"So, what happens to the link?"
"What about it?"
The couple had arrived in New York City just before noon. They'd decided to have lunch in each other's company beforehand, before parting for the last time. Scott and Jean settled down in one of Subway's booths by the window. Jean grimaced as she watched Scott tuck into his calorie-laden footlong sub. She was satisfied with her veggie deli sandwich.
"Do we still keep it?" He asked after swallowing a mouthful.
"Of course we keep it. In fact, we're kinda stuck with it for life, unless one of us decides to break it." She bit into her sandwich.
"No, no, I mean, are we still keeping it active?"
"Unfortunately, I doubt it. The distance could prove to be exhausting. I don't exactly live down the hall from you anymore." She gestured in the air.
"Damn, and I thought we could have nightly telepathic conversations."
"You'd better concentrate on your studies." Jean remarked pointedly. "Besides, we might need some personal space."
"I'd rather spend the time thinking about you." Scott tried his best to put on a mock-forlorn expression.
Jean tried not to choke on her sandwich. "Flattery will get you nowhere. But seriously Scott..."
"I know, I know..." he threw up his hands in defence, "we'll just stick to the internet. I guess I just have to get used to the constant static buzz owing to poor reception." He made a face and Jean glared up at him from her coffee cup.
"Well, I could maintain it when we're in very close proximity."
"You mean like when we get to meet up for lunch sometime?"
"That'll just give you an excuse to ask me out more often."
"Hey, like you said just a few streets down." He grinned.
Jean rolled her eyes. "Oh fine." But she could not help smile at that though.
Finishing up, they left hand in hand. Scott led Jean to her car, and they shared a sweet, tender kiss before stepping away from each other and into their respective cars. They pulled out of the parking area and continued with the final leg of their journey. The red sports car trailed the silver SUV down Broadway before turning into 138th Street while the latter sped down ahead.
Scott went through registrations with little hassle and proceeded to haul his belongings up to his dorm. Many of the freshmen were scurrying up and down the hallways, and others bunched in doorways, going through the getting-to-know-you routine. Lively chatter filled the air as Scott made his way in search of his room. He found his room empty when he arrived. His roommate had not arrived yet. Scott had missed the mention of his roomie's name during registration due to his nerves. He still was not comfortable having his body displaced in an unfamiliar environment. Maybe setting his mind to the task of unpacking would calm him while he waited for the mystery person to make an appearance. I wonder how Jean is doing right now, Scott thought aloud.
He grabbed the bed and desk by the window. The view outside his window was not exactly the best, but at least he could see some sky and greenery. He set up his stationery and laptop on his desk, and of course the all important pictures from home. The biggest was a group shot of all the students and instructors, with the institute in the backdrop. There were his graduation photos, one with Jean and Alex, and another with the professor, Ororo, Jean, Kitty and Kurt. The ones he set on his small bedside table were closer and dearer. One was taken with Alex when he visited him in Hawaii, and a couple more of him and Jean: one of the prom, and the other which was taken just recently at the boatdock, their favourite haunt when they were younger. Scott picked the last frame up and lay down on his back on his bed, reminiscing the days gone by. Sometimes, he wished he could be that young boy again. His index finger traced the silhouette of Jean's frame as he tried to recall the mild scent of her shampoo and the taste of her lips. He left obvious fingermarks on the glass, and impulsively, he got up and cleaned the glass.
A light rapping on the door startled Scott and he leapt to his feet, almost knocking the pictures over. He was cursing lightly as he made his way towards the door. Perhaps it was his roommate. He had been waiting for over an hour already. What surprised him though, was that it was a lanky blonde with waist long hair standing outside his door. It was clear that only members of the same gender could room together. His eyes were a little wide behind his shades.
"Hi, I'm Alyetis Forrester, but I prefer to go by Lee." She held out her hand.
"Hi, uh, I'm Scott Summers." He shook her hand firmly. "Sorry, it was rude of me to stare. I thought for a sec they made a mistake and made you my roommate."
"Oh, no I already have a roomie. Her name's Colleen Wing, but she ran off with some cute guy she met. I'm your neighbour by the way, and I saw you arrive some time ago. I thought maybe something was wrong because you never came out of your room."
