Author: kalimando (Quidam)
Genre: post X-2
Disclaimer: X-Men characters belong to Marvel.
Notes: I had written this a little over a year ago, but realized I'd
never posted anywhere but in the P. St. Fan Fiction area. I used the
Wye Oak as a bit of inspiration for the one mentioned in the story.
For those interested in the Wye Oak:
Feedback is always appreciated.
Scott knows my favorite season is Autumn, something he found
difficult to understand. "Everything is dying," he'll say in that
matter of fact tone that`s so... Scott. It's difficult for me to
explain, but there is a certain allurement about Autumn. I love the
nights when the moon rises slowly over the horizon- a moon so deep
orange in color it appears as though it's on fire. I drag Scott
outside and the two of us will sit, serenaded by crickets, and watch
that glorious moon until it is high above us.
The wind has a different mood and personality in Autumn. I have
always viewed the wind as being female. No man could have the power
and wildness she displays in one mood and the mischievous
playfulness she exudes in another. I love her best when she moves
about the trees and grasses coaxing them to rustle in response. I
insist on sleeping with the windows open and poor Scott has to pile
extra blankets on himself to keep from freezing. I sleep best when I
can hear the murmuring of the trees in the breeze.
There is a giant old oak tree at the school that I adore. God knows
what secrets that tree has been privy to, mine being some of them.
Regardless of what the calendar says, I look to that tree for the
first sign of Autumn. When that first leaf begins its vibrant
transformation, something inside me stirs. I almost feel like a
caged animal trying to break free. I collect fallen leaves and it
drives Scott crazy, but he puts up with it. Stoically I might add. I
can't resist them-the brilliant colors streaking across the leaf
like wildfire. I display them around the room until they lose their
color. Some of the more exquisite ones I place in the books that we
have scattered around the bedroom. Poor Scott, I can't count how
many times he has opened a book only to have a dried leaf crumble
all over the covers. Of course he can't sleep in "leaf crumbs", as
he calls it, and insists on shaking the sheets until every last leaf
crumb has been banished. And then he swears that he can still feel
them in the bed.
Birds are another passion of mine. Scott knows of my obsession with
the phoenix lore and for my birthday last year he presented me with
this incredibly intricate necklace in the shape of a phoenix. I
think that was one of the few times he left me speechless. With the
exception of my mission attire, I rarely take that necklace off-it's
become a part of me and I feel some sort of kinship with the
mythical bird. Along with my medical books and journals and Scott's
collection of books, our bedroom has it's fair share of birding
books. I keep a pair of binoculars next to the window and on more
than one occasion have pulled Scott by the collar of his shirt to
point out one of "my" birds. He just straightens his collar, shakes
his head, and kisses me on the forehead. Patronizing yes, but it
never fails to produce a laugh from me. Every spring we have quite
the collection of Canada geese which have taken an immense liking to
the pond on the mansion grounds. They nest there, raise their
darling little babies, and in the Autumn, they stretch their wings
and fly, guided by some deep rooted instinct. My heart longs to join
them and I ache as the last one leaves us. While I know their return
is as definite as the sun rising over the horizon, I can't help but
look solemnly at the lake now devoid of the noisy chattering of
The day of the mission. Even when putting on my uniform, I knew. I
had the overwhelming feeling of deja vu and yet I couldn't stop
myself from going. Like the nudging of nature urging the leaves to
transform and the geese to take flight, I too was being gently
pushed along. And so when faced with the choice of sacrificing
myself so they might live, I did not hesitate. I spread my arms and
with a fire that came from deep within my spirit I lifted the
Blackbird above and gave in to the angry current.
