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 21

A week later …

Jean took a deep breath and then exhaled, her breath ruffling her hair for a moment as she bounced on the heels of her feet outside of the dining room. She and Emma had been avoiding the meal rushes since Scott's return preferring to dine out, sneak into the kitchen after the dinner rush or take their meals in Emma's room. She knew that the blonde wasn't exactly thrilled with her request to keep a low profile, but she wanted to give things a little while to settle down before officially appearing in public together. That being said, she knew that the faculty was aware of what was going on between them and that staying away any longer would begin to look suspect or worse would begin to look like an admission of guilt or shame. Emma had been away most of the day on Frost Industries business so Jean figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to test the waters and if they were too stormy then she'd simply warn Emma away when the blonde returned to the mansion.

Jean pushed through the doors her eyes immediately scanning the faculty table for a familiar mane of white hair. Spotting Ororo and seeing an empty chair beside her Jean relaxed slightly. Ororo had told her that she would have her back, but having her at her side would work just as well.

"Evening," Jean greeted forcing a smile on her face as she slipped into the chair next to Ororo sweeping her gaze around the table her eyes holding on Scott's sullen figure for a moment before she reached for the water pitcher. "What's on the menu?"

"Meatloaf," Bobby responded after Jean's question met dead air as everyone was too busy surreptitiously staring at her. "It's not exactly Cornish dame hen or some fancy crap like that, but at least it's not broccoli and tofu."

"Broccoli and tofu?" Jean questioned as Hank passed over a bowl of rice to her. Bobby nodded and shuddered. "I take it you were responsible for that?" Jean continued looking over at Ororo who frowned at Bobby slightly.

"It …" Ororo started to say.

"Don't tell me tastes like chicken!" Bobby exclaimed. "It doesn't taste like chicken. It doesn't taste like anything. It's like chewing paper … only spongy, which is worse. And even if it did taste like chicken, I'd rather just have chicken," Iceman went on gazing around the table his expression saying 'am I right, or am I right?'

"It was Szechwan tofu broccoli with fried rice, and it was quite a popular selection with our female students," Ororo responded looking at Bobby steadily. "Every night can't be Sloppy Joes or franks and beans."

"Yeah, but can't new at least taste good?" Bobby complained. "Tofu is like eating water. Well, water that is disturbingly chewable."

Jean relaxed a little more and began to eat as Bobby and Ororo continued to playfully argue with other, the other members of the table quickly being drawn into the discussion. It was awkward – as she had expected – when she first sat down but things were improving, even though she could still feel eyes on her and sense the others tension about being around her and Scott knowing that he had moved out of their room and that she had practically moved into Emma's. However she realized that only time would be able to alleviate those stares.

Turning her gaze away from Kitty who was practically rolling her eyes out of her head at something Rogue had said, Jean focused on Scott again. He hadn't said a word since she had sat down, he hadn't even looked at her but she couldn't say that she was surprised about that either. She considered contacting him telepathically so that their conversation would be private but she didn't want to upset him. Dinner was going better than expected and everyone was making an effort to make it as comfortable as possible and if Scott wanted to ignore her instead of fight with her then she would leave it at that for the moment.

Jean didn't need to look up when the conversation at the table died to know that Emma had just entered the room. Turning to look behind her, Jean saw Hank rise from her side and offer his chair to Emma. Emma smiled at him and they held each other gaze for a moment before Hank opened and shut his mouth without speaking shaking his head. Jean momentarily wondered what her girlfriend had said to him telepathically however as Emma approached the table and seated herself beside her, Jean was distracted by the tense air around the table once more.

~Has it been like this all evening?~ Emma sent to her a moment later as Ororo passed the salad bowl over to the blonde silently.

~Not exactly~ Jean responded.

~Lovely~ Emma replied knowing exactly what that meant as she glanced up to meet the faces that were staring her.

"Thank you," Emma said looking each one of the people gawking at her in the eye. "I know I'm breathtaking. Can someone pass the wine?"

