DISCLAIMER: Don't own them, though I do covet them.
NOTE: Somewhat AU, basically after Genosha Scott takes off and Jean finds herself spending much more time with the Institute's newest addition, Emma Frost.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Underneath It All
By Janine


Part 17

The foyer of the mansion was abuzz with noise and activity as Jean and Emma descended the stairs. Students and staff a like were fanned out around the opening, peopling leaning against doorways and the banister as the inner circle of the X-Men stood huddled together. Hand sliding down the smooth, polished surface of the banister Jean knew that in the middle of her teammates huddle was Professor X, and beside him, Scott.

Ororo spotted her first, and seeing Storm distracted the rest of the team and the rest of the room soon followed her gaze, their eyes locking on Jean as she descended the last few steps. A hush fell over the foyer as Jean began to make her way towards the assembled X-Men, more than a few eyes flickering between her, and Emma and a space she couldn't yet quite see where she assumed Scott was standing.

Jean took a deep breath and continued forward, resisting the urge to smile nervously as people moved out of her way, parting for her like the red sea, clearing a path towards her husband, soon to be past tense – though he wasn't aware of that.

And finally, after what seemed like the longest walk in the history of her life Jean spotted him. She paused momentarily at the first sight of him, her eyes studying his face for a moment before running up and down his body. He looked very much like the last time she had seen him. His hair was a little longer and slightly disheveled, as usual he probably hadn't been wearing his helmet on the winding roads that led up to the mansion. His chin and cheeks were slightly dusted with stubble and ruby glasses covered his eyes.

She had spent a lot of time in the past months wondering how she would react to seeing him again. There had been tense phone calls in the first eight weeks that had left her feeling impotent and angry in the beginning, and as time went on their conversations became more and more strained. Finally, in the last month of his absence, they had tapered off all together for which she had been eternally grateful, for it was after the phone calls stopped that things had begun to seriously develop with Emma.

She had imagined herself walking up to him and slapping him across the face harshly whispering, "You bastard!" as a stunned crowd looked on in silence. She had pictured herself staring at him from a distance in stony silence before turning her back to him and walking away without uttering a word. She had even thought about him catching sight of her and running over to her apologizing profusely for being such a huge prick and begging forgiveness as he clung to her like he couldn't survive without her. Scenario's like those had haunted her thoughts and dreams for weeks on end.

She continued walking until she was standing an arms length away from him, the rest of the team surrounding them and smiled tightly.


In all of her imaginings she hadn't pictured a greeting like that.

"Jean," he responded staring at her. Not for the first time she wished that she could see his eyes.

Nothing was said after that for a moment as they stared at each other, and everyone watched them stare at each other. And then he took a step towards her, and she leaned forward opening her arms awkwardly accepting his hug stiffly both of them pulling away glad to free of the awkward embrace seconds later.

Emma leaned against the banister, her arms folded across her chest, the very picture of detachment, or so she hoped. She could feel people looking over at her occasionally as Jean made her way towards the assembled X-Men, studying her to see if she would show any kind of reaction to the reunion. Though she and Jean had confirmed their relationship to no one but Ororo, there had been speculation about what was going on between them far before that, and it had only intensified over the past few days as Jean had been spotted entering her room late at night and leaving too early in the morning for it to have been a social visit.

She sighed deeply and tilted her head back looking completely and utterly bored by what was happening in front of her as Jean stopped walking a meter or so away from Scott. She watched them stare at each other for a moment and then lifted her hand up in front of her face bending her fingers over so that she could look at her nails as they hugged.

She didn't see what was so great about Scott Summers. Sure, he was good enough looking, but the glasses he was forced to wear detracted from his looks, and his handsomeness was very boring and plain, like that of a stock catalogue model. Every time she looked at him she was somewhat shocked not to see a golden retriever running around him in circles while he held a barbeque tong in his hand or something equally mid-west, Americana hockey. She knew from personal experience that he was kind of a self-righteous dickwad, and despite the fact that he was the main team's leader, from what she had seen he was nowhere close to being the brightest or most capable of the X-Men. Ororo, Hank, Warren and Jean would have made equally good if not superior team leaders, so that position hardly impressed her either. There was just nothing particularly special or appealing about the man that she could see which only frustrated her more because everyone seemed to love him so very much.

Forgetting her rouse of indifference for a moment Emma glared at him and sighed deeply.

She flinched a moment later as she felt a hand come to rest on her shoulder. Turning her head to the side she prepared to pin whoever it was that had touched her with her most intimidating and threatening look, and did just that. However, it was Ororo that had sidled on up beside her and the black woman showed no particular reaction to the look that had literally made grown men wet their pants in the past. Emma sighed again and shrugged Ororo's hands off of her shoulder. There was no way she was going to stand around there watching Scott feel Jean up while Ororo fucking Munroe tried to comfort her. It just wasn't within the realm of possibility.

