I was going to tell Jean. There was never any
question about that. Not in my mind, anyway. And
there shouldnt have been any in Logans, either. Id
told him long before anything had happened between
him and me that Jean and I didnt keep secrets from
each other. I would have told her about Logan even if
he and I had just been fuck buddies. Which, of
course, was all we had been when this whole thing
Now it feels like we have or at least had
something more than that. Id told Logan I was in
love with him and Id meant it. Id believed him when
he told me he felt the same. My feelings havent
changed. I dont know if his have, although I worry
that hes cooled towards me. We havent spoken about
it since Vermont.
We havent spoken much at all, Logan and I. Hes
avoiding me, its clear. He hasnt said a private
word to me since we got back.
Well, maybe Im avoiding him, too. Or at least Im
accepting his avoidance of me. I certainly havent
sought him out.
I should talk to Logan. I want to talk to him. I
just dont know what to say to him. I dont know how
to explain how I feel about Jean. Im not in love
with her, that Im sure of. Still, l feel responsible
for her well-being, at least until shes back on her
feet, in all senses.
I want Logan to understand that. I want him to know
that what happened with Jean doesnt affect how I feel
about him. I still want what we both said we wanted
together love and sex and facing the world as a team
of two. An army of lovers can conquer the world.
Thats how I had been thinking of Logan and me - a
warrior/lover pair, like in the Theban Band. I dont
think Ive ever been happier than I was when he told
me thats what he wanted, too.
Wed thought Jean was dead at the time, thought that
wed had an imposter in our midst. Maybe thats what
it took to really open our minds to the possibility.
At least I think that was what it took for me, as
defended as I was against loving another man.
Its been a long time since Id even considered the
possibility. Id come out the first time when I was
fifteen, but once Jean and I were together Id settled
into this half-closeted state. Im not one of those
fundie crazies who try to go straight, even if it
looks like that on the surface gay through my teens
and then at age twenty I get involved with a woman.
It wasnt because of some religious conversion, and I
didnt think of myself as an ex-gay man. I mostly
just didnt think about my sexuality at all.
Jean and I had gone through so much together, shared
so much. We loved each other and although wed kind
of fallen into the relationship, it felt to both of us
like it was worth working on. Id had sex with a lot
of guys, but Id never had the kind of closeness I had
with Jean, and I didnt want to risk what we had.
That way madness lies, let me shun that. I knew
that if I had sex with a man it would damage what Jean
and I had, and our relationship was very important to
me. Love was something I shared with Jean, not anyone
else. Thats how it was until she died. Well, until
I thought she was dead.
I was so sure that this woman who showed up was
someone else, someone who inexplicably looked like the
woman Id loved and lost. Wed since found out
otherwise, now knew that Jean had been invaded or
possessed. Whatever had taken over her body and her
mind was gone now. Jean was back, really back this
That didnt change anything. Not for me, not for how
I felt about Logan. Ill always care about Jean, Im
sure. Weve been friends since we were kids and we
were lovers for years. Wed planned on marriage. I
feel a great warmth and fondness towards her. In some
sense Ill always love her, but Id known for some
time that I wasnt in love with her anymore.
I knew I wasnt going to try to live a straight life
again. Thats a decision Id made over a year ago and
one Ive never wavered on. It had taken me some time
to clearly understand that the relationship Jean and I
had tried to build was a mistake, but I did understand
It never would have worked, I realized. I hadnt been
true to my nature. Now that I was in love with a man,
Id learned something essential that had always eluded
me before. Now I understood that deep love and
intense desire could have the same object, and it was
a life-changing realization. It was very clear to me
that there was never going to be anything but
friendship between Jean and me. This was information
Jean had a right to know and I was definitely going to
Still, it was something I needed to do carefully, not
just blurt out. Jean was in no condition to hear news
like that without some preparation. Logan should have
understood that. He knew what had happened to her.
Well, as much as any of us knew, which wasnt a whole
Id called Charles as soon as I could, as soon as we
were sure that *thing* was truly gone from Jean. As
soon as wed established that the inhabitants of the
Vermont house it hadnt killed were safe and well, as
soon as I was sure the house was secure. Id
explained to Charles what had happened to Jean and
told him about the deaths of the FBI agents assigned
there. I dont know what hed told the G-Mens
superiors, but he assured me that Jean would not be
arrested for their deaths. Then he and Hank joined us
in Vermont, to run interference with the FBI as
needed, as well as to try to get a better sense of
what had gone on there and to formulate a plan for
what to do next.
