Naturally Jean had trouble sleeping. She couldn't get Scott out of her mind.
Every time she tried she would remember something like when they used to get up early on Christmas morning before everyone else and walk in the garden before joining everyone for the opening of the gifts.
Or how he would come up behind her and surprise her by wrapping his arms around her and giving her a rose. Stupid stuff, silly stuff, the kind of stuff that made their relationship so special.
For the fiftieth time that night she cursed herself for being so stupid. She dwelled on it so much that she awakened the professor with her thoughts.
'Professor, Are you alright?'
'I was fine, I was asleep.'
Jean winced. 'Did I wake you?'
'Well when you think too much the subway would be quieter if it was running through my head.'
Jean could almost hear the smile in his voice. He was worried she knew that. He never made jokes this late especially lame ones.
'It'll be alright Jean. It'll all be alright in the morning.'
'Yeah you're right. Good night'
'Good night Jean…again'
Jean flopped down on the bed and fluffed her pillow trying to get comfortable.
It was going to be a long night.
Five minutes later.
Jean sat up in bed, her hair in disarray.
'Who on earth is that?' She thought.
As she got out of bed and padded towards the door her heart lept.
'Scott! Could it be?'
She opened the door.
"Rogue. Is something wrong?"
"Ah' was about to ask you that." She drawled. Although her time at Westchester had taken most of her accent, she still had a soft drawl that was soothing and pleasant.
She pushed past Jean and walked into the bedroom.
"You sure were making a lot of noise. Did ya forget that your room is next to mine?"
"I'm sorry, I was having trouble sleeping, my pillow is lumpy.." She trailed off.
"Hmm, I wonder what on this earth could be keeping you awake. Could it be I don't know a certain man that you know?"
Jean sighed. "Rogue I really don't want to talk about it"
"Okay we won't talk about Scott and you but I would like to know why he is back and all those other details that everyone seemed to conveniently forgot to tell me"
"I mean I am not a child" She continued fuming.
"Believe it or not I am an adult.
"I am a teacher at this school and a member of the X-men, I have a right to know"
"I wasn't told anything either. I found out when Scott walked in to the professors office."
"Oh..so why is he back?"
Jean lowered her eyes momentarily. She looked up at Rogue.
No matter what she said she was still a child when it came to some things. Things like this…
"Rogue, it's the professor.."
Rouge's eyes widened with worry.
"What? Jean, what is it? What's wrong?" She insisted.
"Sick? The Professor is not sick. He doesn't get sick."
Jean looked at Rogue feeling sympathy rise in her chest.
Rogue's clear eyes welled with tears. She looked as frightened and alone as the day she had come to stay at the mansion. Jean laid a hand on her shoulder and squeezed it softly.
"I'm sorry Rouge but he is. As he said himself he got old we just never realized it."
"He's not going to die is he?" Rouge looked at Jean, a childlike innocence showing in her eyes.
"No, not any time soon. We're going to take care of him aren't we?"
Rogue laid her hooded head on Jean's shoulder.
They stayed like that for a long time.
Later that night.
Rogue left Jean's room after a long talk with her.
In less than a day her world had been turned upside down.
This was just like the day she'd kissed a guy for the first time and put him into a coma.
The Professor was sick and was leaving the x-men and Scott was back. That was one person she never thought she would lay her eyes on. She had never had much of an opinion of him.
That was partly because of Logan but she had seen how cut up he had been when he saw Jean and Logan together. She felt sorry for him. He loved Jean so much and then that love was ripped apart because of one little moment.
Rogue wandered down the hall.
She felt lost, she felt alone. She wanted company.
As if by magic she found herself outside the room that held the person she needed most. She entered it quietly and crept across the floor not wanting to wake the occupant.
"It's me..I..needed to be with someone.."
Logan looked at Rogue.
"Okay Kid..You can stay…we'll talk in the morning"
Rogue gave him a small smile and walked over to the big chair in the corner of the room.
Logan lay back down.
Rogue curled up in the chair and fell asleep listening to the steady breathing of the one who could protect her the most.
Early next morning.
Scott had risen early. There was no point staying in bed. Sleep had refused to come and staying in bed just made him feel more frustrated.
He was angry with himself. He had not wanted his and Jean's first conversation to go like that.
He had to try and control his anger. A lot of people depended on him now. He couldn't let any personal feelings interfere with his new job. He walked down the long hall and out the side door.
Heading towards the garage, he spotted a young man with sandy hair that he was sure he recognized coming towards him.
"Hey Mr. Summers what's up?"
"Hey Bobby, how are you?" he said grasping his hand firmly and shaking it.
"Good thanks, but uh what are you doing here?"
"Well you'll find out later"
"Okay..But you're staying for a while."
