Title: The Game of Love
Author: extra_ter2estrial
Pairing: S/J/E
Rating: R
Summary: Jean is dead, but is it really over? Inspired by the events in Astonishing X-Men #1.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Marvel. I don't own them (though I wished I did).


Deceit: Scott

I run my hands over her soft skin, fingers tracing the curves. Her body is warm to the touch, quivering ever so slightly. I hover over her, eyes closed, feeling my way around. I haven't done this in a long time. I don't remember the last occasion. It all seems so familiar, yet so alien.

I commit my mind to the physical map beneath me. The dimensions have been altered slightly, but everything is roughly in place where it should be. Blindly, I sieve my fingers through her hair, behind her ear and down her jaw line. I press my lips against hers and trail kisses down her neck to the dip of her collarbone. She whimpers and writhes as I pin her down firmly and whisper gentle sweet nothings into her shoulder.

Eyes still closed my hands slide down the sides of her upper body to her waist as my mouth finds the swell of her breast. She lifts her legs to wrap them over my lower back, locking her heels behind me. Grabbing fistfuls of my hair, she arches her back and lifts her hips and rams her groin against mine. Aroused, I let out a low grunt. My breathing gets heavier just as she starts to pant. I pause for a second on all fours. Abruptly, she throws her arms over my neck and latches herself onto me. She nibbles my earlobe and moans, "I want you now."

There is an electrical tingle down my spine to the tip of my cock, which hardens right on cue. I oblige, a little reluctantly, faintly recalling she was never really in it for foreplay. I position myself, penetrating deep into her wetness slowly. She throws her head backwards and screams my name. I bend over awkwardly to swallow her cry in a hard kiss. The last thing we needed to do was to wake the whole school up in the middle of the night.

We lapse into a regular rhythm. I'm supporting her weight with one hand pressed behind her back, and both our weights with both knees and the other hand on the bed. Not the most comfortable position but that's hardly on my mind right now. She tightens her death grip on me (both thighs and arms) and nearly bites my tongue off. In between thrusts, I feel this great surge in adrenaline. I'm ecstatically giddy, light-headed, while my trembling body signals that I'm about to come.

She breaks the kiss and lets her head fall back. I grit my teeth, eyes still squeezed shut. A drop of sweat dangles precariously at the tip of my nose. My muscles are loosing their tautness as I feel them weaken. Unable to suppress myself any longer, I release my hot seed within her and promptly collapse on top of her, but taking care not to crush her body under my own weight. I cry her name into her neck.


I blink twice before opening my eyes. I'm wearing my visor of course. I have a mouthful of her hair. It takes me a fraction of a second to occur to me that the red hue of her hair is not pure, which technically means that her hair is not red, only my vision. In the next moment, it hits me that Jean is gone from this world. I saw her die in my arms, buried her with my own hands. The realization pains my heart and sears my throat. It's as if I'm swallowing bile, and the following instance when turn to looking at the face lying next to me, I had the vaguest urge to throw up, like those contestants on the reality show Fear Factor which some of the kids watch. It disgusts me to watch it, and even more now to think about it.

She has gone stiff and cold, giving me that pissed off aloof stare. She's piqued, and expecting me to be embarrassed and sorry about it. "Sorry, Emma," I murmur an apology and abruptly turn over. I'm not feeling sorry for anything, neither am I feeling angry with myself, just feeling numb all over. I'm lying on my side, the tears are threatening and damned Emma has to come wrap her arms around me and embrace me like Jean does...used to...


Delusion: Jean

Everyone on the team knows him as the "Fearless Leader". But Cyclops is just a façade, a mask he puts on in front of everyone else when duty calls. In truth, Scott has fears and insecurities, as well as emotions mind you, just as everyone else. He's afraid of being lost, and losing, be it a fight or someone he loves.

People always assume too much, and fail to look past beyond the superficial. It's as if no one could be in a worse off predicament then they are or were in. Scott's fought his fair share of death-defying battles, and probably lost more than he ever gained.

Scott's lost his parents and Alex in a plane crash at eight. He lost his childhood being shuffled around orphanages and being used to the advantage of Sinister and Jack Winters. When his powers manifested, he found out he had absolutely no control over his optic beams as a result of a head injury sustained in the crash. Being disillusioned as a child can do horrible things to your self-esteem.

Down the line, he's lost his first and ex-wife, as well as his first born son in two separate occasions, to the day he still blames himself for what should not have happened. And to top off the list, he lost me not once, but twice, in almost the same manner.

When he lost me the first time, I'm fully aware that a large part of him died with me. I doubt he ever did fully recovered from the first blow, and when I rose from the dead to grace the earth once more, deep down inside of him, he had been waiting for this very moment of déjà vu when the other shoe would drop. If the first blow was fatal, and the second blow no less, would the third kill him?