And so with the flooding waters from the collapsed dam, I was
baptized, given new life. As sure as the oak will once more come
alive, so will I. Listen for the calling of the geese overhead and
know that I too will return to you. Scott, I see you sleeping there
and my heart breaks. You've left the window open and have my books
scattered about you. The remnants of the leaves I have gathered
surround you as you lay there dreaming. I lean down to kiss you
softly and you stir slightly. A breeze enters the room and dances
about softly, playing with the curtains before leaving. It is then
that I notice what you have in your grasp-my necklace. Before I
leave you, I whisper in your ear, "I am the phoenix Scott." Your
lips curl up in a slight smile before relaxing once more. I hope you
understand what I have done.
The day after Jean's... accident, I walked around the mansion in a
daze. My body and mind were numb, still are in fact. The students
avoided looking at me as they murmured their sympathies. Instead of
answering them, I just nodded and kept walking. Always walking.
Two days after and I could no longer stand to be inside the school.
Jean's presence haunts me. Every corner, every inch of the place
lingers with her perfume and her memories. I took to walking outside
where I could avoid everyone especially Logan. I couldn't get his
patronizing words out of my head, "She chose you." No shit. She
chose ME a long time ago, even before he came on the scene.
Three days after. I still can't sleep. It's turned bitterly cold
outside even though it's still Autumn according to the calendar.
Jean never used it to differentiate between the seasons. She went by
that old oak out on the grounds. I keep finding myself staring up at
it, unable to see the variation in color between the Autumn leaves.
Jean used to describe the colors to me. But now... I grabbed a leaf
off one of the branches and stared at it until my eyes burn and
water from not blinking, trying to will my eyes into letting me see
something other than the same shades of red. Red like Jean's hair. I
clenched my fist, crushing the leaf, and watched as the wind blew
the fragments out of my hand. I laughed bitterly as I remembered
Jean's leaf collection in our bedroom. The laughter turned to
choking sobs and I dropped to my knees in front of the oak, covering
my face with my hands.
Two weeks after. Jean's not coming back. Sheer exhaustion is the
only reason I've slept at all, if you can even call it sleep. Over
and over I see that wave crushing her and I'm standing there
powerless to stop it. I keep replaying it in my head. We should've
done something. I should've done something.
It's nearing the end of Autumn. The last flock of geese left
yesterday afternoon. Everything's either dead or dying. I'm glad. I
don't think I could take it if the grounds were covered in blooms
and greenery like nothing happened. Back at the oak I pull off the
last leaf and for a second I think I can see the orange and yellow
streaks, but I blink and it's hues of red again. I carry the leaf
into the mansion, not knowing exactly why. Logan comes up behind me,
puts his hand on my shoulder, "Scott..."
I shrug his hand off, mutter "Fuck you," under my breath and keep
walking. Logan has the good sense not to follow me. I end up in our
room and sit at the foot of our bed fingering the leaf.
The Professor's voice enters my thoughts, "Scott...can we talk?" I
start wondering if Logan talked to him, although I hardly think so.
Logan's not the one to go running to the Professor if something
pisses him off. I sigh before answering the Professor.
"Now's not a good time."
"As you wish," he sent back and left me alone again with my
I get off the bed, still holding onto the leaf like it's a lifeline
to Jean, and open the window. A blast of cold air hits me on the
face...Jean loved the wind. There's a book on Jean's side of the bed
and I walk over to it and pick it up. "The Origin of Species,"
Charles Darwin. Evolution. My fingers leave prints on the book and
blend with the ones she left behind. Carefully I slip the leaf in
between the pages and set it back down on the nightstand next to
Jean's necklace of the phoenix. I don't know what comes over me...I
start to grab books off the shelves and shake them over the bed.
Dried leaves crumble and land on the sheets as tears stream down my
face. Emotionally exhausted, I collapse on Jean's side of the bed
and reach over to take the necklace in my hand.
I must have fallen asleep. I was at that point where my senses were
not quite awake, but enough so to be aware of a presence in the
room. The scent is intoxicating and I can't tell if I'm dreaming.
Jean. I feel her lips brush across mine, hear her voice whisper in
my ear. It is then that I understand and begin to look forward to
the Spring. For the return of the geese, the warming of the breeze,
the hints of life to reappear in the oak. For the return of Jean.