One by one, students and teachers alike cleared the table and exited the dinning hall, leaving their dishes in the sink. Storm had retreated to the attic to tend to her plants; Roberto and Berzerker to the study for a game of chess; Kitty to her room and the professor to the library.
It was Jean's turn to do the dishes and Scott spontaneously offered to help. It came as no surprise to all the mansion's denizens. Ever since Scott's run in with Mystique in Mexico, following his rescue, Scott and Jean finally submitted to and admitted their feelings toward each other. The weeks that followed strengthened their relationship, and it was clear that they were more than just best friends now. Scott would follow Jean around the mansion like an obedient little puppy, and wherever you found Scott, most of the time you would find Jean. Their case was a cause for both joy and relief.
Right now, the kitchen was empty. Just the two of them tending to a tall stack of dirty dishes. Ever the gentleman, Scott collected both his and Jean's dishes, and ushered her into the kitchen.
"Ladies first," Scott gestured with his free hand.
"Thank you kind sir," Jean returned with a slight curtsy, and a flirtatious smile thrown over her shoulder, as she proceeded towards the sink.
That made Scott's heart skip a beat and he broke into a huge grin. He leaned against the door jamb, as he traced the silhouette of Jean from her red mane all the way down to her slender legs. She had opted to wear a skirt to dinner instead of her usual loose pants, which proved to be very distracting.
Jean was wary of Scott's eyes on her as she turned on the tap and started to soap one of the dishes. Scott was still standing in the doorway.
"Well, are you just going to stand there or lend a hand?" Jean reached out to the dishes in Scott's hands, and with a telekinetic tug floated the dishes over to the sink.
"Huh -- uh? Oh, sorry..." The moving dishes startled him a bit, but succeeded in bring him out of his trance.
"I'll wash, and you -- erm -- dry." Jean handed him the first (cleaned) dish and a towel. They made skin-to-skin contact. The touch was electric and both flinched involuntarily. Scott almost dropped the dish.
Both wondered why small acts like this made them equally as nervous. When they were 'just friends', having their arms linked or over each other's shoulders was nothing at all. Now, a simple hand-holding garnered a lot of (unwanted) attention. Maybe they were just being a little too self-conscious? Or maybe they were just unaccustomed to being a 'couple'? Even when no one is present, they were still shy around each other.
Jean continued to soap the dishes and Scott dried them in silence. Tension hung in the still air. The only sound came from the running tap. After the tenth dish, Scott finally broke the silence.
"So...uh...you free this Friday night?" Scott stuttered as he tried to form a coherent sentence.
"Well, uh -- I could spring you...er...us both from the scheduled Danger Room practice just this once?"
Jean held back a nervous chuckle. She stopped soaping and looked up. "Right. You're asking me out on a date." She returned immediately to her dishes, hoping Scott did not notice her slightly flushed cheeks.
"Uh...yeah, I guess...I felt I sorta owed you one for the concert the last time...I know this great place..." Scott rambled off, absently admiring his reflection in the plate he held. He ran a hand through his brown hair.
Jean snuck a peek as she soaped the last dish, amused. The sound of the running tap drew her to the stream of water flowing from the faucet. She focused and diverted the course of the flow of water, aiming for Scott's face.
"Whoa! Hey!" Stunned, it took him a few seconds to position his hands in front of his face to block the spray.
Beside him, Jean broke into uncontrollable giggles. Her concentration over the water lost, and the stream of water resumed its normal course.
The front of Scott's sweater was all wet, forming a large dark blue patch. Jean was now laughing. Scott's first instinct was to hurl the dish in his hand at Jean (unintentionally).
You're all wet, Jean sent, along with a mental chuckle.
You'll be too when I get my hands on you, Scott was ready to pounce on Jean.
Bet you can't catch me!
Wouldn't count on it!
The two ran out of the kitchen, dishes forgotten, and the tap left running.
Unbeknownst to them, they were being watched.
Scott chased Jean down the main hall, reminiscent of their first years in the institute when they were the only students, and played tag running through the mansion, much to the horror of their tutors.
As they turned a sharp corner, Scott spun on his heels and launched himself forward, and caught Jean by the legs. The force sent both of them falling.
"Ha!" Scott proclaimed, triumphant, and proceeded to tickle Jean all over.
"Uncle! Uncle!" Jean cried as she tried to wiggle her way out of Scott's hold.
"Hmm...shall I dump you into the pool next?"
"Not!" Jean gave Scott a gentle telekinetic shove and pushed herself to her feet. Scott fell on his butt.
"Tag, you're it!" Jean ran into the foyer, and floated herself to the second floor.
"Hey, you cheated! Get back here!" Scott took to the steps two-by-two. But Jean was nowhere in sight by the time he got up to the second floor.
"Kitty, could I hide in here for a sec?" Jean pounded on Kitty's door. No answer.
"Kitty?" Jean turned the knob and led herself in. She closed the door behind her. As she turned around, all she knew was that something had hit her on the forehead, and she was out like a light.
Jean awoke to a bright light shining right into her face, and Scott bending over her. They were in the medbay.
"Alright Jean, you're free to go." Hank stepped away from her, with a tiny, circular gadget in hand.
"Are you okay?" Scott asked, concerned.
"Something hit me...and I was out cold." Jean winced, shielding her eyes from the bright light.
"We were under attack by...uh...someone...a feisty kid it seems. Logan's got it under control. She's gone now." Scott helped Jean sit up and helped her to her feet.
They exited the medbay and Scott walked Jean to her room, half accessing the minor damage done by the intruder, making a mental note to start repairs.
"So I guess Friday night's off, huh?" Jean asked, a little dejected as she caught Scott's thoughts.
"Huh -- no, Friday's fine. If it's fine with you..." Scott's eyes drifted to the side table along the hallway with a broken leg.
"You're impossible slim." Jean sighed.
"I try." Scott looked up finally and shrugged.
"Fine, Friday it is. Goodnight Scott."
"Night, Jean." Scott closed Jean's door.
Walking back to his room, he just could not wipe the grin off his face. He was finally going out on a date with Jean, assuming the X-Men did not have to save the world from a certain apocalypse that night.