Two more grim-faced FBI agents showed up shortly after
Hank and Charles, looking almost exactly like the ones
who had died. They interviewed us all and took
extensive notes. Neither of them betrayed any
emotion, even when Logan and I described finding their
colleagues dead, hearts pulled from their chests and
placed neatly on the hall table. Logan and I
exchanged glances while they muttered about satanic
cults and ritual murder, but didnt try to correct
The G-Men left with the bodies of their fellow agents,
and no local law enforcement showed up. I checked
local newspapers as long as we were in Vermont, and
nothing about two gruesome deaths interrupted the
articles about school funding and ski tourism.
We stayed on for a few more days, in order to look for
clues as to what it was that had taken over Jeans
body, and in order to interview our Alpha Flight reps
and Cassandra, our Mutant Protection Plan resident.
They were the people who had been on the spot and knew
best what had happened. Logan and I had come into it
too late to have the whole picture. Both Sasquatch
and Cassandra had been attacked by Jean and we hoped
we could find out more from them about the being that
had invaded her.
It quickly became clear that Sasquatch would be no
help to the investigation. Wed found him
unconscious, but without a mark on him. He awoke a
couple of hours after Jean became herself again, but
with no memory of anything that had happened that day.
His memories before jibed with the rest of ours, but
added nothing. Hed noticed a difference in Jean
from when hed first arrived in Vermont to work with
her. She had seemed changed, unlike the woman hed
known for years. He and Northstar had compared notes,
speculating that she might be an imposter, a
shape-shifter taking Jeans form. That she was Jean
but possessed by some inhuman entity had never entered
By contrast, Cassandras memories were clear and
complete. She was able to tell us exactly what shed
experienced. Her mutant power for predicting
catastrophe had warned her that shed be attacked by
Jean. As soon as she had the vision, shed tried to
escape, planning to return to Westchester. Jean had
tried to stop her and Cassandra had taken refuge in
the panic room. Wed had to coax her out of there
afterwards. It took some doing to convince her that
Jean hadnt really been the one who attacked her, and
was no threat to her now.
After wed learned everything we could on site, we
returned to Westchester. We brought Cassandra with
us, and also Ethan Leeds. Charles had asked him to
take a few days off to join us. We needed his
expertise and his established therapeutic
relationships with both Cassandra and Jean.
Hank examined Jean carefully and did pretty much every
test modern medicine had available to assess her
physical and mental state. Charles examined her
telepathically, and assessed her mutant powers with
Cerebro. Ethan Leeds interviewed her at length,
bringing his professional expertise, his experience
with mutant psychology, and his long professional
relationship with Jean to the table.
The three of them were a formidable team. If anyone
had been able to figure out what had happened to her,
it would have been that trio. Still, with all the
expertise, intelligence, and mutant power brought to
bear, we werent clear on just what had invaded her
body or what that being had done to her. We were
referring to the invader as the Phoenix a
reference to the fiery, bird-like shape that seemed to
be coming out of her body when Jean became Jean again.
But giving it a name wasnt getting us any closer to
figuring out who or what it was.
As far as they could tell, Jean seemed physically
unaffected by more than a year of having her body and
mind under Phoenix control. It also seemed that it
hadnt diminished her mutant powers at all. If
anything, it seemed to have intensified them. Her
telekinetic ability was exponentially stronger than it
had been. And Charles said her telepathy was now so
strong it was rivaling his. It wasnt clear how that
had happened. Had possession by the Phoenix had an
intensifying effect on her gifts? Or was it a natural
progression that had just coincidentally happened at
the same time as the possession? I tended to think
Ever since wed fought Magneto at Liberty Island
Jeans powers had seemed to be growing by leaps and
bounds growing faster than her ability to control
them at first. I remembered the bed shaking while she
dreamed, objects flying when she was frustrated or
unhappy. She had told me nothing was wrong, but it
was clear that something had changed in her. It
seemed that her telekinetic gift was growing and
developing almost as if she had just come into her
powers. She was exhibiting the same lack of control
our students often experience during that period of
change. During more than a year of Phoenix
possession, perhaps her telekinetic ability had
continued to grow, and to stabilize, so that she was
now in better control, now that she had her body back.