Stepping away from the weather witch Emma took a moment to survey the room. There were still a few people watching her. It wouldn't do to make her exit while people gawked at her. Closing her eyes briefly she projected a distraction out into the room, the house plant by the main doors suddenly becoming extremely interesting to those gathered around. Then with a brief look at Ororo, and a long look at Scott and Jean who were standing side by side talking with the professor, Emma fortified her shields and moved towards the back of the foyer and headed towards the kitchen which held a back door and sweet, sweet freedom.

Jean eyed Scott apprehensively, almost they way one would a rabid dog that was stumbling around their immediate vicinity. They had entered their bedroom a few minutes before and after he had deposited his bag near the closet he had turned to look around the room before turning his coloured gaze on her, studying her.

"Snoopy's gone."

Jean blinked, and then turned her head around to look as if she hadn't been the one to take the picture down before looking back over at him.

"Yeah," was all she was able to come with for a response however.

Scott nodded though she knew that he couldn't possibly have been pleased with such a non-response. She watched as he rubbed at his chin for a moment before beginning to walk towards her. He stopped so close to her that she could smell his cologne and feel the warmth emanating from his body. He placed his hand on her hip and then leaned forward.

Jean turned her head to the side and Scott's lips caught her cheek.

He tried to kiss her again and she tensed in his arms, keeping her face resolutely turned away from him.

He stepped back and stared at her. Jean knew that he hadn't expected that reaction and truthfully she hadn't expected it either. She had actually been somewhat curious as to how she would respond to being near him again, to being touched by him. Different scenarios had played through her mind like they had for their reunion scene, but sheer, blinding panic hadn't been something she had foreseen.

"Jean," Scott said softly sounding confused and concerned. "I know that you're upset with me. And that you have reason to be," he continued the last sentence coming out rushed and patronizing as she looked over at him disbelievingly. "I know that I've been gone a long time, and that communication has been scarce … lately," he went on she folded her arms across her chest but listened to him patiently. "I know that you don't really understand, but I really did need this time to sort things out in my head. After … after what happened with Apocalypse I was no good, to you, to the team, to myself. I was lost, I really was, and I felt that I owed it to the team, to myself but especially to you to find myself before it was too late."

Jean forced herself not to react to the last part of his statement. Her facial muscles twitched in protest, but she was sure if she relaxed them she would have actually sneered at him, so she maintained her control. She needed to stay calm.

"Scott," Jean began once she felt able to speak reasonably to him. "I'm glad that you feel better, that you've … sorted out your feelings," she continued. "Really I am, but you can't expect things to be exactly how you left them. Like you said, you were gone for a long time. Things have changed in your absence. I've changed. In…"

"What are you saying?" Scott asked interrupting her just as she was beginning to become comfortable speaking. He did that quite often. Being interrupted was pretty much a staple of speaking with Scott.

Jean took a few steps back placing some more distance between them before running an agitated hand through her hair.

"I," she began before pausing rubbing her neck. Tense, she was very tense. "You have to know that this is not something that I was looking for or seeking out. It's not something that I ever wanted to happen, but it did and …" Jean paused and took a deep breath. She had to just say it. "There's no easy way to say this, so I'm just going to say it. Scott, I … I've developed feelings for someone else, strong feelings. Love," she said drawing herself up to her full height. "I've fallen in love. With someone else," she finished. She realized the last part was probably somewhat unnecessary, but she was nervous.

Scott stood perfectly still for a moment and then lowered his head, his right hand curving into a fist as he did.

"Logan," he growled still looking down. He seemed to be shaking slightly.

"Not Logan," Jean said quickly not wanting Scott to go barreling out of the room in search of Logan who had only returned to the mansion himself a few days before.

Scott's hand unclenched and he lifted his head to look at her. Jean was somewhat glad that she couldn't see his eyes.

"Who?" The question came out tight and controlled.

Jean looked at him trying to decide whether it was the right time to finish the conversation or not. Scott was controlling his emotions, an ability he had spent many, many years perfecting, but she could tell that he was very close to losing that control. She knew that what she had said had come as a great blow to him, and she didn't want to make things any more difficult at the moment. It wasn't that she was afraid that he would hurt her if he got any more upset, she just wasn't sure that she would be heard if he got any angrier.

She decided against putting it off however. If she didn't tell him that night it meant that she risked him hearing something from someone else, accidentally or intentionally and that would make the situation worse. She didn't want to hear about it from someone else.


Scott stood still staring at her for a long moment.

"Emma Frost?" He asked almost as if he were asking for a clarification of price at a drive-through window.

"Emma Frost," Jean confirmed.

"You're in love with Emma Frost?" Scott asked. He sounded completely and utterly bewildered.

"I am," Jean responded simply not wanting to risk confusing the matter with a lot of words.

"Emma Grace Frost?"

Jean sighed. "We can talk about this more in the morning when you've had some time to absorb it."

"…in the morning?" Scott asked seeming to come out of his stupor a bit. "Where are you going?" Some of the anger he was feeling was finally beginning to appear in his voice as he remembered seeing Jean and Emma descend the stairs together earlier. "Are you going to spend the night with her?" His voice was flinty, accusatory and as cold as she had ever heard it. She couldn't be mad at him. Despite the fact that he had left, she was now the bad guy in the equation. He had come back and she was leaving. She was leaving him and he had a right to be upset.

