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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Ghosts in Westchester - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Dandelion
Last updated: 07/18/2007 10:21:38 PM

Chapter 5


Jean came into the lab after her talk with Nathan and hovered near the door waiting for me to notice her and invite her in.

I knew immediately that this was an important discussion she wished to have. I finished typing out my thoughts into the computer and then turned to wave her in.

She smiled at me as she sat down at one of the tables and leaned her chin on her hand. "How's it going?"

"I'm glad to be back at the lab," I answered, looking around my workspace. "Moscow was nice in that I was able to make a number of contacts at the University but I wasn't able to do as much there."

She nodded. "And now you can."

"Now I can." I watched her as her eyes traveled over the lab and then settled on me.

"I want to talk to you about Remy."

"All right," I nodded. "I've noticed he's looking a little worn and weary these days."

"Yes he has," her brows knit together. "The creep was overworking. I got him to rest. I'll make him eat later."

"It's good that you're looking after him, Jean," I said quietly. "I'm sure the transition hasn't been particularly easy."

She hesitated. "Hank... do you know something?"

"Could you be a little more specific, Jean? I'm afraid that's a trifle vague."

She frowned. "Do you know something about Remy and me?"

Well, I couldn't very well lie could I? "Yes."

She heaved an irritated sigh. "Does Ororo know, too?"


She threw her hands in the air. "So everyone knows. We've been walking around on tiptoe and everyone knows. I don't believe this."

I removed my glasses and looked at her sternly. "I realize your element of surprise has been taken away, Jean, but I have to wonder why you felt it necessary to hide it in the first place. None of us have been particularly pleased with that."

"It wasn't a slight against any of you, Hank," she told me in earnest. "You know that, don't you?"

"I can't quite say for sure, Jean," I replied. "We've known each other for a long time. I would have thought something like that would rank high on the list of things to talk about."

"Even if I didn't know what to say?"

That gave me pause. I don't know if I can recall a time when Jean didn't have the words to say what she felt. She was always an outspoken woman.

"Even if I didn't know if anyone would approve?"

"Jean, how could you say that?"

"You should know better than anyone, Hank. You were there. You were there to watch Scott and I fall in love." She clasped her hands together and pressed them to her forehead. "This has been such a surprise on so many levels. I can't imagine everyone would just shrug their shoulders and carry on as if nothing had changed. I know Remy isn't the poster boy

for all things X and I know that some people are going to react to this badly."

"I like Remy, Jean," I assured her.

She slapped her hands down on the table. "Liking him doesn't necessarily mean you like him with me."

"True," I steepled my hands. "Let me ask you, Jean. Would it make a difference?"

"I wouldn't give him up just because some people didn't like it. He's come to mean too much to me," she said fiercely. "But that doesn't mean I don't care if people don't like it. It doesn't mean that it wouldn't hurt if my friends didn't approve."

"You may be asking too much."

"Am I asking too much of you?"

I paused. This was almost too heartbreaking. All I wanted since Scott's death was for Jean to have a little bit of hope and happiness in her life again. Now she did and it pained me to think that it was going to be short-lived. Remy may have proven himself to us but the others? Could I be so dishonest with myself as to think that Warren would take this any way but badly? Or Logan? Or Rogue?

And what did I think? What did I *really* think about all of this? Could I lie to her and myself and say I didn't have the slightest problem? Could I say that as long as she was happy that was all that mattered to me? Or should I tell the truth? Should I tell her that seeing Jean with anyone but Scott went against everything I had come to count on?

"Am I asking too much of you, Hank?" Jean repeated herself, looking at me with wide green eyes.

"I don't know, yet."

A rueful smile spread across her feature. "I could always count on you to be honest."

"It's nothing against you and it's nothing against Remy," I assured her.

"I know. It's about Scott."

I nodded. "Like you said, I was there."

Her gaze dropped to the table. "Would you believe I've been afraid all of this time?"

"Afraid, Jean?" My voice rose up into the question of its own accord. "You? Certainly not."

"I was afraid to find someone again, you know," she whispered. "I was afraid that if I found someone that it would somehow negate everything I had with Scott." A hard laugh escaped her. "As if that would happen, right?"

"I don't see how."

"I'll explain. Scott was the man I loved and in order to love someone you have to be willing to give. When Scott died I turned into a miser, locking up those precious memories and feelings so I could keep them close to me." She stared at the table top with a furrowed brow. "I didn't want to share those memories because they were mine and all I had left but keeping them so close, so protected, would start to affect them. It would affect them badly.

"You all thought I needed time to get over it. I bet some of the group never believed I'd get over it, right?" She looked up at me for an answer.

"That's probably true."

"I'd just hoard my memories and feelings, right? You know what? Remy wouldn't let me. He made me let them go because that's the only way to keep them. He said he'd done it, too. Regrets and loss had become such a part of his life he figured the only way to hold onto anything was to keep those feelings closed inside. He said he lost an edge, an instinct, a feeling for feelings and because of that he made mistakes that did more damage."

"Like Sinister?"

She nodded. "He wouldn't let me stop feeling, Hank. He wouldn't let me. Maybe the only reason he didn't was because he didn't see my relationship with Scott from its early days. He didn't know the history so he walked in and grabbed a hold of me and wouldn't let *me* go." She smiled faintly. "I don't love Scott any less because of my relationship with Remy. It's just different, you know?"

I felt stunned. "I know you two spent a lot of time together in Moscow."

"Yeah, we worked on a lot of things together."

"I didn't realize so much happened," I frowned. "Perhaps I just ignored it. One would have to be blind not to have noticed the change in you over the past few months."

"A change for the better?"

My frown turned to a smile. "Well, different."

She chuckled.

"I worried for you after Scott died, Jean. I wasn't sure if you'd ever recover from it. I would have left you alone to deal with it all in your own time." I sighed. "I don't think I would have realized the damage leaving you like that would do until it was too late."

"I know," she reached across the table to grasp my hand in hers. "But I'm okay."

"I can see that," I looked at our hands. "I still... feel unsure."

"It's okay to feel that way, Hank. I did. I still do. This is an uneven road we're all walking down. But... does it make any difference to know that I chose Remy?"

"It makes more of a difference than you might think."

Her smile lit up her face and she kissed my hand. "That means a lot, Hank. You mean a lot."

I grinned and then sobered. "It's not going to be easy, Jean."

"I know."

"But I'm here for you."

Her smile softened. "I know."


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