I should probably go; Scott
      will be waiting for me in our room, and I expect to have another
      fight over who's moving out."
      "You don't have to, you know. You could stay in here, and
      I'll sleep on the floor," he offered.
      "Thanks, but I'm not kicking you out of your bed. Besides, I
      should go ahead and get it over with. And Logan? None of this is
      your fault. My relationship with Scott has been in trouble for
      awhile now; you just helped me realize it, and for that, I thank
      you," she kissed his cheek lightly before leaving.
      "Damn, will I ever figure her out?" he said after she left.
      As she closed the door to Logan's room behind her, she saw
      Scott looking down the hall from the doorway of their room. She knew
      she was in for a hell of a battle now. She wordlessly walked down
      the hall to their room, praying that she would be able to control
      her temper enough that the entire school wouldn't hear their
      argument, even though they would figure it out from the icy stares
      between her and Scott at breakfast.
      "Figured you'd be with him," Scott stated once she'd shut
      the door. "Doesn't take you long to move on, huh?"
      "I know I hurt you, so I'm going to pretend you didn't say
      that," she remarked cooly. "Scott, our relationship has been in
      trouble for awhile now...long before Logan ever showed up. We just
      don't want the same things anymore. You want to get married and
      settle down, but I'm not sure I'm ready for all that yet. We've been
      together for so long, everything has become a habit, and I need more
      adventure, more passion. You and I...Scott, time has changed us and
      our relationship. I don't want to be a habit; call me selfish, but I
      want to be the center of a man's universe, and I just don't get that
      from you."
      "Relationships change, Jean," Scott started.
      "Yes, they do; people change too Scott. We were both young
      when we started dating. You were barely 19, and I'd already
      graduated college. You were cute and paid me a lot of attention, so
      I went with the attraction. But Scott, we've both gotten older and
      grown up a lot. I'm not going to say that I never loved you, because
      there was a time when I did; you were my first love, and a part of
      me will always love you, but our relationship has gone from lovers
      to roommates. We've become like brother and sister, almost, and I
      need more than that; you deserve more than that from me. I think we
      could save each other a lot of pain if we end things and go our
      separate ways now."
      Scott lowered his eyes, even though she couldn't see them.
      She was breaking up with him. He had sensed a change in her feelings
      a while back, but kept telling himself that it was stress. The more
      he pushed the marriage issue, however, the more she resisted, and he
      knew that should have been his major clue. He knew this wasn't
      entirely about Logan, just that he had made her realize what was
      missing and what she needed. He didn't blame Logan, he blamed
      himself, and he blamed her.
      "Scott, say something," she said. His quietness was making
      her nervous.
      "You're right. I should have realized things had changed
      between us when you weren't as gung ho about a wedding as I was. I
      tried to tell myself it was just stress, but you were doing me a
      favor. I dunno, Jean; I thought we would last forever," he said a
      little sadly.
      She offered him a small smile. "You know I'll always care
      about you, Scott," she said.
      "I know, and I'll always care about you, too," he
      replied. "You were my first serious relationship..."
      "Which is why you shouldn't be so convinced that I'm the
      only woman for you; I'm doing this for you, Scott, because I don't
      want to hurt you any more than I have by continuing this
      relationship. You'll find someone who gives you what I can't;
      someone who makes you laugh and challenges you," she finished.
      "I know. I do want you to be happy, Jean; I know this isn't
      all about Logan, but I'm not stupid enough to think he doesn't play
      a part in your decision," Scott said.
      "I won't deny that if Logan weren't here, we probably
      wouldn't be having this conversation; but if he weren't here, I'd
      also keep going on with the same daily routine with you and end up
      hurting us both more down the line."
      "I know, and I understand. I'm going to speak with the
      Professor about taking some time off, or at least an assignment away
      from here for awhile to let things calm down a little. Besides, I've
      been working too hard lately, and I need some downtime," Scott
      "It's not fair of me to break up with you and ask you to
      move out. I'll get me a few things together and see if Storm wants a
      roommate for a few days," Jean offered.
      "You don't have to. I can leave, you know."
      "No, I'll leave. I dropped this bombshell on you; it's only
      fair that I leave," she stated, grabbing a few things and heading
      out the door.