"Good heading over to the garage?"
"Yeah I am "
"Say you still got that bike?"
They walked over the lawn towards the garage chatting like old friends.
"Say Mr. Summers think I could get a ride on that bike?"
Jean watched as Scott left the house and headed over towards the garage. She had gone for an early morning walk in the garden, as she was unable to sleep.
She set off toward him to sort out things between. No point letting things fester away when she saw Bobby head towards him.
They greeted each other with smiles and a handshake and seemed happy to see each other.
'I wish he had been like that to see me.' She thought as she walked away.
"Thank you all for coming"
The Professor looked around at the faces that stared at him.
Scott, Jean, Logan, Rogue, Storm, Bobby, Kitty, Jubilee and John.
They all looked at him expectantly. Logan kept glaring at Scott then looking away as soon as he glanced over and Scott did the same. Jean and Rouge both looked troubled and upset.
John,Bobby,Jubilee and Kitty all kept looking at Scott confused looks on their faces.
The four all decided to stay on at the school. They all went to College but came back to the mansion.
They simply said it was their home and they didn't want to leave.
The professor was more than happy to keep them on. Their help was needed and would be invaluable now that he was taking a backseat.
"I know a lot of you are wondering what's going on" He began.
"It's very simple really. I need to retire due to health issues."
"Please let me finish," He said holding up a hand.
" I need to do this. I know it will be hard for all of us. I never even thought about having to give up the X-men but circumstances change.
You needn't worry. When you go on missions I will still be there guiding you, helping you to function as smoothly as before. I will still be here, I just won't be invovled so much."
All the group had sombre faces. It seemed so unexpected but as they thought it over they realized that it was true.
They just kept thinking that even as they got older the Professor would stay the same age. It was just like realising that your parents are old and will be gone soon. The professor was their parent.
"So" Kitty asked. "What happens now?"
They all turned to look at Cyclops.
"Well you've probably all noticed that I am back."
Logan snorted. Scott ignored him and continued.
"I'll be taking over the running of the school and I'll be field leader of the X-men again"
"Glad to hear it..now about that bike"
"Now" They all turned back to the Professor.
"This will be hard as I said before but I am sure with your collective help," He said looking pointedly as Logan. "The transition will go as smoothly as possible"
"We'll be glad to help" Volunteered Jubilee.
"Good, well I think that's all for now"
They group got up from their seats and as they passed by Scott they smiled, patted him on the arm and welcomed him back.
He relayed his thanks and got up to leave. As he did he passed be Jean. Their arms brushed. The jolt of electricity ran through them both.
They glanced sown wanting to say more but unwilling to be the first.
They were both as stubborn as each other. It was one of their biggest downfalls.
They both turned to leave about to go their separate ways when the professor's voice echoed in their heads.
'I would like to see the both of you privately'
Scott and Jean returned to their seats.
"I heard a few of the children talking this morning. Something about Miss Grey and a 'cute' " Scott blushed. "Young man" He continued "shouting at each other in the kitchen last night. I'm sure you know nothing about that."
"Professor I'm sorry"
"There should be no need to apologize. Now I know that neither of you had much warning about how things would be when you would meet up again, but arguing in front of the children is downright unprofessional and is not allowed. You know that. "
"I don't want to do this often so I suggest you sort something out. You don't have to do it overnight but if you plan on debacles like that again I suggest you do them in private."
"Professor I'm sorry about that but please understand it was going to be hard to see Jean after what she did"
"What I did, God how could you be so..argh..unreasonable."
"Oh please me unreasonable that's a laugh."
"God I always knew you were a control freak and had to be the golden boy who was always right but not that much. Well love sure is blind." She spat out.
"Goes both ways Jean"
Jean and Scott looked up in horror as the Professor doubled over in a coughing fit.
"God Professor" Jean jumped up from her seat and ran to the professor.
Scott ran to the table and poured a glass spilling half the contents of the jug in his haste.
"I need to get you down to the infirmary now"
"No I am fine. I need no medical attention. What I need is to never see that kind of display of childish behavior and insults flying around like poisoned darts again."
Scott and Jean glanced at each other guiltily.
"We're so sorry"
"I know, I need to be alone."
"Please I would rather just do a few tests just to make.."
"No, just go I'll be okay"
The two left the Professors office.
Jean started to walk down the hall.
"Scott now I'm going to be the one to say not now."
"I agree but we can't let that kind of thing happen ever again. We need to talk neutral ground no distractions no raised voices."
Jean smiled. "I have some work to do. Tonight, the gallery over in the west wing. About seven."
"I'll be there"
As Scott watched Jean walk away he thought wistfully
'Will there ever be a time when we walk away together'
Other Stories By Danielle Kerins