Disclaimer: Jean Grey and
friends belong to Marvel Comics.
Companion piece to 'Iron Will.' Please contact me before archiving.
Just a note: yes the tense fluctuates, yes it is intentional :)
You could have been a millionaire, a thousand times over.
A penny for your thoughts, isn't that how the saying goes? What if I had
made that offer for every time you lost your keys, every time you
wondered what kind day today would be, every time you sneezed and
blessed yourself? You'd be rolling in it, Scrooge McDuck style. I know
you get the reference because I know you sometimes watched cartoons with
Bobby, because that's what leaders do, they lead, they sacrifice --
There were times I would have given more than money to know your
thoughts. When your eyes close over and the burdens of our lifestyle
press down hard on your shoulders, when you shut your pain away and
stared at an Alaskan sunset that was always red for you, I wondered what
you were pondering, what my blinded mind concealed from me. Even then,
in the quiet of my own head, I wanted to know you, to swim in the flow
of your thoughts.
Unformed ideas and sensations--cold floor, hot water, cold water, kill
Bobby-- I feel them too, hear them as they slip from your cerebrum into
mine, tumbling like a waterfall. Sometimes things I didn't want to know
or hear or feel, but I did. Secrets you didn't tell yourself, but even
so, I saw them.
We never needed words. They were nice to have, for making idle
conversation, for filling the silence with whispers or moans, but words
weren't our currency. You paid for my love with your every twisted
fantasy and half-baked notion. I paid for yours by listening, and never
saying a word.
Except about Betsy but that wasn't something you could expect me to
forget. I know for a fact you've never thought of me like that. I've
never seen myself walking around your head dressed the way you dressed
her. You never dreamed of touching me the way you touched her in your
mind. And it wasn't all a result of her unconscious telepathic
influence, so don't think that excuses you. You can't lie to me or even
fib a little when it comes to things like that. When it comes to
anything really, but especially that.
I'm surprised our relationship has survived our mind-bond. Rogue once
lamented to me that she wished for our connection because at least she
would know how Gambit really felt about her. Maybe I should have told
her how much it hurts to sometimes catch your husband thinking 'Maddie,
I mean Jean, Jean sure looks nice tonight.' Would she have appreciated
the irony? That sometimes you can know too much about a person,
sometimes you just don't want to hear anymore?
I've felt that way sometimes, wanted a little space in my head. Its not
just the things no one should have to know about their spouse, or about
anyone, like the fact that you wear dirty socks a second or third time
if you think you can get away with it, or your obsession with Talk Soup.
Although, with the twisted nature of your family history and our lives
as X-Men, I suppose I can understand the attraction sensational TV might
have. Might have had. The sock thing is just gross. Its also the little
mundane "The walls are blue, not as blue as the floor but bluer
than the chair." Really, you could have had a nice racket going.
All the inanities that ebb and flow throughout the day could have earned
you a penny apiece. Ka-ching.
I've been walking in through the rooms in my head, as Betsy says*, and
change is starting to pile up. There are pennies gathering in the
corners, one for every thought I have not heard. Every thought after
"You won't take Nate from me again." With your last synapse
you proclaimed your love for the flesh of your flesh, the bone of your
bone. I suppose I always thought your last thoughts would be about
me, about us. You've risked it all to save me so many times and I never
really acknowledged that there are those other than me that you love
move than life. I did not expect it to be Nate Gray, but perhaps you
meant Nate Dayspring. You prefer to call him Summers in your heart, but
its not a name he readily accepts in life. He has his reasons and I have
I've listened to you analyze a hundred situations, shift variables in
your mind so quickly that I can't imagine keeping up with the
quicksilver train of your thoughts. You are a leader and even though I'm
hard wired to your skull, I still can't pinpoint the thing that makes
you brilliant. I can sift through images and ideas from textbooks on
Roman warfare, words that flow from the History Channel in your head. I
can hear the staccato splashes of plans firing across your consciousness
and being rejected just as quickly until you pull all the pieces
together into the plan that wins the day. Still, I can't make those same
leaps that you do; I can watch them unfold, but I could never explain
them. That day, your mind hummed louder to mine than the throb of my own
heart beat. I could not keep up, and so I was as surprised as anyone
else when you . . .
So you saved the day, saved the world, just like you have once or twice
a week since you were barely eighteen. And it would be just that
routine--if I wasn't drowning in copper coins, unused since I've lost
your stream of consciousness flowing through my brain.
I'd give them all to you, the Blob's weight in pennies, for just one
They say you're dead, that there is no way I can be feeling you. But
they don't understand our bond at all. The stream of you that filled me,
sometimes flooding it's banks, sometimes subsiding to a trickle, is
still there. It's a dry bed of stones, but it's still there. I can
almost feel tiny little drops of you, running between the rocks.
Visceral emotions like pain and fear and guilt tie my insides up and
they seem to bear your imprint, your touch.
I can feel you still, so I know you are there. Or at least I can imagine
that I do. But, if you could just think one thought, that would be
enough for me to believe. One thought, one copper coin, and it will all
You might think, and I know how you tend to think so I speak with some
authority, that I want you say those three words. It took a long time to
get you to say them out loud, even though I could feel the warm,
passionate comfort of them every time we where together. Yet, I don't
need to hear "I love you." You've said it in my head so many
times, they form a rose colored stream of affection that stays with me
always. You've acted it--by being considerate of my needs, by feeling
secure in my arms. No, I know you love me.
A penny, a thousand, a trillion, to hear you think, "I'm
I don't want much. "I live," would be okay too. You can
think it in agony or joy, feel sorrow or elation or disappointment or
resignation. Just think it and I will hear.
A penny for a thought, my love. All I need is one.