The comment seemed to do its job and break the ice a little or at least enough that people guiltily averted their gazes so that they were no longer outright staring at Emma, except for Scott whose gaze had been trained on her mercilessly the moment she had walked through the door.

"As long as the food train is moving, does anyone know where the gravy is?" Kitty asked looking around the table as Emma received the wine bottle and poured herself a glass before absently turning to top up Jean's glass as well.

"Frost probably took it," Scott responded coldly his gaze shifting from Jean's glass to Emma's face. He had promised himself that he would keep himself in check when the time came that they would all be face to face but the familiarity of Emma's actions had rattled him. Jean had kept her promise to stay away from him for a while and other than the morning at the pool had managed to keep Emma away from him as well, but he knew that the day would come when they wouldn't be able to avoid each other anymore. The knowledge that he would have to see them together day in and day out tortured him and he seriously considered leaving the school again, but he couldn't do it. He couldn't abandon the team again. Besides the mansion was his home, these people his family, and he wasn't going to let Emma Frost chase him out, let alone prove the woman right by leaving once more. That being said, not nearly enough time had passed for him to be able to even tolerate the sight of the blonde.

Jean sighed softly after Scott spoke and prepared to speak before Emma could respond afraid of what the blonde would say in response.

"Actually, I did," Emma replied pleasantly smiling at Scott almost chummily before Jean could speak. "Good eye Cyclops," she continued winking at him before holding the gravy bowl out for Kitty.

Scott's jaw clenched and he squeezed the fork in his hand until his knuckles began to turn white. Not for the first time he wished that Emma was a man so that he could just cold cock her one.

"Professor, you were talking about the arrangement of the teams," Ororo said in the brief silence that accompanied Scott and Emma's little exchange.

"Yes," Professor X responded. "Indeed I was," he continued focusing everyone's attention away from Scott and Emma for a moment. Jean knew that he had been communicating with Scott telepathically all meal long, probably trying to distract him or comfort him. She had spoken to the professor weeks before about her feelings for Emma after her chat with Ororo. He had advised her to seriously think about the consequences of her actions and not act rashly, but that ultimately the decision had to be hers. She knew that meant that he thought exploring her feelings for Emma would be a mistake, and though he hadn't said anything about it, she knew that he displeased with the decision she had made.

"With Scott back," Xavier continued. "I think it would be best if we returned to our original team assignments."

Jean looked over at him surprised. She was on Scott's team but when he had left had been moved over to Ororo's. She had thought that she would stay with Ororo since she was certain that Scott wouldn't want to have to spend more time with her than necessary. Besides that Scott was in charge of training new recruits and if they went back to the old roster that would mean Emma would be on his team as well, which would be awkward to say the least.

"Emma will stay with my team then," Ororo said in the silence that met the professor's announcement the tension around the table decreasing slightly at Professor Xavier's affirmative response. Once again Ororo had gracefully defused a potentially uncomfortable situation.

"Joy," Emma muttered in response to the announcement. "More chances to be electrocuted."

Ororo smirked at that and looked past Jean to Emma. "That was an accident."

Emma raised a questioning eyebrow. "Twice?" she asked dubiously causing a few snickers to go around the table.

Ororo shrugged. The second time really had been an accident. "At least now we know that your diamond form is resistant to electromagnetic forces," she volunteered helpfully.

"Anything for science," Emma responded flippantly holding Ororo's gaze before smirking slightly, "I'll have to make a note to update my résumé."

Conversation among others around the table resumed after that, the din of voices taking over and washing over Jean like the finest composed music.

~You truly are a goddess~ Jean sent to Ororo a few moments later thanking her friend for handling the situation. She was sure any attempts she would have made would have been far more awkward and much less appreciated.

~Anytime~ Ororo sent back warmly. She had promised to watch Jean's back.

Jean turned her attention to Emma a few seconds later as Warren leaned closer to Ororo to speak with her. Dropping her hand below the table Jean found Emma's and took it into her own. Outwardly Emma seemed completely unaffected but Jean could feel tension emanating from her lover.

