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Mina Richardson

The Faithful Wife 

Rating: PG-13 (Scott/Jean) Character Death, Angst (and boy, is there plenty of it!) Darkfic

Disclaimer:  Scott, Jean and other recognisable X-Men do not belong to me. They belong to Stan Lee, 
Fox, Marvel Comics and other powerful people.  The story however is mine, but I am making no 
profit whatsoever in this endeavor.

Archive:  Anywhere, just let me know so I can follow it.

Feedback:  I'd love to hear what you think about this.  Flames will be ignored.  Send Feedback to: 

Author's Note:  WARNING! This is a fairly dark and depressing piece, so if you like happy endings, 
*don't* read this.  Ok?  The title of this story was taken from the Suzuki Harunobu painting
of the same name, which depicts a kimono-clad woman patiently waiting
in the doorway of her home.

Dedication: To Bettina, my long suffering friend and beta-reader, for
simply being there.

' '- denotes telepathic conversations
" "- denotes normal talking


'And thus the heart will break,
Yet brokenly live on.'
-Lord Byron "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"

Sometimes she could hear the floorboards creak.

And she reveled in the sound.  'It was his footsteps,' she would tell herself, knowing it was a lie. 

She could almost see him, carefully making his way across the room and sweeping her into his arms.  She could be sitting and reading, and he would come through the door, crossing the room in hungry strides.  She remembered the way he loved her, tender and faithful, his face like an angel's as he kissed her again and again. 

But he would never come through that door again, and the world hadn't stopped like she thought it would.  People came and went, but not her.  She would wait for him.


Lifting her knees to her chest, she wrapped her arms around her legs and leaned back further into the rocking chair.  She sighed softly as she looked out the frost covered window.  She couldn't remember winter coming, but she loved it still the same.  It was almost like a Christmas card, one of those horribly cheesy ones with a horse-drawn sleigh and rosy-cheeked children.  But as she recalled, those were the cards he'd liked best.  Had Christmas come yet?  She remembered last Christmas, when they'd walked together through the snow-covered trails behind the mansion, holding hands like school children.

It was snowing now, soft delicate flakes that covered everything.  There was a layer of snow along the bottom edge of the window sill and still more was caught in the corners of the pane.  She was tempted to go out there now, to dance in that rain of white.  But she was too tired.  Tired of living, tired of waiting.

But still, she would wait.

She didn't remember anyone coming in, but someone had draped a comforter over her shoulders, thinking to keep out the winter's chill.  But she didn't feel the cold, not anymore.  She was the cold, her heart a block of ice hollowed by an emptiness she never knew could have existed.  He had filled that emptiness, making her whole.

Without him, she was nothing.

In the first few months, they had tried to help her, visiting her, speaking their reassuring words and empty promises.  But she never talked to them and finally shut them out altogether.  They never came by anymore, though she could hear them passing outside.  Their tones would grow hushed, whispers of a tragedy that lived just beyond the door.  She would come out once in awhile, drifting down the hallways like an apparition.  But she was too tired to move today and the world passed her by, turning while she sat, and waited.

Sometimes she dreamed.  Of what life had been like before, when the world wasn't such a lonely place.  Dancing together through their lives, laughing all the while, happy in that fact that everything they did, they did together.

God, how she missed him.

She wasn't dancing anymore. 

She had fallen.  Never again to rise and dance with the others while they laughed and loved and _lived_.  Like a doll she lay on the floor, forgotten, seeing the world through glassy, tear-filled eyes.

But still, she dreamed.

She sighed again and rest her chin on top of her knees.  The children were outside playing, in the happy, careless way that children played.  Bobby was making ice sculpture, beautiful swans that rose out of the snow with the flick of a hand.

Marie stood next to him, clapping her hands with delight.  Suddenly, pulling on his sleeve, she pointed at the ground.  They both fell backwards, swinging their arms and legs through the deep snow.  Their breath came out in little puffs that rose into the air and disappeared.

