Four days. And four nights he sat by the lake that took her away. He had been sure… so sure… of that voice inside his head. Focus Scott focus.
How could a love he devoted his entire adult life to be nothing but a flight of fantasy? A figment of his imagination?He knew in his gut something was coming, someone… was approaching from beyond what his imprisoned eyes could see. And he knew he would wait till kingdom cometh… because she told him to.
Was he losing his mind? Ho. Lets not go there.
He’d tried reason. Be reasonable, he told himself.
But what good is logic and reason that submits to the weakness of mortality but refuses to acknowledge the strength of love? If mortality is to body, is not love to the soul? And is the soul not by its very definition eternal… immortal?
How does one just… stop being one whole person and start being a whole another? As if it was never that important or worth holding on to in the first place? As if love was just a perishable commodity, a pack of dishwasher tablets you replaced as and when you ran out or felt like trying a new fucking fragrance? Why is love no longer sacred to anyone but him anymore?
Whoever invented the concept of ‘moving on’ must just… suck.
Thoughts chased thoughts in circles. There was once a time Jean would answer back, engaging him in constructive discussions from hundreds of miles away. Heck she was the only one he could ever really talk to. But now she was silent.
She’d been silent for so long he’d forgotten he could still talk.
Cyke please… let her go.
Scott shook his head with a jolt. Now he was hearing Wolverine in his head too. How could he let go? How could he, when she wouldn’t?
Scott knew the voices in his head couldn’t be unreal. He couldn’t be that crazy. Not yet.
The soul is eternal, he’d told Xavier when he tried to convince him to return home. I will wait for her here, he had said. And he sensed Xavier shake his astral head in despair, maybe even disappointment. Once, he would’ve cared about that. But that was a lifetime ago. Love is selfish that way.
The SUV stopped right next to where he’d camped on the rocky lake shore. Dark clouds brewed in the sky above, the wind was freezing as it blew his unkempt hair into his face but he didn’t care.
Suddenly he cared, tidying his hair to turn and face his… face Logan.
“You’ve made your point. Come on let's go.”
Scott scoffed, looked away.
He thought I came here to get away from him? Arrogant sonofabitch.
“She’s dead Cyke.”
“Don’t… don’t let her sacrifice go to waste.”
He stood up and faced off, glad to finally have his natural state of annoyance and anger toward the other mutant back.
“You don’t believe me that’s fine just leave me alone! This has nothing to do with you.”
Only the wind dared to breathe in the next few moments. Then Wolverine ventured gently.
“You sure about that?”
Scott didn’t reply, didn’t get a chance to.
Wind fell and with it a calm descended over and around. Time stopped and still both mutants waited, knowing somehow in their guts this was a moment they would remember (or regret) for the rest of their natural lives. The screaming in his head… it grew louder and louder till Scott clapped desperate hands over his ears and fell to his knees. Logan smelt her, stood facing the lake front, defensively covering Scott.
And then she rose.
She stepped out of the lake, shrouded in millions of tiny flames… trail of steam and boiling(?) water in her wake. Her eyes flashed but not with love or any emotion the men would usually associate with the woman they once knew. Logan saw unbearable pain… a terrible loathing… and a grotesque lust for revenge.
All Scott saw was Jean.
She was looming and majestic and terrifying as never before, but by God gorgeous as always. Dressed from toe to chin in deep wine red leather, a cape encasing her square shoulders. Her hair fell to her knees, a darker shade of red than the men remembered it. Drops of freezing water that clung to her form seemed to rapidly vaporise by sheer contact with the… the entity. Indeed the closer she came, the hotter it got.
“No Scott! Wait.”
But Scott was on his feet already. Logan tried pushing him behind himself as ‘Jean’ glided nearer… closer to the two men in her once-life. The woman smiled.
That voice inside his head! Logan now knew what Scott had been ranting about for six weeks.
Scott my love… won't you come to me?
“Scott don’t. Something’s not…”
The younger mutant wasn’t listening. His head was filled once again, his broken heart overwhelmed. All he could see, all he could hear… all he could feel… was redemption. Relief that it was over at last. She was back. She was alive.
That smile… Logan growled, his claws sliding out noisily. Scott was between him and his Jean in a flash.
“What are you doing? Are you fucking crazy?”
“Scott get back, she's not… NO!!”
The entity meanwhile ghosted and reappeared right behind Scott, suddenly wrapping an arm around his stubbled throat. Doubt and shock and Logan’s fear stricken face… and the sensation of something scorching hot strangling him… were the last thoughts Scott would remember from that day at the lake.
But you’re alive!
Then everything went crimson hot, then ashen… and finally faded to black.
He’d woken up to blurry images of vague silhouettes bent over him, studying him intently. There were not many but so many… something blue, something blonde. Focus Scott focus. He thought he saw his Jean, all that red hair… and Magneto? No, couldn’t be. Where was Professor? Ro?
Everything was dark and light at once. He tried to speak and ended up hyperventilating instead. The silhouettes didn’t help nor move. Neither could he. His head swam and sounds reached his water-clogged ears as if from a great distance. Focus. Focus.
…will come for him…
…war may never be over…
He couldn’t focus anymore. He told himself it didn’t matter, Jean was there. He could always rest easy before, knowing Jean would take care of everything. Then why was he so bothered… so… fearful?
Exhausted to his bones, Scott finally let the darkness take him. But not before also vaguely musing why his vision wasn’t so red that night.