"No," Jean sighed. "I'm not going to see Emma," even though she really wanted to. She wouldn't do that to him until they had a chance to talk more. The last thing either of them needed was the dining room abuzz in the morning because she had been seen going into Emma's room the night her husband had returned. "The parents of a few new students are staying over tonight so the guest rooms are filled up. I'm going to stay with Ororo tonight."

Scott's fist clenched again and he stared at her for a long moment.

"Are you sleeping with her too?" he finally asked resentfully.

Jean couldn't blame him for his anger or the response but it did confirm to her that they would not be able to talk about the situation they found themselves in reasonably any more. It was tell for her to leave.

"I'm not going to respond to that," Jean said softly watching as Scott turned away from her. "I'll come by tomorrow morning. We'll talk. If you need me, I'll be with Ororo."

He kept his face turned from her.

She breathed in deeply and moved towards him stepping around his stiff form. He didn't move a muscle as she moved past him. She continued to the door. When she pulled it shut she could see that Scott was still standing frozen in the same position.


Part 18

The next morning…

Jean stared at her reflection in the mirror. She looked like ten miles of bad road. She'd barely slept the night before, she tossed and turned plagued by nightmares she couldn't quite remember when she shocked herself (and Ororo) awake. She gotten out of her friend's bed then and spent the night staring at one of Ororo's books, not really reading but not really thinking either. Just sitting there staring blankly.

She jerked slightly her head swinging to the side when she identified the noise.

Someone was knocking at the door.

"I didn't think you'd really be in here," Scott said as Jean opened the door to Ororo's room brushing past her before she could get a word out. He knew that Ororo wasn't inside, he'd seen her head down on her way to breakfast a few minutes before and when Jean wasn't with her had seized upon the opportunity to catch his wife in a lie. Despite what she had said he was certain that she had gone to spend the night with her blonde whore.

"I told you I would be," Jean replied finally closing the door and leaning against it as Scott stalked about Ororo's bedroom for a moment before finally turning to face her.

"Your word doesn't really mean a hell of a lot to me at the moment," Scott responded unkindly staring at Jean for a moment before averting his eyes. She'd sworn to love him and obey him, in sickness and in health until death did them part, but she hadn't kept her word then. He was still very much alive, and if you loved someone you didn't go around fucking other people while they were in crisis.

"I never lied to you," Jean replied her voice holding a hard edge, sounding much more like Emma than herself at that moment.

"No," Scott admitted. He supposed Jean hadn't lied to him outright. "You just whored around behind by back," which is much better, much more honorable he thought to himself self-righteously.

"You were out in the wilds of America with no way to reach you," Jean began her voice rising slightly. "That's a hell of a lot of back!" she went on losing the battle with her own temper. "I told you what happened as soon as you decided I was important enough to acknowledge!"

"So this is my fault?" Scott asked incredulously. He couldn't believe she was trying to turn not being able to keep her legs shut around on him. He'd been away from her as long as she'd been away from him and he had never entertained the idea of leaving her for some pretty piece of ass.

"Honestly? Yes," Jean exclaimed. "In part," she added realizing that she was beginning to sound unreasonable. "You left, you left for a long time Scott," she continued forcefully calming her voice. "You didn't just leave the door open you blew it off of its hinges, tossed in onto the front yard and then drove a bulldozer through the doorway."

Scott glared at her. He needed time, he needed space, neither of which was the same as agreeing to give up his wife and marriage. "So I should have expected you to spread for the closest warm body the minute I left the mansion?" He asked coldly.

Jean breathed in deeply, her eyes narrowing. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut and took some more deep calming breathes. She could feel herself beginning to lose control of her temper, really lose control of her temper and she knew she couldn't afford to do that. If she let the Phoenix force out she could take out the whole mansion in a moment of fury. She needed to calm down before responding to him.

"Are you trying to punish me?" Scott asked when Jean didn't respond. "Is that what this is all about?" he continued completely oblivious to the struggle going on within Jean and the danger his taunting created. "I leave and you can't get a hold of me, so you bed Emma Frost to make my life hell when I get back?"

"My god," Jean exclaimed in exasperation, finally feeling the fire within calm, the ridiculousness of his claim giving her a bit of needed distance. "Not everything in the fucking universe revolves around you Scott! I'm not prostituting myself to her as part of some elaborate and retarded plan to make you feel bad. Jesus," she sighed shaking her head.

"Are you going to divorce me?"

Jean looked over at him. At the moment she really couldn't see why she had even struggled to make the decision. "Since I'm such a vindictive whore, I'm surprised you're not jumping at the chance to get rid of me," came her soft, disillusioned reply.

"I didn't mean that," Scott replied sighing a moment later. He really hadn't. He knew Jean, he knew that she wasn't like that. He just couldn't … it made him so mad to think about someone else touching his Jean, his wife, to think of Jean touching someone else; especially someone like Emma Frost. It hurt. "I was lashing out."

"I know," Jean acknowledged lifting her hand to massage her temples. "I understand."

"Are you going to leave me?" Scott asked again seeing Jean's weariness and tension.