"I'm rather, tending towards the anti-social side. And I was waiting for my roomie. Speaking of which, have you seen him around?"
Lee shook her head. The hallways were still bustling, but no one appeared to be headed for his direction. There was a moment's silence before Scott broke it. "You wanna come in for awhile? I don't want to leave you standing here."
"Alright. It seems like neither is coming soon."
Scott left the door open. He did not want to arouse suspicion. His room for now was furnished with the bare minimum, and there was not much interesting to see, except for his pictures, to which Lee's eyes immediately drifted to.
She noticed first the group photograph. "Your family?"
"Not biologically. Friends. We're rather a close knit bunch, so I guess you could call us that. It's...sorta like a boarding school." Scott pointed to the white building in the background.
"Ah." Lee looked around. And she took notice that two people more or less constantly appeared in his pictures. One was a younger boy with blonde hair, blue eyes, and spotted a tan.
"That's my brother Alex."
Then, there was a redheaded girl.
"That's Jean, my girlfriend."
She appeared to be Scott's contemporary. "She's not here in CUNY?"
"She's actually down in Columbia, studying genetics."
Lee found it rather weird that among all the photographs, there was none of Scott's parents. "What about, your...erm...parents?" She felt rather awkward stating that question.
"They were in a plane crash...when I was eight."
Lee's hand immediately went over her mouth. "I'm so sorry."
"It's s'okay." Scott gave her a reassuring smile.
Lee fished out her wallet from her jeans pocket and pulled out a slightly worn photo. There was a little girl in plaits and an older podgy man. "That's me, with my dad. My mom died when I was born." It was taken at a pier. There were many boats and yachts. "He owns a boat rental company. I help out when I'm free."
They chatted for a little while longer.
"I don't mean to be rude, but what's up with the shades? It's not the normal kinds and you don't seem to want to take them off."
"Fashion statement." He joked. "I have an eye condition. Too sensitive to light."
"Oh, nothing serious I hope?"
"If it's kept in check, no."
They heard footsteps in their direction and a soft knock on the opened door. Scott turned his head.
"Paul?" Scott got up to embrace his friend. "Oh my god, it's great to see you again. I haven't seen you since your parents took you out of Bayville High after the...great fiasco." Scott generalized for the benefit of Lee's doubt.
"Great to see you too. It's been awhile. And I can't believe we're actually rooming together."
"You'd better believe it. Oh Paul, this is Lee, our neighbour. Lee, Paul."
"Nice to meetcha."
"Same. Look, I think I'd better be going before Colleen decides to come looking for me. See ya around."
Seeing that the sheets of the bed by the window were rumpled, Paul took that as an indication that his was the one nearer the door. "Aw man, I don't get the one by the window?"
"First come, first serve."
"Don't blame me. New York traffic." Paul proceeded to unpack. "What are you majoring in?"
"Got a girlfriend?"
"Whoa, you guys actually got together?"
"Yep!" And there was this huge grin on Scott's face.
"Well, it was about time she dumped that jerk." Paul referred to Duncan.
"And I thought you were majoring in chemistry." Paul threw a shoe at Scott for that remark.
"Sorry, bad joke." And Scott fell back laughing.
"So, what's she doing?"
"Genetics in Columbia."
"Aww...It would've been cute if you two were in CUNY."
"Her parents wanted the best for her."
"Then why didn't you follow her to Columbia?"
"I don't do social elite. And I thought we'll be distracting for each other."
"Okay, I'm almost done with the main bulk of stuff. Wanna head down to grab some bites? I'm starved."
Scott perked up at that. Food was good. They waved to Lee in the hallway, but she insisted she'd rather wait a little longer for Colleen to return.
It was raining when Jean arrived at Columbia. Scott was probably lucky to have missed the downpour, she thought. But unfortunately, she would have to be caught in the rain. Well, she intended to throw up a telekinetic shield since she had to juggle her luggage and had no hands for an umbrella. But people would notice. Thus, Jean decided to brave the storm like all normal people did, attempting to shelter herself with an umbrella and carry her baggage.
