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Late Night Talk 

Rating: PG. A few references to relationships. No dirty words, no sex, no drugs, 
no rock `n' roll. Just two women talking about love.

Characters: Jean and a student of my creation. Scott appears at the very end.

Disclaimer: Jean and Scott, the X-men universe, the arboretum, and everything associated 
with X-men do not belong to me. I just play with them sometimes, but always give them back in 
good condition. I am doing this fic merely for fun, and because my mind got too active
today while I was raking leaves. I am making no money from this (or anything else for that 
matter, so I have nothing to give). In other words, no reason to sue, hint hint.

Archive: Please ask first. I will likely say yes but I like to keep track of where my stuff is going.

  • Author's note: Yeah, I know. This isn't how Jean and Scott fell in love. I made up a back story to suit my story. Please don't flame me telling me that I'm not following comic book or movie canon correctly. I know I'm not. Neither of those fit what I wanted to say. Many thanks to Jocelyn and Rachyl for the beta assistance. Okay, enough of the boring stuff. On to the story:

      Jean found her late, after everyone else had gone to bed, sitting in the arboretum, crying as if her world had ended. "Kathryne, what is it?" She asked, sitting down next to the girl and placing an arm around her shoulders. Kathryne looked away, wiping tears from her eyes, too embarrassed to meet the eyes of her teacher. "It's nothing, Miss Grey. I just want to be alone". "This doesn't have anything to do with Isaac, does it?" Kathryne started and looked briefly at Jean. She opened her mouth as if to say something, but her bottom lip trembled, and the words wouldn't come. So instead she nodded. She pulled closer to Jean, and for several minutes she said nothing, instead crying lightly into Jean's shoulder.
"I didn't know anyone noticed. Is it that obvious?" Jean smiled. "Only to those who care about you...and of course telepaths." She said with a wry smile. Kathryne started. "You haven't been reading my thoughts, have you?" The thought filled her with terror. Few of her thoughts about Isaac had been pure in the least, and she liked and respected Jean; didn't want her to think less of her because of her lustful thoughts about him. "No. You know I would never read someone's mind against their will. But when people's thoughts are strong enough, they project them, and there are times I can't shut them out even if I want to." Kathryne nodded. "So what have I been projecting?" "Not much. Just that you like him and are unsure what you should do about it." Kathryne sighed in relief. Jean only knew the most superficial things about her and Isaac. Thank God. "You still haven't answered my question though. Why were you crying?" "You won't tell anyone?" "Hey, I'm a doctor. My patients have complete privacy protection. I took an oath, remember?" She said with a smile. Kathryne shook her head. "I'm not a patient, Miss Grey." "You are to me. Helping to mend a broken heart is no different than setting a broken bone or suturing a wound." "Well, I... I guess I more than like him, but I don't think he feels the same way." "How much more? Do you love him?" "I think so. I don't know. I've never been in love before, so I don't really know what I should be feeling." "What are you feeling?" "I like being with him, we have fun together. He makes me laugh. I don't know really." "Well, I don't know Kathryne, but that doesn't really sound like love. That sounds like you're just friends." "That's what I thought too, but how do I know when it's love?" Jean sighed. "I wish I could tell you for sure. Philosophers have been trying to answer that question almost as long as `What's
the meaning of life?' and haven't come up with an answer to either." "You love Mr. Summers, don't you?" "Yes. Very much." "How did you know you loved him?" Jean shook her head with a slight smile. "It wasn't easy. We were friends for years before anything ever came of it." "But something did." "Yes." "How?" Jean rubbed her temples. Though the love she shared with Scott was the best thing that had ever happened to her, the memory of
how she had discovered it was anything but pleasant. "Well, he was nearly killed on a mission. He was beaten by an angry mob when his cover was blown..." "Wow. He never mentions it." "He doesn't like to think about it any more than I do. We all like to think that we are safe here, and I believe we are, but the outside world isn't too willing to accept us yet. They would still rather not deal with us." "I'm sorry. I interrupted." "That's okay Kathryne. Anyway, for several days, he was that close-" Jean held up her thumb and index finger less than a half inch apart  "-to dying. I didn't have much to do but monitor his condition. Gave me a lot of time to think." She took a deep breath, and had to smile at the look on Kathryne's face. Her eyes were wide open, enraptured with the story. "It got me to thinking about how empty my life would be without him, how much I would miss his laugh, his smile, the way he would hold my hand when we walked together."