Jean looked over at him. There it was. She looked away needing a moment to compose herself. She had been with him for so long, and she had loved him. It wasn't as if her feelings for him, their feelings for each other had been a lie. They had been in love once, her heart had once beaten faster at the sight of him, and his touch had once made her shiver.

"Do you still love me?" Scott asked, real anxiety in his voice as he looked over at his silent wife.

Jean looked up at him at the sound of his voice, automatically taking a step forward responding to the pained tone, but she stopped herself before she could move any farther. That wouldn't help anything.

"Yes," she said watching him from a few meters away, but she continued quickly before he could interrupt again. "But … I'm not sure it's in the same way I once did," she went on. "We haven't really talked to each other for a long time Scott, and when you were in pain you didn't share that with me. You ran away. And I'm not saying that it's all your fault, I know that I'm culpable for my own actions," she continued, her mind involuntarily flashing back to the first night she made love with Emma. "I just have to wonder what state our marriage had fallen into that pretty much anything was better than talking to me, then being around me. I," and here she paused knowing that what she said would hurt him but knowing that it was unavoidable. "I've felt things with Emma that I haven't felt in a long time," she finished, leaving out the 'or ever before' her mind had supplied.

Scott moved stiffly over to Ororo's bed and sat down his head almost immediately falling into his hands.

"You're really in love with her?" He finally mumbled a minute later, his voice muffled as he looked down in his lap.

Jean released a shaky breath and leaned up against Ororo's dresser. "I am," she said her voice shaky as she watched his dejected figure. She looked away blinking, feeling tears in her eyes as an overwhelming wave of guilt washed over her. She never meant to hurt him, she really didn't. She didn't want this to happen, but she couldn't stop it.

Scott looked up in the silence that followed Jean's reply, looking over at his wife to see her tears in her eyes and automatically stood up. Moving on instinct he walked over to her and reached out using his thumbs to wipe away the tears that had escaped her eyes. He held her face cradled in his hands for a moment and then leaned forward pressing his lips against hers, trying to convey his love for her through the kiss.

Jean breathed in deeply at the feel of his lips surprised and not surprised by the action. She forced herself to remain still, to allow the contact since she was as curious as Scott was as to what her reaction would be. And as he deepened the kiss she got her answer: minimal.

She thought of Emma and how the blonde's kisses lit her up inside. Just a brush of Emma's lips against hers made her heart flutter, the smell of the blonde, the press of her body against her inflaming her and causing her breath to flutter.

She moaned slightly at the thought, and then came back to herself. Though there was once a time when the press of Scott's lips made her knees weak and her breath hitch there was no flutter with Scott now, there was no flame.

She pulled away from his lips averting her eyes unable to meet his gaze.

Scott kept his eyes on Jean's averted face. She couldn't even look at him. He had been aware that she hadn't been responding to his kiss at first, but she had moaned and leaned into him for a second and he had hoped that maybe the situation wasn't as dire as he'd thought. But as she looked at her guilty expression a chill went through him. Whether it was through the link they shared, or simply because of the years they had spent together he could feel what Jean was feeling and he knew, he just knew no matter how much he wished he could deny it, that it wasn't him she had been thinking about when she had responded to the kiss.

"I can't believe this," he said sounding shocked staggering back over to the bed and sitting down. "I just …" he looked up at her helplessly. "You're really serious aren't you?"

Jean bit her bottom lip and then silently moved to sit beside him.

"I'm serious."

Scott nodded.

"There's an empty room beside the professor's," he began a second later. "I'll be there."

Jean nodded silently. She considered telling him that it wasn't necessary for him to move out of the room, but decided against it. Telling him that she could stay with Emma wasn't likely to improve his mood any. Besides, she wasn't quite sure that she was ready to move in with Emma or that Emma was ready to have her move in despite the rather significant steps forward their relationship had taken.

Scott stood up slowly, still looking slightly dazed. "I don't think I can talk to you for a little while," he said his back to her as he turned to face the door.

"I understand," Jean replied softly her eyes on Scott's tense back. She could make sure that she'd stay out of his way, it was one of the benefits of being a telepath. She'd make sure to tell Emma to try and stay out of his way as much as possible as well. If he couldn't stand to be around her, she knew that her girlfriend would be an equally unpleasant reminder of the way things had turned out.

"I love you Jean," Scott said his back still to her as he spoke. "I've never stopped loving you, no matter what I've done," he continued his shoulders slumped and his voice carefully modulated, the emotion he felt being revealed by what he didn't let show in this voice.

"I know," Jean replied her voice barely a whisper. "I'm sorry," she continued. "I'm so sorry, Scott, I …"

Scott held up his hand and she stopped speaking.

"I can't take anymore of this," he said moving towards the door. "I can't hear anymore."

And with that he disappeared through the door leaving Jean sitting alone on Ororo's bed.


Part 19

Later that morning…

Jean used the key Emma had given her the day before to open the blonde's bedroom door before closing it softly behind her. The room was dark, the only light filtering in from a small crack in the heavy curtains Emma still had pulled over her windows. She could hear the shower going and automatically made her way towards the open washroom door. Leaning against the door frame she looked into the foggy room. Despite the condensation she could make out Emma's nude figure through the frosted glass of the large shower door.