      Once she was gone, Scott let himself cry. He knew he'd miss
      her, but he knew she was right. They both deserved more than what
      they were getting in their relationship. He was a workaholic; she
      needed someone to take long walks with her and take her on dates. He
      barely had enough time to speak a few words to her at night before
      one of them fell asleep. The positive side was that they had parted
      on decent terms, so they could still be friends and work together on
      the team without things being too weird.
      As Jean walked down the hall to Storm's room, she told
      herself she had done the right thing. She knew she'd hurt Scott, but
      she also knew that she'd saved them both a lot of pain down the
      road. She could tell he loved her, but he wasn't in love with her
      anymore than she was with him. Like she told him, their relationship
      had become a habit, part of their daily routine. They were more like
      friends or siblings than lovers, and she wondered if the age
      difference was part of that. Either way, she knew that she'd done
      the right thing by ending things this way.
      "Jean, what are you doing here?" Storm asked when she opened
      the door.
      "Do you mind having a roommate for a few days?" Jean
      questioned, entering the room.
      "You know I don't, but what about Scott?"
      "Scott and I are over; I ended things tonight," she
      started. "It was for the best...and before you say it, no it wasn't
      about Logan."
      "Sometimes I really hate that you're telepathic," Storm
      joked. "So what happened?"
      "The condensed version is that I saved us both a lot of pain
      by ending things now rather than later. I just realized that we've
      become a habit, and that's not what a relationship should be. We
      were more like roommates than lovers, and we both deserve more than
      what we were getting. Scott wants to get married and settle down,
      and I'm just not ready for that yet. Yeah, I may have if I were sure
      he was the right guy, but we've been with each other for so
      long...and it was the first big-time relationship for both of us; I
      can see how we wanted to hold onto it, but if we continued then we
      would have eventually gotten married and put our kids through the
      pain of divorce. It was better for everyone this way."
      "So now what? You jump from uptight, by-the-rules Scott to
      adventurous, dangerous Logan?"
      "Now I get to be me. I don't know what will happen between
      me and Logan, or if anything ever will. Right now I just want to
      find myself again. Besides, if I jumped right into Logan's waiting
      arms, it would rub everything in Scott's face and make him think
      that I only broke up with him so I could be with Logan, and that's
      not it at all. Yes, Logan made me realize what I was missing with
      Scott, but I didn't end things with Scott just so I could have
      Logan. I'm not that cruel. And I do love Scott, I probably always
      will, but I'm just not in love with him anymore."
      "Wow; let me ask you a question: does Logan know you've
      ended it with Scott?" Storm asked.
      "Not yet, but I'm sure he'll hear about it in the morning.
      Gossip around here travels pretty fast, especially if Jubilee finds
      out. It's not like I'm trying to hide it from him, but I know that
      when he finds out he'll more than likely come on strong with the
      pick-up lines and such. Then I'll have to explain that I'm not ready
      to jump into another relationship yet."
      "I'm betting Logan will understand," Storm reasoned. "After
      all, he's respected your wishes this far, hasn't he?"
      "Yeah, he has," Jean replied, thinking back to her
      conversation with Logan on the jet.
      "How did Scott take it?"
      "Pretty well, considering everything I said. I know I hurt
      him, but I think he understands. He's going to ask the Professor for
      some time off, though, so that we can try to move past this and stay
      on good terms. When I left tonight, he wasn't mad at me and we were
      still speaking. It might be a little weird for a while, but it'll
      turn out okay," Jean explained.
      "Scott's little cheering section will be mad at you for a
      long time for this," Storm teased.
      "Yeah, I know. I'll turn into the bitch who dumped safe
      Scott for unpredictable Logan, even though it's not the reason for
      the breakup at all. They're teenagers, and they jump to conclusions;
      I can't really blame them for acting their age...especially if Bobby
      and Rogue contribute to the gossip and tell them when went down last
      night while I was working on the jet."
      "What did happen? You can't leave me hanging!" Storm said,
      enjoying the girl talk.
      "Logan kissed me, or I kissed him; either way it was mutual
      on both parts, and what finally made me realize that Scott and I
      aren't meant for each other was the fact that Scott was the farthest
      thing from my mind. I'm sure Rogue and Bobby saw it; they were both
      pretty upset and surprised that I'd `cheat' on Scott with Logan, and
      I'm pretty sure Rogue hates me now since she's kinda had a thing for
      Logan all along, and there he is kissing me in front of her."