So, physically Jean was perfectly well, surprisingly
so. And her powers were stronger than ever. Still,
that didnt mean she was emotionally healthy. It
didnt mean she was ready to take what was bound to be
hard news without some preparation.
Psychologically well, it would take time to know
just how badly hurt she was, but she had clearly been
traumatized by the experience. Ethan reported that
she was suffering from acute anxiety trouble
sleeping, having panic attacks, nightmares when she
did manage to sleep. And the way she had clung to me,
shaking, when the Phoenix finally left her body didnt
leave me thinking that it was a good time to tell her
I had a new lover. A man. A man shed thought had
been in love with her, thought Id been jealous of.
Jean certainly knew something was up. In Vermont
shed been assigned a room by herself. Shed looked
at me questioningly when Walter said hed show her
which room was hers, but said nothing. When we
returned to Westchester, she asked Ororo where she was
staying, not looking at me. Ro took her to the room
that shed lived in under Phoenix possession for
the last several months. All of her things were
already there. She had no need to come back to our
room, and didnt. I wasnt finding myself alone with
her. If Id wanted to explain about Logan and me
and I really didnt think it was a good idea to do so
yet Id have needed to ask to speak to her
She didnt spend much time with me, in general. I saw
her at faculty meetings, in the dining hall, at team
meetings. She didnt sit with me and she didnt look
It wasnt to me to whom she turned to find out what
had happened while shed been possessed. She gave an
overview of her experiences of the past year at the
first team meeting after her return. Or more
accurately, her non-experiences. It feels like I
fell asleep at Alkali Lake and woke up the next
morning in Vermont, she said. I know over a year
went by, but I only know it intellectually. I have
some moments of memory at Xaviers and in Vermont
but its like little bits of a dream. Incomplete,
hazy, only barely remembered. Ill look to you, she
added, turning from me and towards Charles and Ro,
to fill me in on what I did during the time after I
came home. She shrugged. I hope none of you will
hold me responsible for my actions.
Everyone quickly assured her that she was in no way
responsible for her Phoenix-controlled behavior.
Charles added, Well do our best to fill you in on
what happened while you were with us, Jean. Its also
possible that Ethan and I can help you fill in some of
the time before you showed up here.
How could you? Ive really tried to remember. I
know that may well be the key to finding the Phoenix,
or at least figuring out what its intentions were.
But theres nothing there, no matter how hard I try.
Dr. Leeds weighed in. Its possible there is
something there, some memories, but theyre not
accessible to you. Maybe the experiences were too
traumatic to remember. Maybe the Phoenix has walled
off the memories, hidden them from your conscious
self. Maybe both are operating. I think that with a
combination of hypnosis and telepathy, Charles and I
may be able to help you recover them. He paused, as
if unsure whether to continue. It wouldnt likely be
a pleasant process. Ultimately I think youll find
that the more you know, the better off you are in the
long run. Still, revisiting trauma is never easy, and
can often be re-traumatizing.
I want to do whatever I can to get answers, shed
replied without hesitation, for all of our sakes.
She smiled weakly. Ill count on you to pick up the
pieces, if necessary, Ethan. As always, I admired
her courage, persistence, and commitment to the team.
I tried to talk to Jean after the meeting, following
her to her office. I began by expressing my
admiration for her fortitude and telling her I wanted
to do what I could to help her. I told her to let me
know when she felt ready to rejoin the team, but that
she shouldnt feel under pressure to do so right away.
She didnt say anything for a long time. When she
spoke, it wasnt in response to what I said. Its
over, isnt it? she asked.
I nodded. Im sorry.
She shrugged, smiling sadly. Nothing to be sorry
about. We always knew it was a long shot.
Jean, Ill always
Dont, Scott. Dont finish that sentence. I dont
think I can take hearing that right now. Maybe some
day. She turned her head away. I think I need to
be alone now.
How could I have told her then?
Mofic Website: http://mo.fandomnation.com/fic/
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