"But how did you know that it was love, that you wouldn't just be missing a good friend?" "Because I realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. You don't want to spend the rest of your life with a friend, no matter how good a friend they are." "So when he woke up, you told him how you felt?" "No. I didn't think he felt the same way." *Of course, that's not the only reason, Jean.* She thought to herself. *It was also because he avoided you for months after that. He was embarrassed that you had seen him weakened, remember?* "Why didn't you just read his mind and find out?" "You didn't want me reading your mind. What makes you think Scott would have wanted me reading his?" Kathryne blushed and looked away. "I hadn't thought of that." "Scott is a very private man. He hates the thought of someone being able to pry his thoughts and feelings out. I would never do that without his consent." "But I thought you two had some kind of psychic link or something." "Yes we do, but it was done with his approval. I asked him for his permission before initiating it." "Oh. I wish I had something like that. That would be so nice to feel someone else's love all the time like that." Jean smiled. If only Kathryne knew. While she certainly enjoyed feeling the love through their link, the sensations like a warm blanket wrapped around her on a cold night, the anger, the hatred, were anything but pleasant. Though she knew they weren't directed at her, they weren't pleasant and she wouldn't wish them on someone else. But that was part of the link, as much as the love, the happiness were, and she had chosen to not shut them out. Despite what he showed to the world, and even to her most of the time, Scott could have a violent temper. He never let anyone see it, considering it his responsibility to protect the students from all forms of danger, even himself, but Jean had often found him in the gym late at night when a mission had gone wrong, beating the crap out of one of the punching bags. The anger particularly scared her because of the calm exterior he projected; she always worried that because he didn't express his anger, it would build and build until he finally exploded. She had to laugh when people said that because of his personality, Logan was far more violent than Scott was. She wasn't so sure they were right. It was just that Logan expressed his anger, Scott controlled his. But they were more alike than either would ever admit. "Yes, it can be, Kathryne, but at times it isn't. The link doesn't just show positive feelings, remember. And he isn't always thinking about how much he loves me, you know." "Yes, but don't you...." She stopped and blushed, suddenly realizing she was becoming more personal than was appropriate. "I'm sorry, Miss Grey. It's none of my business to ask about your relationship with Mr. Summers." "It's all right, Kathryne. You know we're always here for you, all of us, even Logan, though I wouldn't recommend asking him for advice on relationships." she said with a wry smile. Kathryne laughed. "I won't." Jean nodded. "So you don't think Isaac cares about you the way you do about him?" she asked, redirecting the conversation back to Kathryne. "No. I don't. Anytime I happen to over hear him talking to any of his friends, he's always making jokes, calling me `clingy' and stuff." "Don't go by that, Kathryne. Boys at that age brag to their friends. You need to get him alone to find out what he really feels." "I have. I was in the library yesterday working on my homework, and he came in and sat at another table. I was there probably close to an hour, and he never said anything." "Maybe he doesn't know how to say how he feels about you either." "Or he doesn't have those feelings." "That's possible, but you'll never know unless you tell him." "Yeah, but...I just...I mean, I can't imagine he would." "I never thought Scott would about me either. Some guys it just takes longer. You can't give up hope." "Well, yeah, but..." her voice trailed off, and Jean could see a blush creeping up in her cheeks. "But what, Kathryne?" Jean urged. "Well, Mr. Summers would have to be blind to not fall in love with you. You're so beautiful. I mean, look at me. I have green skin and red eyes and silver hair." "So? You think loving someone is just about looks?" "Well, I..." Jean stroked Kathryne's hair sadly. "Oh Kathryne, if you believe that, you're so wrong." "No, I'm not. I've heard the way Mr. Summers talks to you. He always tells you how beautiful you are." "Yes, but that's not why he loves me. I had the same insecurities when we first fell in love.  I was always afraid that he only loved me for my looks. I was always careful to look my best around him. I got out of bed early just so I could do my hair and makeup before he woke. For months I did this, afraid to let him see me with mussed up hair and no mascara." "You don't anymore?" "No. I would rather spend that extra time in the morning in bed next to him. He's very open in the morning. We have a lot of good talks. And we do...other things." She added with a wicked smile, drawing a knowing grin from Kathryne. "So what changed?" "One day we went on a picnic down by the lake. I slipped on some wet leaves and slid down into the water. By the time he was able to pull me out, I was covered in mud and leaves, drenched, my mascara running down my face." She smiled at the memory. "I pulled away, I didn't want him to see me like that. I knew I looked awful." "I'm sure." Jean laughed. "I ran back toward the mansion, trying to get away from him. But he caught me a few hundred feet from the lake. I tried to keep him from seeing me, I pulled away as much as I could, but he pulled me toward him and looked me straight in the eye and laughed at how I looked. I turned my head away and told him to quit looking at me that I didn't want him to see me like this." "What did he do?" "He got a really sad look on his face, and held my head in his hands. He pushed the muddy hair out of my eyes and said `Oh Jeannie, I don't care if you're covered in mud, you're still beautiful to me.' " "Oh, that's so sweet." "I thought so. I said `Scott, you mean it doesn't matter to you what I look like?', and he said, `No, it doesn't Jean. You're still just as beautiful to me even if you're covered in mud.' It was a long conversation, but basically, he just convinced me that he loved me for who I was, not what I looked like." "And you feel the same way about him?" "Yes. I don't deny that he's very handsome. I mean, any girl can't help but see that. And he has a wonderful smile, and..." she lowered her voice conspiratorially, and grinned a wicked smile, "...he does look hot in jeans." Kathryne laughed. "But that's not why I love him. I love him because he's gentle and kind and responsible and he always makes me feel special, not because of how he looks in jeans." "But, Miss Grey, I just look so weird. How could Isaac love someone who looks so weird?" Jean pulled her closer, looking deep into her eyes. "Stop it Kathryne. You don't look weird. And even if you did, what does it matter? If Isaac only loves you for what you look like, is that really what you want in a boyfriend?" "Well, no, I guess not."