That would be a little of an understatement, considering Scott did die before. That was the day when he lost himself. Could anyone lose anything more? When Nathan and I rescued him from the depths of darkness, Scott returned half the man he used to be, maybe less. Maybe when the first half of him died with the Phoenix on the blue side of the moon, the other half died trying to save Nate Grey (and the earth). He returned a totally changed man. Mentally tainted with a different swagger. Ruthless. Cold. Unfeeling.

That scared me a lot, it really did. And it was at that point in time I felt I had completely lost the man I loved...love. Right now I watch over his sleeping form silently. His breathing is shallow and short, his body tense; Scott is troubled. He's on his side in a hunched position dangerously over the edge of the bed. I snake my arms around his frame and press one side of my cheek against the nape of his neck. As tough as he is on the exterior, he just loves to be cuddled like the big teddy bear he really is.



Scott's talking in his sleep. "Jean, don't leave me..."

"'I'm not going anywhere, hon." I raise myself on one elbow, tuck an errand stand of hair behind my ear and lean over to caress his cheek. Scott's extremely paranoid of being abandoned. He needs to constantly be assured and reassured that he is loved and adored by someone who loves him. He never really grew out of his childhood fears.

Scott turns to lie on his back, with me propped above him. I reach out to tenderly stroke his messed-up hair. He catches my hand and brings it down to the side of his face, rubbing the back of my hand against it. His smile is soft. I smile back.

"I had this weirdest dream...that you died again...and when I woke up in my dream...someone else was in your place on this very same bed..."

"Shh...it's okay, it was all just a bad dream...I'm here for you now and always will be. I love you now and forever. You know that Scott, you've known it even before the day we took our matrimonial vows."

Scott just held on tighter. "Don't leave me again Jean, don't..." he whispered to the wind. In the darkness, I could see he was crying.


Denial: Emma

I awaken to a suspicious wet spot on Scott's pillow, and a growling Wolverine perched on the far edge of the bed. "So...which stage of grieving is this? Denial?"

Wordlessly, Scott blasts Logan out through the glass window. The two men take this skirmish to the front lawn of the school. How appropriate.

"What's this all about?" Hank scampers into the room without knocking. I'm fully aware that I'm under-dressed, but I couldn't care less. He has his eyes fixated on the brawl out front.

"What do you think? Superpowers, a scintillating wit and the best body money can buy...and I still rate below a corpse." I walk away from the window, out of sight of the two men who can't wait to tear each other apart over a memory. It utterly disgusts me that after all I've said and done for him, all Scott can ever think of is Jean. How gratuitous, that heartless bastard.

Airily, I stalk over to the full length mirror. Judging from the few pieces of antique furniture we did manage to salvage from the ruins of the previous mansion, under Scott's insistence, I must admit Jean had taste in furnishings. The poor darling must be turning in her grave now that Scott has me in her bed. Nonetheless, I'm not one who likes to dwell on the grievances of the past. No matter how much those two testosterone-driven males have embarrassed me in front of the entire student population, one must still maintain her appearances and disposition. I am co-headmistress after all.

The two of them are still there charging like bulls to red flags. I'm standing here fighting the urge to telepathically weasel into their head and shut them off before they kill themselves, or their reputations, which ever comes first. I might have to vouch for the Wolverine, though Scott is pretty much a defiant little creature. I have to give credit.

We females like to look twice at the Wolverine, but for reasons I can't explain, Scott is as alluring to a telepath as a moth to a flame. Scott isn't that bad a full package either. Jean is the luckiest woman to have captured both their hearts, that damned woman, and I'm jealous.

I'm jealous of Scott and Jean, of their self-proclaimed undying love for one another. I'm envious that Jean has Scott wrapped around her finger, totally passionate and devoted towards her. I'm resentful that I can never match up to her in Scott's eyes. Scott rarely puts self before others, even at the expense of his own happiness. With the fortress around his heart impregnable second only to Fort Nox (well, scratch that thought; it's not impossible), how can I possibly make him see past his foolishness?

Or am I the foolish one trying to attempt what all the women before me have tried to do, but in the end failed miserably? I muse while I decide how to wear my hair for the day. In the midst of it all, I suddenly find my reflection distorted. Instead, I see flowing red hair and a pair of green eyes in front of me.

"Aren't you so full of yourself Emma?"

"Get out of my head, bitch. And look who's talking? Who gave up her life and the love of a man for the rest of Godforsaken mankind? And aren't you supposed to be dead already?"

"The Phoenix never dies. I'm just waiting to be reborn."

"Go find someone else worthy to haunt. You don't deserve to be around Scott. Haven't you done enough to him? You nearly killed his heart, soul and spirit. Scott almost wasn't coming back to us."

For a moment, she was silent, as if contemplating the possibilities of an alternate reality. Feeling triumphant, I continue to slash back out at her. "Do you think for one second Scott would ever find happiness with you? You're immortal Jean, and Scott doesn't need to wait around for you till the day he dies. It's just cruel. You have to release him from this vicious cycle of death before it's too late."

She just glares, and for a minute, a myriad images and memories pierce through my mind, leaving me breathless. She shows me what happened to Madelyne, before parting with the words "devotion is cruel".