"Need help miss?"
"Help would be appreciated." Jean looked up and saw a skinny, young bespectacled man with thin chestnut-coloured hair.
"Let's get you out of the rain." He smiled and bent to pick up one of her larger bags.
They made it to the sheltered foyer before exchanging pleasantries.
"Name's Ted Roberts."
"Jean Grey." She shook his (wet) hand.
Ted escorted Jean to the registration hall, and upon his insistence, to her dorm. When she got to her room, her roommate was already there and waiting. Ted left them be.
"Hi, I'm Jean Grey."
"Misty Knight." Her voice was low and deep. She had intense black eyes and tight, black curls. "Psychology major."
"I'm interested in Genetics, but first I have to get my undergraduate degree from Barnard." Misty gave Jean a nod of acknowledgement.
Then, she gestured at Jean's overall appearance. "You'd better change into something warmer before you catch a cold."
"I guess I should." Jean was no doubt feeling a little chilly, but the smile she wore was warm. She reached into her luggage for a suitable change of clothing for this drab weather and headed off to change.
"So, who was that guy?"
"Ted? Oh, some good Samaritan."
"I'd say he was just checking you out."
"Oh..." And to think Jean, that you're the telepath. "I hardly noticed. Besides, I'm already taken." Jean fished out the photograph of her and Scott taken by the boatdock. She passed it to Misty. "This here is Scott," she explained, flushing lightly. "He's in CUNY."
Jean proceeded to empty the contents of one bag, mostly her pictures and stationery. She'd do the clothes later. There was the same group shot of the members of the institute, one of the X-girls her with Kitty and Rogue, her graduation photos one with her family, and the other with Scott (and Alex). She had another Christmas picture with her family, and a couple more of her with Scott. Along with her laptop, and randomly arranged stationery, her desk was already becoming cluttered. And half of her frames were still laid on the bed. Misty picked up the one on top of the pile.
"That's Dad, Mom and Sarah. Dad's the chair of History at Bard. Mom's a homemaker, and Sarah just got married."
"My parents are divorced. Dad's a cop, but I don't remember much about my mother." Misty shrugged. "So, why med school?"
"Well, I had this friend, Annie, who died in a car accident." Jean tried to ignore the painful lump in her throat that threatened to form. "It was one of those turning points in your life. Her injuries were very severe, but maybe if someone in the crowd could've reacted fast enough, she could've been saved, even if there was the slightest chance. It felt really horrible; just looking at her I could imagine the pain she was going through." Jean brushed at the tiny goosepimples that formed on her skin. "So I resolved to want to study medicine and save lives."
"My parents constantly quarrelled when I was really young. Dad told me she was having an affair, and naturally, he was furious. There was this one night, the fight got so heated, Dad took out his gun, aimed, pulled the trigger, and missed my mom by less than an inch. They divorced soon after." Misty remarked almost expressionlessly, though Jean could feel the vibes of anger being projected from her. "I was scared stiff and thought Dad had shot Mom head on. He's almost always accurate."
"It's amazing how our life experiences can define who we are." Jean scooped up the remaining frames and arranged them by the bedside. Then, she lay down on her bed and stretched a little.
"Yeah, and I'll probably want to become a councillor, especially for such kids." Misty got up from where she sat and walked towards the window. The storm had downsized to a persistent drizzle. The windows misted a little. She rubbed at the condensate on the glass so she could see the view outside. But the condensate just kept creeping back. It was getting cold outside, but the room was warm and cosy. Jean closed her eyes; she was getting rather sleepy. That was until a rumble from her tummy broke the silence.
"Oops...I'd guess we better head downstairs to find something to eat." Jean crawled from her reclining position.
Both girls grabbed another article of clothing each to slip over before leaving. They met Ted at the stairwell. He waved. Jean met his eyes and reacted with a half-smile before Misty hurriedly ushered her away. Intuition told Misty she was not going to like this Ted guy.