Bobby stood, turning to help Marie up.  Together they turned, surveying their work.  They stood there for a moment, looking very serious, as if everything in the world depended on whether or not their snow angels were perfect.

Then Marie laughed.  She bent and scooped up a handful of snow, throwing it at Bobby in the same motion.  He ducked and raised a wall of ice in front of him.

"Cheater!" she cried out.

Laughing, Bobby flattened the wall.  Marie bent to collect another handful of snow, but not before Bobby got to her.  He tackled her and they rolled together in the snow, laughing.  Then Marie jumped to her feet, snow clinging to her hair.  On his back, Bobby still lay in a messy snow drift, breathing hard.

"Come on," Marie cried.  "Ah'm ready for ya!"  With a smile, her friend rolled over and pushed himself off of the ground.

Suddenly, they stopped.

Turning together, they looked at the window as if they just remembered who sat behind it.  Marie look away guiltily from the frosty window.  Turning, she glanced quickly at Bobby before trudging back through the snow drifts.  Bobby waved awkwardly and followed after the brunette mutant, casting a pitying glance over his shoulder.

Together, the two young mutants made their way out of her sight.  She didn't watch them leave, but merely sat and stared at the snow.  Looking at the way it fell and filled their tracks, making the blanket of white whole again.

She remembered what he looked like when they'd said their last good-byes.  She could see him die, every time she closed her eyes.  The restless night she'd spent, trying to forget had been more than she cared to count.  But she owed it to him to remember, to him and to herself.  She shut her eyes against the pain and let the memories take her.

'Ready, Jean?'

She heard his voice in her mind.  He still turned around and looked at her, though he didn't need to.  It was one of the many reasons she loved him.  She'd told him he didn't need to look at her when they communicated telepathically, he just needed to think the thoughts at her.  But he'd still insisted on looking at her, saying how much he loved her eyes.

He was watching her, concern etched in his features and she realized she'd been staring.  She smiled and looked away, clearing her throat softly.  He returned her smile with his own, a ready, eager grin she loved.  Jean could almost see his eyes, twinkling behind the visor he wore.  In all the years she'd known him, she'd seen his eyes, his true eyes, exactly three times.  And she remembered perfectly what they looked like.  A beautiful blue,  stunning in their intensity and brilliance.

'I'm ready,' she answered.  He turned back to peer around the edge of their hiding place, a stack of wooden fishing crates.

She heard his voice in her head again, this time he managed not to turn around and look at her.  'On my mark.'

Their enemy was a mutant by the name of Saber, aptly named because of his speed and ruthless efficiency with a sword.  Normally that wouldn't qualify one for mutant status, but his immunity to any metal wound certainly did.

He was pacing back and forth on the dock in front of them, a sword in one hand, a walkie-talkie in the other.  Cutting a path through the air, he barked into the walkie-talkie, "What do you mean the water's frozen?  It's the middle of July!"

'Storm,' she heard Scott say.  Jean nodded.

'Ok,' he thought at her, shifting his weight. 




They raced out onto the dock together, and in her mind she knew what he wanted her to do.  She could hear his plan as loudly as if he had whispered it right in her ear.

The sword-wielding villain heard them almost as soon as they'd cleared the crates, their footsteps loud on the vacant dock.  He whirled around, dropping the walkie-talkie and raising his sword.  Running towards them on full attack, he seemed more than ready for them.

But he never anticipated Jean's telekinetic power. 

She raised a hand, stopping him in his tracks.  Scott came up next to her, his fingers on the control dial of his visor.

"It's over Saber," he said.  "Those boats aren't getting through tonight."

Saber merely glared at them, his arms still raised over his head, sword in hand.  Jean started to shift the mental 'weight' of holding their angry captive, to free a part of her mind to call the others.

That's when she saw it.

His eyes changed, brightening and shifting to look someplace behind her.  Jean began to turn, a cry of warning on her lips.  Something heavy hit her on the back of the head and she fell to her knees, dropping all the psychic connections she had held so precariously.