She reached for the helm of her shirt and began to pull it over her head.

She had kept her word the night before and had not gone to Emma's room, but she knew that she needed to speak to her lover and had contacted Emma telepathically while Ororo was in her greenhouse tending to her flowers before turning in for the night. She had been worried at first when she couldn't reach the blonde, fearful that Emma had closed her mind down to her as she had that night in her room when she had stopped touching the blonde after seeing Scott's picture.

She hadn't even really realized how used to Emma's mental presence she had become over the past few weeks until the panic she felt at not being able to reach the blonde registered with her.

She had stretched her powers as her unease grew and was then able to feel Emma by the lake at the edge of the Institute's grounds. She called out to her and felt herself begin to worry again when Emma didn't respond right away, but her lover eventually replied. She had given Emma a brief rundown of her interaction with Scott and her plans for staying with Ororo for the night. Emma's responses were minimal and clipped but before contact was cut between she felt the blonde send her a rush of feeling and relaxed for the first time since Ororo had contacted her earlier that evening. She knew that Emma wasn't pleased, but also that the blonde wasn't really mad with her so much as with the situation. She also picked up on a sizable feeling of relief from Emma when she had mentioned spending the night with Ororo. They'd had a lot more to talk about, but she was tired and could feel Emma's resistance to talking so she had reluctantly let the blonde go after giving her the necessary details.

Emma turned her head to the side as she heard the shower door open and spotted Jean's lithe, nude figure in the doorway. She had been aware of the redhead's presence since she had entered her bedroom and was aware of being watched from the doorway of the washroom but she had been rather lost in thought and so was slightly startled by Jean's appearance in the shower.

"Hello Tiger," Emma breathed out a moment later turning fully to face Jean as the redhead closed the shower door behind her.

"Hey, baby," Jean replied smiling briefly before moving towards Emma holding out her hand releasing a breath she hadn't known she was holding when Emma took her hand gently in her own and tugged her towards her body.

Jean stepped into the warmth of Emma's body, wrapping her arms around the blonde's waist, hugging her tightly, so relieved at the feeling of being near Emma that she didn't particularly care that her arms kept sliding against the blonde's slick skin making it hard to keep a tight hold on her.

"I'm sorry," Jean whispered against Emma's slick collarbone barely aware that she was speaking. "I'm sorry," she repeated once again trying to draw Emma closer to her.

"For what?" Emma asked softly pulling back from Jean's embrace a little so that she could see her lover's face.

"For," Jean began searching Emma's face as she thought about what she was apologizing for and realizing that she had absolutely no idea. "I don't know," Jean finally said lowering her eyes and shaking her head, a dark chuckle releasing itself from her throat. "It's been a rough ten hours."

Emma placed her fingers under Jean's chin and tipped the redhead's face up so that she could see her again. She felt bad, she had been abrupt with Jean the previous night preoccupied with her own thoughts and fears and concerns. She could see now how rough the night and morning had been on Jean, but she hadn't thought about how hard it must have been for the redhead to face her husband and confess to cheating on him when Jean had been talking to her the night before. She'd probably just added to Jean's stress, and while her concerns about herself were relevant and always first in her mind, she knew she should have also considered Jean's.

"I know," Emma said gently staring at Jean for a moment before sighing softly and drawing her into another hug. She wanted to say more, to apologize for her hesitance the night before but she couldn't force the words past her lips.

"He's moved out of the room," Jean mumbled a few moments later pulling back from Emma needing some space to talk about Scott. Emma released her hold on the redhead giving her the space she seemed to want.

"How do you feel about that?" Emma asked carefully keeping her voice neutral. She knew that the fact that Jean was there with her should have been answer enough, that it should have reassured her but she was still anxious as hell about the entire situation. They'd only been a couple for three days and Jean had been married to Scott for over five years. Sure she had superpowers, a scintillating wit and the best body money could buy but that kind of history was enough to make even Emma Frost feel insecure.

Jean laughed at the question the sound dark and chocked. "Sad … relieved … scared," Jean murmured making a jerky movement as if she were going to try and close the distance between Emma and herself before stopping the motion and staying where she was. "I don't know. I don't think I've really processed it all yet. I'm just glad it's over … the talk I mean. The rest of it …" she waved her hand vaguely. There was the rub, the 'rest of it'. She was sure that next few days and weeks would be just as trying as the past ten hours, but at least everything was out in the open and that was something.

"You were together for a long time," Emma responded softly slipping into therapist mode trying to view Jean's words objectively. "It's natural to feel some anxiety over the change in your relationship," she continued logically. "It's perfectly normal to feel lost and confused."

Jean looked over at Emma as she finished speaking studying her features closely. Emma's face was a blank mask and her eyes seemed unfocused and distant even though she was looking directly at her.

Jean took a step forward erasing the small gap that had existed between them and grasped Emma's face in her hands. "Don't do that."

"What?" Emma asked vaguely avoiding her gaze.