      "I'm guessing you conveniently left that part out when you
      talked to Scott?"
      "Not exactly. He made me so angry earlier, that I told him
      that I'd kissed Logan," Jean said.
      "I'm sure that went over well," Storm added, sarcastically.
      "Well, that was the fight. That's when I gave him back the
      engagement ring and told him to come talk to me when he grew up."
      "Yeah. But enough about me; since we're doing girl talk,
      what's up with you and Kurt? Don't even deny it; you know I can read
      both your minds," Jean smiled.
      "Did I ever tell you that sometimes I really hate you're a
      telepath?" Storm teased.
      "Don't change the subject," Jean stated.
      Storm sighed. "Kurt's sweet."
      "And nothing. I just met the guy, Jean," Storm smiled.
      The girls continued their girl talk late into the night,
      and Jean slept later than usual the next morning. Breakfast was
      almost over when she headed down for breakfast the next morning. She
      fixed herself a cup of coffee and stood by the counter drinking it.
      All eyes turned to her as Logan made his appearance a few minutes
      later, looking as tired as she did. Some of the older students began
      to talk as Logan approached her.
      "Morning; rough night?" she asked him.
      "Yeah," he said, touching her waist briefly as he reached
      around her to grab a cup. "You have a late night too?"
      "Yeah. Scott and I broke up last night. I'm sure the kids
      all know about it by now, and you coming down right behind me,
      looking as tired as I feel doesn't help dissipate gossip any.
      They're over there talking about how I left Scott for you, and how I
      happily ran to your bed last night. Rogue and Bobby saw us kissing
      outside the jet the other night, and that's only added to the
      rumors," Jean informed him quietly.
      Logan shrugged. "Wanna give `em a show?" he teased, grinning
      when he saw he blush at the suggestion. "Relax, Red, I'm just
      teasin' ya," he smiled, moving a little closer and placing a hand
      lightly on her hip for good measure.
      Jean's breath caught in her throat when he touched her, and
      all she could think about was what it was like kissing him the other
      night, and what it would be like to kiss him again. She shook
      herself back to reality, sensing his mind beginning to wander there
      as well. "Well, I suggest you drink a lot of that coffee, then,
      because I have the feeling you and Storm will be heading up the
      renovation up here while I check on the Professor and begin
      contacting some of the students."
      "Why isn't Scott leading the renovation?" Logan asked
      "Scott has taken some vacation time; he's already left the
      mansion," Jean explained.
      "I see; you okay about it?" Logan asked concerned.
      "Yeah, I'm fine. We're both different people now than we
      were several years ago. We parted on good terms and we're still
      friends. We both understood that it wasn't fair to either of us to
      stay together," Jean gave him the short version. "And that's not an
      open invitation for you to ask me out, either. I don't want to be
      anyone's girlfriend for awhile; I just want to be me."
      "Got it," he said stepping back.
      "See you around, then; I'm going to get to work," she said,
      leaving before her mind could wander down any more roads she wasn't
      ready to head down just yet.
      Jean had been down in her office in the medlab for most of
      the day. She was working on a list of who she had contacted and who
      she still needed to contact when the doors to the medlab opened and
      Logan walked in.
      "We're all taking a break upstairs; figured you probably
      haven't taken one all day, so I came to remind you to take one," he
      Jean looked up and removed her glasses, offering a small
      smile. "How's it going up there?" she asked.
      "We're almost finished. We made a few small changes to give
      us something new to look at, but nothing drastic. How's your part
      coming?" he replied.
      "Here's the list of students I've been able to contact. It's
      actually pretty short, considering how long I've been at it," she
      handed him the list and began massaging her temples.
      "Headache?" he questioned, watching her.
      She didn't even bother to deny it. "Yeah. I'm not sure if
      it's from a lack of sleep, stress, trying to contact all the
      students, or a combination." She walked out into the main bay and
      got some Tylenol and a glass of water. She returned a few minutes
      later and sat on the edge of her desk beside Logan.
      "Wanna get some fresh air?" he offered. "It's a great day
      for a walk."
      Jean thought about it for a few moments before agreeing. "Do
      you plan on joining me?"