"You forget," a new voice said.  "Other telepaths can mask their approach."

"Jean!" she heard Scott's voice cry out.

There was an explosion somewhere close by, the sound of Scott's powers connecting solidly with something and she knew he had his own battles to fight.

The strange new voice taunted her again.  "Come on already, mighty X-Man, give me the thrashing I deserve!"  The voice was definitely female and full of arrogance.  Jean rose to her feet, pushing away the swirling darkness that rose with her and finally saw her opponent.

Bright green eyes glared at her from within a pale face, framed by long brown hair that hung in ragged, unkempt clumps.  The girl's body was thin, almost too thin, speaking of a long-term lack of food.

Jean didn't think she'd ever seen someone look so haunted.  She started to raise her hand again, to push the frail girl away, when she felt it.

When a part of her died.

She screamed in tandem with his soul, felt the same burning slash of pain that had sent him sliding to the ground.  Dimly, she was aware of crashing to her knees as well, putting her hands out to stop her fall.  The world faded around her and she hoped she wouldn't pass out.  She felt horribly flustered and confused.  All of her carefully maintained psychic connections were gone, like gossamer ribbons swirling away from her.  And try as she might, she simply couldn't quite reach them again.

Pouring all of her strength into one last, desperate grab, she reached for the ribbon that she knew saw Scott.  An impossible number of colors, it shimmered and called to her.

But even as she tried to reach it, she saw it was fading, those brilliant colors growing dim and cold.  She almost touched it, the fingers of her mind skating the very edge of that ethereal essence, when it disappeared.

He had his arm around her, his hand stroking her hair.  Contented, she closed her eyes, perfectly willing to fall to sleep.  Scott spoke, a deep rumble with her ear so close to his chest.

"I love you," he said.

Jean smiled.  "I love you too."

There was a moment of silence, where all she could hear was their breathing, almost in time with one another.

"Do you think there's a Heaven?" he asked suddenly.  It was such a youthful, innocent question, she was reminded how young he really was.

"Of course there is," she answered.

"Will you wait for me there?"  He was still stroking her hair absently with his hand, his gaze fixed on the ceiling.

She pushed herself up on one arm and turned to look at him.  "What are you talking about?"

"You know," he said, letting his hand drop.  "If I die before you and we get separated, will you wait until I find you?"

Jean lay back down on his shoulder and reached out to trace his collarbone with her finger.  "But that's not going to happen," she said.  "We're going to die together."  She looked up at his face, still upturned to stare at the ceiling.  "When we're old and our grandchildren have grown to have their own children, that's when we'll die.  In our own house, in our own bed, in each others arms."

In the moonlight that fell through the window, she could see him smile.  "But you'll wait for me, right?"

She lifted her head from his shoulder again, this time to kiss him deeply on the lips.  When she pulled away from him, she said, "Scott, I would wait for you forever.

She could hear them breathing, hear them thinking.  She could hear their plans for her.

So they thought to kill her, to shed her blood?  She would shed enough blood to drown the world.

Jean rose unsteadily to her feet and she knew they thought her too weak to fight.

But they were wrong.

She let the rage wash over her and became a distant passenger in her own body as she took her revenge.  Lifting a hand, she used her power to throw the man who had hurt him, hurt her.  He flew across the dock and she smiled at the sound his skull made as it crumpled against the warehouse wall.  The frail girl she had fought with earlier raised her own hand in defense, but the rage Jean felt made her faster and stronger.  Her smile widened into something unholy as the girl foolishly stepped closer.  Jean turned to the girl, throwing her hand out at the wraith-like form.

"You forgot," Jean hissed.  "Telepaths don't need to mask their approach, not when someone wants them to be found."  The girl shifted uncomfortably in the invisible restraints around her.  "Did you think I would be so foolish?" Jean demanded.  "How else was I supposed to get you to reveal yourself?"

Her hand still raised to hold the girl in place, Jean turned to look at her husband.  He lay where he had fallen.  His visor was in his hand and the energy of his mutant power rushed out of his eyes like a fountain.