10.00pm **user slim_shadey has logged in**
10.07pm **user jeangrey has logged in**
slim_shadey: ha! u're late
jeangrey: ur clock's fast
jeangrey: wat's wif da name?
slim_shadey: i'm the real "slim" "shadey" haha... get it?
slim_shadey: so y aren't u gettin one?
slim_shadey: *thinks* marvel_girl?
jeangrey: *rolls eyes*
slim_shadey: so, how was ur day?
jeangrey: alright, u?
slim_shadey: u'll nvr guessed wat happened
slim_shadey: paul's my roomie
jeangrey: OMG THE paul?? no way
slim_shadey: yes way
jeangrey: lucky pig :p
slim_shadey: does lucky encompass livin next door to 2 babes?
slim_shadey: ok, ok, so who's ur roomie?
jeangrey: misty knight
slim_shadey: ?? weird name
jeangrey: O.o ... psychology major
jeangrey: wat's paul doing?
jeangrey: spill on ur neighbours
slim_shadey: y ms grey... ;)
slim_shadey: lee forrester, and colleen wing i haven't met
slim_shadey: dun worry, i ain't lookin
jeangrey: got caught in da rain just now
jeangrey: hope not
jeangrey: there was dis helpful guy tho
jeangrey: jealous summers? ;)
slim_shadey: he'd better not b hittin on my gal
slim_shadey: or i'll blast him to kingdom come
jeangrey: literally? lol
jeangrey: but misty is already my self-appointed lookout ^^
jeangrey: dad's a cop too
slim_shadey: might begin to like dis misty person
slim_shadey: we shld get 2gether some time to exchange pointers
jeangrey: i can take care of myself
jeangrey: u worry too much
jeangrey: >:( more like it
jeangrey: i miss home...wonder how da rest r
10.37pm **user *sprite* has logged in**
slim_shadey: hey! kitty's online!
10.38pm **user *sprite* has been invited to join the conversation by slim_shadey**
*sprite*: scott? jean? OMG!
slim_shadey: hey kitty!
jeangrey: hi! :)
*sprite*: jean, like y dun u haf a user name?
jeangrey: dun wanna
*sprite*: like duh, u haf gotta haf a user name
slim_shadey: suggested one, she didn't like it
*sprite*: O.o scott, tt is like
jeangrey: c, told ya!
slim_shadey: fine *rolls eyes*
*sprite*: so, how's college? ^^
slim_shadey: see above
*sprite*: :@ tt's like, super long scott
*>sprite*: da_fuzzy_one: hi! :)
*sprite*: kurt! like get ur own com
10.55pm **user da_fuzzy_one has logged in**
10.55pm **user da_fuzzy_one has been invited to join the conversation by *sprite***
da_fuzzy_one: hey dudes!
slim_shadey: yo kurt!
jeangrey: is da whole mansion comin to join da convo now?
da_fuzzy_one: jean, vhy don't ya haf a user name
*sprite*: we like told her tt
jeangrey: *rolls eyes*
jeangrey: not funny :p
jeangrey: kurt! u type like u speak!
da_fuzzy_one: so, vhat abt it?
jeangrey: c, there it is again!
jeangrey: *throws pillow at slim_shadey*
slim_shadey: *throws pillow back*
*sprite*: pillow fight!
da_fuzzy_one: kitty! LOGAN'S COMIN!
*sprite*: eek! OMG! like, bye guys!
da_fuzzy_one: nite nite!
11.15pm **user *sprite* has logged off**
11.15pm **user da_fuzzy_one has logged off**
jeangrey: tt went well
slim_shadey: tt was curfew
jeangrey: lol hoped they made it in time
jeangrey: tink we shld turn in too?
slim_shadey: i dunno
slim_shadey: fine ... tmr then
jeangrey: mayb they'll come online again
jeangrey: nite slim
slim_shadey: nite jean *blows <3*
jeangrey: eww... scott!
11.28pm **user jeangrey has logged off**
11.45pm **user slim_shadey has logged off**
Footnotes: If you haven't realised yet, Marvel Girl was Jean's original code name in the comics, and likewise Sprite for Kitty. I've also borrowed the 'Jean meets Ted' scenario from the comics. Scott was associated (briefly) with Lee and Colleen, and likewise Jean with Misty and Ted.