      "Of course, unless you mind. They can survive without me the
      rest of the day, especially since Peter came back earlier this
      She nodded and got up. "I guess it would be okay for me to
      finish this tomorrow. There's not much else I can do with a headache
      anyway," she said, heading for the elevator.
      "The kids are talking; they think you and me have had
      something going on behind Scott's back since before I left. They
      blame you for it all, you know. I hate listening to them bad mouth
      you and thought about saying something, but it would probably make
      matters worse coming from me," Logan explained, catching up to her.
      "I knew they would. Everyone loves Scott; I'm not saying
      they hate me, because most of the students are quite fond of me, but
      Scott has his own little cheering section, and those girls can make
      everything sound bad. Scott can straighten them out when he comes
      back if he wants to. I know they're mad at me, but they still
      respect me as a doctor and as their teacher," she told him.
      Scott had been gone for a month on a road trip of sorts.
      He'd finally had enough and was ready to head back to the mansion.
      He got on his bike and was ready to speed off when a young woman
      about 21 approached him. Scott looked at her. She was pretty; she
      was tall and had blonde hair and blue eyes.
      "Can I hitch a ride?" she asked.
      "You don't even know where I'm going," Scott stated.
      "Sure I do. You're going back to Xavier's School for Gifted
      Youngsters. You're Scott, right? My name is Sydney," she introduced
      herself. "I'm telepathic and telekinetic," she added before he could
      ask how she knew about the school.
      "You're a little old to be a student; am I correct in
      assuming you want to join the X-Men? Or would you prefer being a
      teacher at the school?" Scott asked.
      "Actually, I've heard a lot about Dr. Jean Grey. She's a
      telepath too, right? I want to meet her; maybe she can help me
      develop my powers more."
      "I'm sure she'll try; Professor Xavier would probably be
      willing to help as well," Scott commented.
      "Alright, then, what are we waiting for?" she asked
      impatiently. With that, she boarded the bike, and Scott took off for
      the mansion.
      The school had gotten back to normal a week after they had
      returned. All the children were back and they were beginning to feel
      safe again. The students missed Scott and asked when he would be
      back, but they were no longer blaming Jean for his departure. Jean
      missed him too, but not because she regretted her decision. She'd
      always been able to talk to Scott, and she missed getting to have
      those conversations. Meanwhile, she'd taken to talking to Logan and
      Storm about everything, and she'd even managed to get Rogue to open
      up a little.
      Rogue had just left Jean's office after getting some pain
      medicine for her headache when Logan walked in. "Hey, haven't seen
      you since breakfast. You been down here all day?" he asked casually.
      "Yeah. The Professor informed me that Scott's returning
      today; I guess I've been preparing myself," she said, sitting on one
      of the examining tables.
      Logan watched her as she sat there in her white lab coat,
      her long legs dangling above the floor. She smiled at him
      flirtatiously, and Logan could swear that he saw seduction in her
      eyes. Maybe she was ready to move on. "You're beautiful, you know
      that?" he said quietly.
      "Logan, don't start," she replied. She had gotten used to
      complements from him, but still blushed when he gave them.
      "Don't start what?" he asked innocently. He was tired of
      waiting; he wanted to do something to speed things up a bit, but he
      didn't want to push her. "It's been a month since Scott left, don't
      you think it's time to move on?"
      She sighed. He understood when she told him she wasn't
      ready, so why was he pushing her now? "I know it's been a month, but
      I'm not ready for a serious relationship again."
      "Who said anything about a serious relationship? Don't get
      me wrong, I'm not here for a one night stand, but what about a
      casual thing until you're ready to get serious?" he asked her,
      moving to stand in front of her, his hands resting on either side of
      her on the table.
      Jean hated when he stood that close because it made it
      impossible for her to think clearly, and he obviously knew it. "A
      casual thing?" she managed to get out.
      "Yeah, you know. A few dates here and there, holding hands,
      stolen kisses in the stairs. No serious commitment yet, just casual
      until you're ready for more," he explained.
      She thought about his offer for a few minutes. His offer was
      very tempting; she desperately wanted to find out if the thing
      between them was just lust or if there was really something
      there. "You want to take me on dates?" she smiled. It had been a
      long time since she'd been on an official date.