A dying fountain.

For even as she saw him there, the red blasts were fading, spilling over the ground like a spreading river.  Fighting against the rising panic that threatened to overwhelm her, Jean summoned the rage that had carried her before and turned to face her opponent.  She slowly closed her outstretched hand, watching as the girl struggled vainly to breathe.

"You should have never shown your face," Jean said angrily.

The girl reached up with her bony hands, clawing at the invisible hold around her throat.  Jean risked another glance at Scott's fallen form and nearly cried out in panic.  The red river she had just seen was gone and her husband was laying so very still. 

She looked back at the girl, surprised to see a look of sorrow in those hollow eyes.  Jean wondered who she mourned for. 

But she never got a chance to ask.  With a final choking gasp, the girl slumped forward.  Jean opened her hand, letting the body fall.

Spinning around, she ran to where Scott lay, falling to her knees beside him.

"Scott?" she cried.  His eyes were closed and he lay so very still.  So very still.  "Scott!" she cried again.  His eyelids fluttered open, revealing normal blue eyes.  "Oh God, Scott," she whispered.  "We have to get you out of here."

"It's not that bad," he breathed.

"You're a horrible liar Scott."  She was crying, sobbing as she pulled at his uniform, trying to uncover the wound.  But she couldn't steady her hands, couldn't help him, couldn't do _anything_.

Weakly, he pushed her hands away.  "Don't worry about it," he said.  Jean could see in his eyes, his beautiful blue eyes, that he was dying.  She sobbed at the sight and brought her hands to her face.  He smiled, trying to reassure her, but it just made his smile all the more sad.  "You can still have everything you've ever wanted," he said with wide, hopeful eyes.  "I don't need to be there.  The house with the white picket fence, the happy children playing in the yard, you can still have that.  You can move on." 

Jean cried again, her heart breaking at his selflessness.  "All I ever wanted was you."

Suddenly, his gaze fell away from her, tracking across the stars above them.  "Jean?" he whispered.  "I can't see you anymore."  She took his hand in hers, trying to ignore how cold it was.  He smiled faintly as she squeezed his fingers.  "But I'm glad I finally saw you," he said.  "Without the red."  A line of blood was slowly trickling from the corner of his mouth and she strained to hear his breathy whisper.  "The colors only make you all the more beautiful."  He sighed softly and she could hear the burden of living in his breath.  "I love you."

She waited for him to speak again.  Waited.  But he said nothing.  He simply lay there, his eyes staring at some fixed point she would never see.

"Scott?" Jean said, trying to keep the desperation out of her voice. 


"No," she said with a sob.  "Don't leave me.  Do you hear me?  Don't leave me alone!"

But he was gone.  She could feel it in her head and see it in his eyes.  No longer the endless blue oceans with eternity in their depths, the eyes that stared sightlessly were dull and stagnant.

She could almost imagine that he was sleeping.  But a nagging voice deep down was screaming at the that he wasn't, that he was dead.  Reaching out with one hand, she closed his eyes.  She let her hand trail down from his eyes to his cheek, her fingers lingering along his jaw.

Slowly, reverently, she lay her head on his chest as she had a thousand times before.  Even dead, he was solid and reassuring, she didn't even feel his blood on her face.  How many times had she fallen asleep like this?  With his hand around her shoulders, his breath softly stirring her hair.

She took one of his pale hands in hers, entwining their fingers and lifting the back of it to her lips, kissing the cold skin.  She would wait for him, no matter how long it took.

He was still staring at the stars when she fell asleep.

Jean shook her head, trying to clear the memory of his death from her mind.  She might have cried at the thought of that tragic night, but she had no tears left.

Shifting in the wooden rocking chair, she let the downy comforter fall from her shoulders.  She drew her knees to up to her chin, laying her head upon them.  She could make it, she assured herself.  All she had to do was wait.

So she sat and watched the snow fall, waiting for the end.  And sometimes, when she almost couldn't bear it anymore, she could hear the floorboards creak.




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