"Don't distance yourself from this," Jean responded seeing the blonde retreating into herself. She knew that this was difficult for Emma, that the blonde had to be feeling somewhat uneasy about the rapid change in their situation, but she was feeling pretty goddamn uneasy herself and she couldn't do it alone. "Don't, I couldn't bare it."

Emma sighed deeply and turned her eyes to face Jean. She could hear the truth of the redhead's words in the tone of her voice. Truthfully she hadn't even realized that she was doing it.

"It's an ingrained defense. Some sort of survival tactic I seem to have picked up over the years," Emma said softly shifting uncomfortably. "I don't really know what to say," she sighed a moment later looking away from Jean uncomfortably.

Jean smiled at that, Emma Frost at a loss for words was rare.

"Just be honest," Jean said finally. She didn't expect Emma to have all the answers, she barely had any herself; she didn't care if the blonde was confused and uncertain as long as they could be confused and uncertain together.

"I'm glad," Emma a moment later breathing in deeply, "I'm positively exultant he's moved out," she went on meeting Jean's eyes staring into them intently. "I didn't want to have to share you even for a little while," she continued pausing for a moment, her eyes skittering away from Jean's for a moment before she finished. "I've … you've," she went on frowning slightly as she stared at Jean's shoulder keeping her eyes averted from the redhead. "I ne … ne," Emma continued closing her eyes as she struggled to get her words out. She didn't think that she had ever stuttered before in her entire life. "I need you," she finally stated firmly grasping her sudden and unwanted sophomoric bout of nerves and beating them into submission. Emma Frost didn't stutter, not even if she was madly in love.

Emma's body was stiff and Jean could see the tension in her muscles and hear the strain in the blonde's voice. Jean lifted her hand to Emma's face, feeling her jaw twitch slightly at the contact and nudged Emma's head towards her so that she could see her eyes.

"You have me," Jean said softly unconsciously echoing the words she had said to Emma the first morning they woke up in each others arms. Emma stared at her for a long probing moment and then Jean felt the blonde's mental touch caressing her shields and lowered them further to admit Emma. She was glad for the contact, Emma had been fairly closed off to her since Scott had returned and not knowing what the blonde was feeling put her on edge. She knew that Emma was worried and anxious about the situation and that she was keeping her mental distance in part because she feared if she got a glimpse of Jean's thoughts that she would find that despite what Jean had told her that once she saw Scott again that her old feelings for him would come back and Jean would leave her.

She held back nothing from Emma knowing that the other woman would interpret any subterfuge on her part in the worst way possible. Her emotions when it came to Scott were still confused, shame mixing with pangs of old affection, guilt, relief, the desire to comfort him, bewilderment at the change in her feelings upon seeing him again, regret and a swirl of other emotions she couldn't even begin to identify residing within her. It made her slightly uncomfortable to show all of that to Emma and she might have worried about what the other woman's reaction to her feelings would have been if she wasn't certain about her feelings for the blonde. Even though to think about how it had come about and how it had developed so quickly sometimes bowled her over, she did love Emma and she knew that the blonde would feel that too, and that it would eclipse any feelings of turmoil she had about Scott.

A few moments later Jean felt Emma's probing stop. The blonde remained in her mind but her presence was no longer searching. Jean watched as pale eyelids closed over lavender eyes and Emma's chest fell as she released a deep breath. When Emma's eyes opened again Jean could see relief and resting her hand on the blonde's shoulder could feel her body begin to relax once more.

Jean stepped into Emma's body wrapping her arms around her lover drawing her into her body, sighing as she felt Emma's body practically folded around her. She kissed the blonde's neck tenderly as her hands stroked her back soaking in the feel of Emma's body against her own. And then when Emma pulled back from the embrace slightly Jean surged forward her lips pressing against Emma's forcefully and intently and she poured everything she felt for blonde into it trying to convey to Emma physically all of the emotions she had sought to show Emma moments before. She felt so much for Emma and her desire for the blonde began to pound against her, battering her emotional defenses like a tidal wave as she kissed her lover.

"I need you too," Jean whispered nipping at Emma's cheek as her hands began to roam Emma's body in earnest. "I need you too," she said again her hands sliding over the firm round globes of Emma's ass before squeezed them fervently, Jean's eyelids fluttering a moment later when she heard Emma gasp as her hand moved from the blonde's ass to slip between her legs.

"Jean," Emma gasped as the redhead's fingers slipped between the moistening folds of her sex. She was wet though it was mostly from the shower at that point, however Jean's sudden, aggressive touch was rapidly bringing an entirely different kind of lubrication to her sex and she found herself moaning. She grasped at the lithe body in front of her.