      "Sure, why not?" he grinned, downplaying it a bit. "What do
      ya say, Red?"
      He was standing inches away from her at that moment; she
      could hardly breathe. The next thing she knew, her arms were wrapped
      around his neck, her fingers playing with his hair as they kissed.
      She didn't know who started it, but she knew it felt good. He slid
      his hands to her waist and let his fingers touch the soft skin of
      her stomach under her shirt. He slowly helped her ease off the table
      until she was standing as close to him as she could possibly get
      without actually being in his skin. One hand slid up her back as he
      rested the other dangerously low on her hip.
      She finally pulled away, only because she needed to breathe.
      She looked in his eyes as they both tried to catch their breath. She
      didn't have to read his mind to affirm what she saw there; he wanted
      her, and it was more than just lust; he was in love with her. If she
      were honest with herself, she'd admit that she'd begun falling for
      him, too.
      He continued to let his fingers dance over the soft skin
      under her shirt near her navel. She smiled at him, as if giving him
      permission to touch her, as she moved her hands down to the well-
      defined muscles of his chest. She leaned up and playfully kissed the
      corner of his mouth, and pulled away grinning. She knew no matter
      how macho he was, she exerted a power over him that could bring him
      to his knees in a heartbeat; she liked having that power.
      "So, what do you say? Have dinner with me tonight?" he
      asked, kissing her neck.
      "Well, despite the short notice, you make it incredibly hard
      for a girl to say no," she grinned, stepping just out of his reach.
      When he took a step toward her, she used her powers to stop him in
      his tracks. "Scott's on his way down," Jean simply said. She wasn't
      about to hurt him anymore by being caught in a compromising position
      with Logan.
      Logan shook his head understanding. "Want me to go?"
      "You should stay; Scott's going to eventually see us
      together, anyway. I just don't think he's ready to witness any
      little displays of affection, especially not what we were just
      doing," she smiled a bit.
      "Right," Logan said, sitting at her desk.
      She rolled her eyes and pretended to look annoyed, hiding a
      smile. She sat on the edge of her desk beside him, and he couldn't
      resist rubbing his fingers along her thigh lightly. She shuddered at
      the touch as the doors to the medlab opened.
      Scott walked in followed by Sydney. When he saw Jean and
      Logan in her office with him touching her, he was a little
      rattled. "She never used to let me sit in her chair," he muttered
      walked over to her door. He knocked a couple of times to get her
      attention. "I hope we're not disrupting anything," he said, refusing
      to look directly at either of them.
      Jean stood and faced him. "No, I was expecting you. Did you
      have a nice vacation?" she asked.
      "It was okay. I did a lot of thinking, and managed to have
      some fun. Oh, and I brought back a new recruit," he gestured to
      "Hi, I'm Sydney MacKenzie," she introduced herself to her
      "Dr. Jean Grey, but you already new that," Jean smiled,
      sensing the young woman was a bit star struck.
      "Yeah," Sydney grinned almost shyly. "You're the reason I
      came back with Scott; I'm telepathic and telekinetic, too, and I
      was hoping you could help me develop my powers more than what they
      are. I have a graduate degree in Biology as well, so perhaps I could
      help you out around here."
      "Logan, why don't you and Scott leave us alone to get better
      acquainted?" she suggested. She liked Sydney already, and wanted to
      get to know her better. Plus, she had to admit that she was a bit
      flattered that she had an admirer, possibly even a protegee.
      The last person Scott wanted to have anything to do with
      was Logan, but he knew Jean wanted to get to know Sydney. "Come on,
      Logan, you can catch me up on what's happened since my vacation,"
      Scott said before heading out of the office.
      Logan stood, and seeing that Scott wasn't looking, couldn't
      resist kissing Jean briefly. "Meet me outside on the West Wing
      terrace at 7:30," he said, kissing her again before leaving. He
      walked quickly to catch up to Scott, who was almost at the elevator
      by now.
      Jean couldn't help but smile as Logan walked away. She knew
      he had checked to make sure Scott wasn't looking before he had
      kissed her, and he had definitely got some brownie points for that.
      She hadn't really wanted him to go, but Sydney's arrival had piqued
      her interest, and she wanted to find out more about this young woman
      who seemed to be like a younger, blonde version of herself.