~How're you holding up? ~

Emma reached for her wine glass. ~A meal with awkward silences and people who hate me. It's like being at a Frost family function~

Jean squeezed Emma's hand and then stroked the skin with her thumb tenderly.

~It'll get better~

~I try to avoid my family as much as possible, so …~

~Emma~ Jean interjected before the blonde could finish. Emma knew that wasn't what she was talking about.

~If you say so~ was the blonde's response though Jean could see the tension in her back lessen and felt her hand loosen and relax.

~It's already started. If I'm not mistaken you were just joking with Ororo~ Jean's happiness at hearing the teasing banter flowing to Emma with her thoughts.

~She keeps talking to me~ Emma replied with a sigh, though Jean could sense something that closely resembled fondness in the response. ~I suppose we've developed a rapport~

~I'm glad~ It pleased Jean to think that Emma might have someone besides her, Professor Xavier and Hank to talk too. Ororo was smart, funny, intelligent, and as loyal a friend as she had ever known, it would be good for Emma to have someone like that around her too.

~Yes~ Emma replied as she moved her fork around on her plate not really eating anything. ~It'll be good for me to make some friends. Do you think I should invite her to my pool party? There's going to be a clown and a pony!. She'll think I'm so cool. ~

Jean smirked and shook her head resisting the urge to lean into her lover. That was one of Emma's utterly huggable moments but a public display of attention would have been in bad taste. That meant that Jean had to content herself with moving her fork over towards Emma's plate to spear a baby carrot.

Emma made a jabbing motion with her fork as if to ward Jean off but then relented and allowed Jean access to her plate her eyes drifting across the table to Scott's. He was watching them again. They stared at each other for a moment and she wondered if she needed to prepare herself for round two. However as Jean's gaze returned to her Scott's drifted away, his shoulders slumping. He looked completely depressed and as Emma reached under the table and placed her hand on Jean's thigh as the redhead asked her how her meeting went, Emma felt an uncharacteristic pang of sympathy for how much it sucked to be Scott.


Part 22

Three weeks later … Christmas

Jean floated the star up towards the top of the tree squinting with effort as she tried to place it on the top, the laughter around her as she struggled to center it distracting her and making the star wobble even more.

"More nog?" Emma asked sidling up beside her mildly intoxicated lover, her head tilted up so that she could see the star twittering above the tree.

"Very funny," Jean grumbled focusing her attention on the tree once more and finally managing to place the star securely on top. "And thank you," she continued smirking taking the cup out of Emma's hand and taking a pleased sip.

"Oh look who's finally decided to grace us with her presence," Ororo commented walking up behind Emma and slapping her on the back before moving closer to the tree causing Emma to glare at her. They weren't sharing a locker on the football team after all. "You know you're helping with the tree, right?"

"Sorry, I'm afraid I didn't get the memo, dear" Emma responded feigning disappointment. "I think I'll just keep getting Tiger drunk, thanks."

"It's tradition Emma," Ororo responded glaring at the blonde playfully. "The faculty decorates the tree and the student's back seat drive. It's," and here Ororo gave a small smirk as she continued to look at Emma intently, "a gushingly good time."

Emma plastered a tolerant smile on her face at Ororo's teasing use of one of her favorite words. "Why don't we just have Jubilation stand by the tree and shoot off sparklers every sixty seconds?" she asked a moment later turning to smile at Jubilee who smiled back and then flipped her the bird. "How uncouth," Emma responded still grinning, "detention."

"Oh, come on Frosty," Jubilee complained looking around at the other teachers for support. "It's a social function! Besides, I was just joining in the Christmas cheer!"

"I find that difficult to believe," Emma replied dubiously, sneering slightly.

"Sure," Jubilee replied her brain searching desperately. "It might have *looked* like I was flipping you the bird. But it was really a partridge in a pear tree."