"I need you," Jean repeated once more rubbing her fingers between Emma's legs more intently as she kissed her way down the blonde's neck. "I need," she mumbled against Emma' shoulder before biting down lightly, "to be inside," she went on as she felt Emma's hands grasping at her hips, her fingernails scraping against her rapidly heating skin. "Feel you pulling me in," she continued her fingers slipping inside of Emma as she spoke, her fevered desire only slowing down when she meet some resistance as she pushed inside of her lover. Heart pounding she pulled her lips away from Emma's skin enough to see the blonde's face, terror seized Jean momentarily as she wondered at the force of her desire for this woman that she might be so unable to control her passion for her might have entered Emma before her body was ready for it. Her need to be with Emma had hit so suddenly and intensely that she could barely think. However her worries evaporated as Emma's hips jerked against her hand and the blonde groaned before leaning forward and taking Jean's earlobe in her mouth biting down lightly.

Emma wrapped her arm around Jean's waist tugging her backwards until the blonde's back connected with the shower wall. She had been in an awkward position, practically on her tip-toes with her legs spread apart to give Jean access to sex after the redhead had entered her so suddenly. Her movements to accommodate Jean's thrusting had been automatic her arousal spiking sharply at the uncharacteristically impulsive move and she hadn't thought about her ability to maintain the position. However as Jean's movements intensified she knew she wouldn't be able to maintain the position for much longer. In fact, as Jean's thumb brushed roughly against her clit she was surprised she was able to remain standing upright. She felt her legs fall farther apart and was sure she was about to go tumbling to the ground as her hips thrust forward to meet Jean's fingers with no concern for her personal safety, but she remained upright.

Emma's body shook. It felt like Jean was caressing her entire body. She stretched her mind out inside of Jean's sighing as she realized that Jean was touching her everywhere. The weight on her hips that was keeping her upright was telekinetic. The movements on her breasts as one of Jean's hand moved between her legs and the other fondled her buttocks were telekinetic, and the other million tiny little electric touches that made her feel as if she was about to explode where all Jean as the redhead used her hands and mind to touch her everywhere.

"...do ... I do … need you …"

Emma clutched at Jean, her mouth opening silently as her eyes closed and her head tipped back, her hips thrusting forward one last time against Jean's hand as her orgasm ripped through her, the redhead's words echoing so constantly through her mind that she wasn't sure who was repeating them, herself or Jean.

Emma sagged against the cool tile of the shower wall, Jean's mental touch still strong at her waist holding her up as her entire body went limp. She was feeling nothing but bliss at that moment, any previous thoughts that had been weighing on her mind nothing but a distant memory, and she could feel Jean's relaxed state as well through their lowered shields.

Emma smiled contentedly. "I need," she began still smiling softly as she lifted a tired and shaky hand up to touch Jean's cheek, "to shower with you more often."


Part 20

A week later…

Emma yawned and moaned slightly rotating her neck before gathering her hair in her hand and pulling it back into a ponytail. It had been a habit of hers to work out in the morning – jogging or swimming while it was still dark and most of the mansion occupants were still asleep – but she had gotten lazy about maintaining her routine for the past week, finding it more difficult than she had anticipated too drag herself from bed while Jean was in it beside her. She found herself feeling rather restless that morning however and refused wake Jean up just to keep her entertained. She also couldn't stay in bed trying not to move for the next hour or so before Jean woke up so she decided it was the perfect opportunity to get back into her routine.

Walking through the pool doors Emma was surprised to hear splashing. She'd never encountered someone at the pool at that hour before. Pausing just on deck Emma stretched out her mind frowning a moment later when she realized who occupied the room with her. She sighed as she realized she was going to have to abandon her swim. A promise was a promise after all, or at least it was when she made it Jean.

However, as Emma prepared to turn around and head back into the change room, the figure in the pool approached the edge and began to hoist himself out of the water, his face turning in Emma's direction as he did.

Emma stared directly into the ruby red goggles and remained where she was. Jean had made her promise not to upset Scott and she intended to keep her promise, but she wasn't going to turn around and run away after she had been spotted. Her pride wouldn't allow it.

"Scott," Emma greeted her tone bored as she watched him grab a towel. She could as well have been ordering two sugars for her coffee.

"Emma," Scott returned his voice cold and controlled. The sight of her set him on edge. Every time he saw her smirking, arrogant face all he could think about was her hands all over Jean's body, kissing her, touching her, and laughing at him in her head.

"How's the water?" Emma asked in a friendly voice her eyes running over Scott's body as she spoke and he toweled off. The goggles made him look rather ridiculous but he did have a nice body. Jean at least could pick them pretty.

Scott stared at her for a moment and then pointedly turned to look at the control unit at the side of the room that automatically regulated the pools temperature. "Fine," he muttered glaring at her irritated beyond belief. "How's my wife?"

Emma smirked. She had been trying to be nice but if a verbal battle was what he wanted a verbal battle he would have. "Fine," she responded looking down at her nails and buffing them with her thumb absently. "She's sleeping. Poor dear's exhausted," she continued a moment later, a suggestive smile touching her lips as she met Scott's gaze. She couldn't see his eyes, but she could feel the hatred pouring off of him.

"I don't know what she sees in you," Scott finally breathed out scathingly forcing himself to take a deep calming breath. The blonde was vile, she was a cold hearted reptilian predator and at that moment he hated her with every fiber of his being.

"Funny, I've been thinking the same about you," Emma responded the smile gone from her face. Her eyes were hard and her tone clipped and icy. "Although apparently the answer is 'not much'," she continued watching as his jaw clenched at the dig.