"You're a wonderfully funny person, you care deeply about others, you're always willing to help someone who needs help. There's plenty about you to love, Kathryne. That's what you want him to love you for, not what you look like on the outside." Kathryne nodded. It seemed that Jean's words were finally getting through to her.
"I've just gotten so tired of waiting for him to tell me how he feels, though. I mean, we've known each other for two years, how much longer do I have to wait?" "What makes you think he has to make the first move?" "Well, I...ah...I...just...isn't that how it's supposed to be?" Jean laughed. "This is the 21st Century, Kathryne. There's nothing wrong with a girl making the first move." She smiled at a memory. "If I'd waited for Scott to make the first move, I'd still be waiting." Kathryne was shocked. "You mean, you told him first?" "Yes." "But, weren't you scared? What did you say?" "Yes, I was scared. No one wants to be rejected." "So, I mean, how did you say it?" Jean nearly laughed at that. She had always prided herself on being smooth and in control of herself, but at times, she acted stupid around Scott. She had found him one day sitting by the lake, his knees pulled up tight to his chest, his arms hugging his legs, pulling himself as small as he could. He had reminded her of a lost little boy, so scared and vulnerable that she felt an instant closeness to him. She had sat next to him and pulled him closer to her. Normally, he would have pulled away, not wanting her to see his weakness, but for some reason, felt the need for her touch at the moment. When he had risen to his feet, she had asked him why he was leaving, and he had responded that he didn't want to burden her with his problems. She had said that it didn't matter, that's what friends are for, but he had stiffened his back and walked away, and hadn't stopped till Jean shouted out her undying love to him. "It wasn't very romantic. We had been talking by the lake one day, and when he walked away, I just had this really weird feeling that if I didn't tell him then, I never would be able to again." "Why?" "I was scared, Kathryne, believe it or not. I was afraid of being rejected, just like you are, and didn't know if I would have the courage to say it any other time." "But..." Kathryne couldn't believe the beautiful, confident, self-assured Jean Grey she had known for the last 2 years could ever be afraid, could ever be insecure, could ever doubt that Scott would love her. "...so you did?" "Yes. As he was walking away, I yelled at him `Scott, don't leave. I love you.'" Kathryne laughed. "I'm sure that got his attention." Jean smiled. "It did at that." "So then did he propose his undying love to you too?" "I wish. No, it took a long time before he told me he loved me." "But...I mean....what made you decide to tell him? I mean, how could you tell that he loved you?" "I didn't know for sure, but he had done certain things that made me think he did." "Like what?" Jean nodded internally. This was where Kathryne had really wanted the conversation to go all along, but was too bashful to direct it that way. "He would pick wildflowers for me, or hold the door, or serve me first at dinner. Nothing big, just little things that told me I was important to him. Does Isaac do things like that for you?" "Yeah. But are you sure that means love?" "No. It may just be that he considers you a friend, and is trying to be polite. You'll never know until you take a chance." "But what if he doesn't feel the same way?" "What if he does?" Jean countered. "Would you rather go through your whole life wondering if he loved you?" Kathryne seemed uncertain. "You've seen how happy Scott and I are." Kathryne nodded. "What if I had never taken the chance on telling him how I
felt? We would never have been able to share that happiness." "But what if I get hurt?" "That's always a possibility in any relationship. But isn't the chance at love worth the risk of getting hurt? If I'd known how happy I would be with Scott, I would have risked getting hurt hundreds of times to find that love. True love, when you find it, is the best thing in the world...and you know how much I like chocolate!" The two women shared a laugh. "Just tell him, Kathryne. Don't go through life wondering." Kathryne nodded, rising to her feet. "Thank you, Miss Grey, for everything." "You're welcome. Let me know how it goes okay? Although if it goes as well as I'm thinking it will, you won't need to tell me, I'll be able to see the glow in your eyes." "I hope so." With a last smile, she turned and headed for bed. Jean returned to her bedroom surprised to see Scott still awake, waiting for her. "Jean? Where have you been? It's almost midnight." "Kathryne needed some romantic counseling." "Oh? In what way?" "She's in love with Isaac but isn't convinced he feels the same way about her." "Oh." He paused, sensing the thoughts in her mind, the remembrances of their early days. "You told her about us didn't you?"

      She slipped into bed next to him, stroking a hand down his chest. "Yes, but just about the first time I told you I loved you. Don't worry, I didn't tell her any of the good stuff. I'll let her find that out herself when she gets a little older." Scott smiled, wrapping his arms around her, kissing her cheek, her neck, her shoulders, working downward as he heard her sigh. She melted into his touch, smiling at his attentions, shivering in anticipation. Scott was really in the mood for the "good stuff" tonight...



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