Emma smirked at that as the others who were within hearing ranged chuckled. She was still planning on giving the girl a detention however despite her clever response but Jean's gentle presence in her mind calmed her Scrooge-like natural instincts and she simply waved Jubilee away from her dismissively before reaching over towards Jean and plucking her now half empty glass of eggnog out of her hands and downing it.

Sighing, she realized that she was going to need something stronger if she was going to make it through the night.

Emma blinked and jerked her head back slightly as a bottle of amber liquid was shoved in front of her face. Automatically sneering a bit she turned her head to the side to see Logan with a cigar in mouth standing beside her holding out a bottle of – she looked at the label – whiskey. Focusing on the smoking man beside her she arched a questioning eyebrow.

"You look like you enjoy these things as much as I do. Trust me, it helps," he rumbled as Emma glanced at the neck of the bottle and then at his hands seeing no glasses.

"I'll pass," Emma muttered looking away and turning her attention back towards the room. "Besides, I'm sure you'd much rather be swapping saliva with Jean."

"Suit yourself," Logan responded drawing the bottle back into his body. He wasn't going to respond to the second half of Emma's statement. They both knew it was true, and while most of the time he and Emma got along much better than he and Scott did at first, they were never going to be best buddies. It seemed as if Jean was forever out of his reach but that didn't stop him from loving her, and he was sure that Emma would never be anymore pleased about that than Scott was.

They stood in silence for a moment the quiet between them only broken when a bell rung out in the main part of the room and Hank announced that it was time for carols.

"Oh for the love of …" Emma muttered darkly. "I've reconsidered my position," she stated holding out her hand to Logan, ignoring his smile as she took the bottle. "I better not catch anything," she added glaring at him before taking a healthy sip.

Logan shook his head and accepted the bottle back. Charming as always, he thought as he patted down his jacket and then reached inside. Pulling out a cigar he held it out in front of Emma's face much as he had the bottle of whiskey.

"I'll take your liquor, but it's going to take a lot more than off key singing to get one of those things in my mouth," Emma replied pushing his hand away before focusing her attention on him for a moment. "Nice to see you dressed up for the occasion," she commented a moment later taking in his jeans, rumpled plaid shirt and leather jacket that was about twenty years past it's prime.

"Hey," Logan shrugging meeting Emma's gaze. "If it ain't broke…"

"Upgrade," Emma interjected smirking. "There's always room for improvement. Or, Tide," she continued eying his shirt.

"Not always," Logan responded ignoring the last part of Emma's statement. His clothes were perfectly … relatively clean. As he spoke his eyes drifted out into the main part of the room and locked on Jean as she stood beside Ororo and Hank singing. The fire place was behind them and it lit up Jean's hair making it seem as if she was glowing.

Emma followed his gaze to Jean and watched her lover's smiling form for a long moment. "I suppose there is an exception to every rule," Emma replied finally, her voice softer, her bravado gone for the moment as she continued to look at Jean. "And she's it for most of mine," she continued her voice a soft whisper tinged with surprise and pleasure.

She had spoken softly enough that most people wouldn't have been able to hear what she had said, but most people didn't have Wolverine's hearing and Logan turned to consider Emma thoughtfully after she spoke. When he had come back to the mansion and heard the whispers between the X-Men about Jean and Emma, he hadn't been thrilled to say the least. He had always believed that Jean and Scott wouldn't last forever but when their marriage crashed and burned he had always envisioned himself ending up with Jean in his arms. The fact that she had fallen for someone that wasn't him – and he could see that she was in love – didn't sit well with him. The fact that it was Emma Frost of all people made the feeling even more rancid. He'd observed them closely since coming back, fully intending to test out the durability of Emma's diamond form if she was playing Jean but as much as it bewildered him he couldn't see any subterfuge on Frost's part. And standing there beside her as she watched Jean any remaining suspicion he had faded away. As Emma focused on Jean her features and voice softened, but what was really significant to him was that her scent changed and that was a response that couldn't be faked.