      "Wow, quite a guy you've got there," Sydney grinned. "Very
      "Yeah, but you have no idea how messed up my love life has
      been lately," Jean sighed.
      "So fill me in," Sydney requested, eager to hear the story.
      She knew something was up between Jean and Scott, but she didn't pry
      into either of their minds to find out; it wasn't her place. If she
      were to learn the story, someone would tell it to her.
      "Scott and I used to be engaged; we'd dated for years and
      been friends a few years before that," Jean started.
      "Let me guess: Logan came along and made the third side to a
      perfectly shaped triangle," Sydney finished.
      "Pretty much. We were both attracted to each other from the
      start, but my relationship with Scott was pretty much done for
      before I ever met Logan. I don't want you to get the wrong idea; I
      never cheated on Scott with Logan, and I didn't leave Scott for
      Logan. Scott and I talked, and we both agreed that we were saving
      ourselves a lot of pain by ending things now before anyone else got
      involved. Logan made me realize that my relationship with Scott was
      just a habit, and we both deserve more than that. We parted on good
      terms, but it still has to be hard for Scott to see me with Logan."
      Jean then had an idea. "What Scott needs is someone to be there for
      him; to give him what I can't...what about you?"
      "Woah, hold there a sec; don't start trying to play
      matchmaker. Scott's cute, but he's so uptight, and well, I'm not. I
      like to break a few rules here and there, when it's not too
      dangerous, and I like to relax and have fun. Scott just doesn't seem
      like my type," Sydney shook her head.
      "Maybe that's what he needs. That's what I couldn't give
      him; I'm not as uptight and by-the-book as Scott is, but I still
      have trouble relaxing and cutting loose...that's mostly what makes
      Logan and I such a good match; He's a lot like you–the have fun,
      impulsive, wild guy. We sort of balance each other; he needs my
      rational judgement and rules like I need his adventure, passion, and
      occasional danger," Jean explained.
      "Maybe, but I don't even know Scott. I just hitched a ride
      with him," Sydney smiled. "I know you feel bad for leaving him high
      and dry, but you've just gotta let whatever happens, happen."
      "I guess so. Okay, enough about that; you said you have a
      graduate degree in Biology?" Jean asked.
      "Molecular Biology, actually. I have to confess that I've
      wanted to be you, ever since I heard about you," Sydney said,
      blushing a bit.
      Jean didn't know how to respond. "You wanted to be me?
      You've heard about me?"
      Sydney nodded. "When I first noticed my powers, I researched
      mutations and genetics and the such. I found out about this school
      and heard about the X-Men. You're name came up a lot, not only
      related to this school, but also to the Senate hearings and other
      work you've done regarding mutations and genetics. Being the
      overachiever that I am, I worked my butt off in high school and
      college, managing to finish my degree a little early," Sydney
      Jean was shocked. She really had found her protegee. "I
      thought you were a little young to have a graduate degree in
      molecular biology. You can't be any older than 24."
      "21 actually; 22 next month," Sydney smiled proudly. She'd
      obviously managed to impress Jean.
      "Jeez, you are young, and I don't mean that in a bad way,"
      Jean said. "I admit, that's quite impressive; are you thinking of
      going to med school? You'd probably make it in half the time
      required," she added.
      "Probably, but I was never cut out to be a doctor. Genetics
      is really the only science that has ever interested me, and though
      I'm good at it, I loathe any kind of math. I know all that's
      necessary for med school, so I'm quite content just being a
      molecular biologist. No matter how much I admire you, I just
      couldn't bring myself to go through with everything necessary for
      med school."
      Jean nodded. "I hated it, too. Have you spoken with the
      Professor yet? I'd love to have you help me out around here and in
      my biology class. Perhaps he may even have you teach a class
      "That'd be cool. I mostly just came here to meet you and see
      if there might be a place for me here," Sydney said.
      "If I get my way, there's definitely a place for you here;
      have you thought about joining the X-Men?" Jean asked curiously.
      "I thought about it, but I wasn't sure if I should. I mean,
      we have basically the same powers, and your's are stronger than
      mine; would I really be necessary on missions?"
      "You'd be surprised at how helpful telepathy and telekinesis
      are on missions," Jean smiled. "I think we need to go speak to the
      Professor," Jean stated getting up.
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