"If you've done anything to her," Scott began threateningly taking a step towards Emma. There was just no way that Jean could actually be in love with her. Emma had proven time and time again that she was completely unscrupulous and cared only about herself. Sure she was good looking, she was very good looking but Jean wouldn't have been taken in by good looks and charm alone. It wasn't outside of the realm of possibility that the blonde decided to take advantage of Jean's generosity and …

"Really darling," Emma replied interrupting Scott's mental tirade, her voice a hard purr completely unaffected by Scott's tone and movement forward. He was too much of a gentleman to actually attack her and even if he wasn't there was little he could do to her in her diamond form. His posturing was pathetic and all it did was prove to her that he was even more impotent than she already thought.

"That was crass and hurtful," she continued. "Besides I couldn't possibly do anything to Jean and we both know it. She's far more powerful than I am," she went not surprised in the least that Scott would suggest she had manipulated Jean into being with her, but hating him for voicing it. Even at her most unscrupulous she had never violated anyone in that way. Male egos were so fragile but her understanding had its limits and he had just blasted through hers with his insinuation.

Scott stared at her hard for a moment knowing that what the blonde said was true. There was no way that Emma could have tampered with Jean's mind enough to manipulate her into thinking she was in love with her without Jean sensing it.

"You don't deserve her," Scott said finally trying not to sound as petulant as he was feeling.

"Probably not," Emma admitted surprising him. "But neither do you. I know you'd like to think that I'm a creature of pure evil and that one day Jean will come to her senses and run back to you begging for forgiveness, but that's not going to happen," she continued holding Scott's ruby gaze. "I love her, and perhaps despite all reason, she loves me."

"She loved me too," Scott retorted viciously as Emma paused for a moment.

"Yes," Emma admitted shifting her weight uncomfortably. She knew that Jean had loved Scott very much once and that despite the fact that she had left him that in a way she still loved him and always would. It bothered her, but when she could roll over and hug Jean's body against her own it bothered her less.

"But unlike you I don't plan on leaving. I'm sure you don't want to hear this but I don't particularly give a flying fuck. You took her for granted Summers. You became complacent. You got used to pulling your 'woe is me' bloody emotional angst operatics and have Jean forgive you. You thought you could go on doing whatever it was that you felt like without any consideration for her feelings or desires and still have her waiting for you with your slippers and a newspaper in hand whenever you came home. That was a mistake. A big mistake," Emma told him her voice firm but not as unkind one would have expected. "One I don't plan on making. Really I should be thanking you Scott. I've learned so much about what not to do watching and hearing about how you blundered through your marriage."

"You have no right to …" Scott growled furiously.

"I'm talking!" Emma interrupted loudly enough to be heard over his indignant hiss, her tone hard and firm. "Wait your turn," she continued in a chastising tone, barely resisting the urge to smirk as he gaped at her opened mouth for a moment after her interruption. "I'm going to do everything that you didn't, Scott. I'm going to tell her and show her that I love her. I'm going to listen. I'm going to let her in," she went on tapping her head for emphasis, making Scott grind his teeth as she reminded him of one of the major problems between him and Jean. "And when things get rough, I'm going to fight for her. I know how special she is and I'm not going to give her up," she finished not breaking their eye contact not even blinking as she stared intently into ruby covered eyes.

Scott broke the gaze Emma initiated turning to glance around the room. He was taken aback by her little speech. He hadn't actually believed that Emma had genuine feelings for Jean. From what he had known of the blonde he was certain that she was just satisfying some whim of hers and that Jean was just too trusting and sweet to realize that Emma was using her. But he believed her, squeezing his eyes shut behind his goggles and clenching his fist, his heart ached because he believed what Emma had just said.

"You make stealing someone's wife sound almost noble," he said finally his voice soft but scornful.

"I didn't steal anything," Emma responded sighing wearily, tiring of this conversation. It was an exercise in futility. She and Scott would likely at the best of times be civil towards each other, if that. She was wasting her breath talking to him. "Jean's a person not an iPod. You can lose a person but no one can steal one. The only thing I did was be there for her," Emma continued needing to see the conversation through to its bitter end though she didn't really think it would make a difference, "the one thing you seemed unable to do, which is really too bad for you because it was what she needed the most."

Scott stared at Emma for a moment, unwanted memories of Jean reaching out to him, trying to talk to him, begging him to let her be there for him and to help him filling his mind. He was difficult he would admit that, he should have handled the situation better, he should have tried to deal with his feelings instead of boxing them inside until they overwhelmed him and he needed t get away. He should have let Jean help him, but he didn't and he regretted it. He regretted it so much. But was that really a big enough transgression for Jean to leave him? It seemed it was and that thought was more than he could deal with at the moment.

Emma stepped to the side as Scott stalked towards her and then past her heading for the change room without another word or a glance at her.

Taking a deep breath Emma sighed wearily and made her way towards the edge of the pool sitting down and letting her legs dangle in the water. She didn't feel much like swimming anymore.

Part 21

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