Logan continued to observe her for a moment and then nodded to himself before silently holding out the bottle to Emma again which the blonde accepted with a slight curving of her lips but without comment.

Jean took a deep breath and then reached out and knocked lightly on the mahogany door in front of her. She had seen Scott slip out of the party about half and hour before but had been surrounded by people and wouldn't have been able to follow him without making it obvious.

"Hey," Scott greeted guardedly staring at Jean dully as he leaned in the doorway of his room. "What's up?"

"Can I come in?" Jean asked softly, her arms linked behind her back. She had a present for him, she'd gotten it months ago before things had changed but still wanted him to have it. She also wanted to talk to him. They hadn't really talked to each other since the day of Scott's return, they'd interacted and in the last few weeks had even managed to do so civilly when training, but they hadn't *really* talked and she knew that they needed to, and, well, 'twas the season.

"Yeah," Scott said stepping back to make room for her though he didn't sound thrilled by the idea.

"This is for you," Jean said after Scott had closed the door and turned back around to face her. "I know it seems strange, but I …I wanted you to have it."

Scott reached out and accepted the present staring down at it for a moment before looking over at Jean. "I didn't get you anything."

Jean nodded and bit her lip awkwardly. "I didn't really expect you to," she admitted softly stepping to the side as he moved to place the present on his dresser.

"Do you want me to open it?" Scott asked. He had placed the present down on the dresser but he was still touching it, his back to Jean as he looked down at it.

"If you want to," Jean responded. The truth was she wasn't particularly sure how he would respond to the gift. She knew that it was something that he had wanted and that he could use, but she wasn't sure if it would upset him by reminding him of the change in their relationship. She had debated with herself for a long time about whether or not to give it to him before realizing that Scott didn't need something to remind him of how things had been. He hadn't forgotten just as she hadn't. In the end, she had decided to give it to him wanting him to know that she still cared, and was still thinking about him, even if she could no longer be married to him.

Scott was silent for a moment and then slowly and carefully began to unwrap the present. He wasn't really surprised that Jean had shown up or that she had gotten him something. She had given him the space he'd requested at first, but she had been making overtures trying to talk to him for the past couple of weeks and given that this was a time of year that she loved he knew that she would step up her efforts with him. He didn't particularly want to be having the conversation he was sure they were going to have, but he was tried of feeling it looming around them and would be relieved to get it over with.

Scott ran his fingers over the polished wood handle that lay inside of the box. Inside was a brand new St. Croix saltwater fishing rod. He closed his eyes behind his glasses feeling tears his power stopped him from being to shed form behind his eyes. She remembered. Before the mess with Apocalypse had started he had been talking to Alex about going on a saltwater fishing trip, the two of them chartering a boat and heading out to Florida for a couple of weeks in the summer to do some fishing. He had been excited by the prospect and mentioned the idea to Jean talking about how he'd need to get a saltwater rod since he only had freshwater ones and about a few other things that would be needed to make the plan a reality. As far as he could remember he'd only talked to her about it that one time, his attention being drawn elsewhere a few short days later, but she had remembered.

Scott clenched his jaw and straightened his back. He had to stay strong, at least until she left.

"Thank you," he said forcing his voice to remain calm, glad for once about the damned glasses he was forced to wear so that she couldn't see his eyes. "I'm surprised you remembered."

"You were excited about it," Jean said responded softly. Scott was very good at controlling his emotions but she could still feel some of what he was experiencing. "I remember," she continued equally softly. "I care."

Scott took a deep breath and then focused his attention on her. "I know," he breathed out a moment later acknowledging that fact for the first time since his return to the mansion. "I said a lot of things that first day that I regret," he continued staring off into a corner of the room. "I know you didn't … that you weren't trying to hurt me," he went on his jaw twitching a little. "But you did Jean. I'm dealing with the fact that we are not longer us. I am. But it's going to take a while longer for me to really be okay with all of this, to accept this, and move on. I don't hate you Jean, but I'm still hurt, and … I'm just not there yet." He paused for a moment running his hand through his hair agitatedly. "It's different for you, you stopped loving me …"

"I still …"

"You fell out of love with me," Scott amended really not feeling able to deal with hearing Jean explain how she still loved him and would always love him but in a different way. "I haven't fallen out of love with you. I wish it was that simple, that I could just snap my fingers and be happy for you instead of feeling like my heart is being squeezed in a vice every time I see you two together, but I can't," he continued shaking his head. "Not yet," he added, hoping that one day that would change because they had been friends before they were lovers, before they were married, and he missed her, not just as his wife but as his friend as well. He wanted them to be friends again, he really did.

"Is there anything …" Jean began to ask wanting desperately to be able to do something for him, to try and make things better somehow, but knowing even as she began to speak that there wasn't really anything that she could do. It was a situation that didn't allow for an easy fix. He was trying, she could see that, and she would just have to give him time to deal with it. It was just that she hated to see him in pain, especially knowing that she was the cause of it.

"No," Scott said interrupting her. "There's nothing," he continued firmly though his voice was not unkind. "You can't undo this Jean, you can't fix it. I just need time."

Jean bit her lip and nodded. She wanted to hug him or something but knew that the gesture would not be appreciated. "Alright," she said slowly reluctantly. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Yeah," Scott responded finally looking directly at her, forcing his voice to be more open than it had been when she had first come to the door. "And Jean," he said quickly as she was about to move through the open doorway, "Merry Christmas."

Jean paused and smiled, "Merry Christmas, Scott," she said before closing the door behind her feeling much better about things than she had thirty seconds before.

Jean was glad for the noise and commotion when she rejoined the party going on in the living room. The crowd was a bit thinner, some of the students having gone to bed because they needed to be up early in the morning to go home, but there was still a sizable and rowdy crowd gathered.

"You missed Santa handing out presents," Emma murmured into Jean's ear, moving to stand behind the redhead wrapping her arms around her waist in a loose embrace as she spoke.

"Santa?" Jean asked relaxing slightly into Emma's arms a smile playing across her lips. Emma was always so openly affectionate when she drank. "Who?"

"Let's the just say that the ones in malls probably don't smell as strongly of beef, cigars and whiskey," Emma replied shaking her head. Logan hadn't even bothered with the fluffy white beard. The kids seemed to find his half-assed attempt at dressing up hilarious however, not to mention the way he kind of grunted names and flung the presents at them.

"Aww," Jean said her eyes scanning the room for Logan, smiling as she saw him scowling and using his claws to undo a troublesome bow for one of the kids. "I wish I'd seen that."

"You can," Emma told her pleasantly and then opened her mind drawing Jean in to her memory of the present exchange, smiling as she felt Jean's amusement and delight at Logan's 'costume' and the students' reaction to it and his unique take on Santa Claus.

"Ms. Grey."

Jean blinked giving her head a little shake as her name being called drew her out of Emma's mind.

"Sorry Amara, what was that?"

"You missed your present," Amara said blushing a little holding out a package for Jean as her eyes drifted from Jean to Emma behind her. Jean had to fight the urge to blush herself as she realized how intimate their position was. The teachers and a few of the older students had known about her relationship with Emma, but the general student population hadn't. She figured that was about to change rather quickly however.

"Thanks Amara," Jean said having to elbow Emma a little to get enough room to reach out and accept the package. "Are you enjoying the party?" she asked very aware of the girl's attention and cursing Emma for not releasing her and putting some space between them. In fact not only was the blonde not helping she actually made things worse by looking over Jean's shoulder to get a better look at the present and then whispering in her ear 'mine was bigger'.

"It's great," Amara responded her eyes shifting between them as Emma spoke. "Are you having a good time? And you, Ms. Frost?"

"If I looked up heaven in the dictionary, this just might be it," Emma responded smiling feeling Jean's annoyance as the redhead responded to Amara herself speaking with her for a few more moments before the girl excused herself, practically running across the room to where a group of her friends were standing beginning to speak with them excitedly a moment later.

"Nice Emma," Jean breathed out as Amara scampered back over to her friends.

"They would have found out sooner or later," Emma responded shrugging. "You should heed the advice of the great philosopher Diana Ross on this particular matter and just say it to the world, 'I'm coming out, I want the world to know, got to let it show,'" Emma continued smirking as Jean reached back to swat her in the stomach.

"You're so very amusing," Jean responded dryly even though she was smiling as she spoke. "Come along, it's time to be social again," she continued ignoring the smirk Emma shot her at her very Frostian phrasing.

Two hours later …

"Yes, but the secret Santa program was fixed," Emma drawled as she topped up Ororo's champagne glass from the bottle she had been enjoying for the past half hour. The students had all gone to bed about forty-five minutes before which left the teachers to play.

"Really? And what's your theory on crop circles, Frost?" Warren asked smirking at Emma who was holding herself together amazingly well for someone who had consumed as much alcohol as she had.

"Hardy har har, Big Bird," Emma responded glaring at the handsome blond. "But Charles did have a hand in this making this secret Santa game slightly less … what's the word I'm looking for … ah yes, secret. Or was I the only one that got meddled with?" she asked narrowing her eyes at Professor Xavier.

"There was no conspiracy theory, only common sense at work" Charles began smiling slightly. "Besides, I'm sure Ororo was much easier to buy for than Scott."

"Yes, yes, she really did enjoy that PVC raincoat," Emma responded winking at Ororo who glared at her and made a rude hand gesture causing Emma to smirk as her eyes drifted around the room, a small smile coming to her face as she did. "However, in the spirit of the season I decided to get Summers a present anyway," she continued a moment later holding up her champagne class in a toast to the season. "I thought perhaps I'd buy him a razor since he seems to taking grooming tips from Wolvie lately," she went on smiling at Logan who simply lifted up his beer in acknowledgement of her comment. "But then I thought that a Taiwanese hooker might be just what the doctor ordered. And … oh look she's arrived," Emma continued clapping her hands together delighted as she looked towards the entrance of the room, everyone's curious and slightly horrified gaze following hers. "Oh wait, that's just Betsy," Emma announced with mock disappointment once everyone had spotted their teammate. "It's so easy to get confused. Oh well, maybe next year."

Betsy glared having heard every word of Emma's little speech. Jean shook her head. That was her girl, making friends wherever she went.

Jean sighed and reached over plucking Emma's glass out of her hands while the blonde was distracted basking in her own wit. Emma was officially cut-off, but Jean knew that her lover had already consumed enough to keep her in an equally good mood for quite some time.

A moment later she watched as Emma looked down at her hands and frowned in consternation and tried not to smile. It was going to be a long night, but it had potential to be a very amusing one as well.


Part 23

Three months later ...

Jean looked up from her book as Emma marched into her room walked over to the bed and flopped face down muttering something unintelligible into her pillow. Watching her lovers dramatic display for a moment Jean then smiled fondly and walked over to the bed, their bed – she wasn't officially living with Emma but she had pretty much forgotten what her room looked like. She placed her hand on Emma's back and made gentle, soothing motions.

"What's wrong, baby?"

~You've ruined me~ Emma sent to her in a perturbed and slightly petulant voice though she shifted a little closer to Jean so that her face was resting beside the redhead's thigh.

"Ruined you?" Jean asked trying to keep the amusement out of her voice. This would be good, she was sure of it.

"Yes," Emma muttered turning onto her back so that she could look up into Jean's face. "They think I'm personable now," she continued frowning slightly. "It's strange and unsettling."

"What happened?" Jean asked again knowing now that it would be good. People didn't exactly take Emma lightly, and she certainly hadn't gone much easier on anyone since they had gotten together, but she had noticed a significant thaw in the way most people dealt with the blonde once their relationship became public. There were some students, mostly girls who read romance novels and thought Scott was dreamy, who thought Emma was a home-wrecker and did little to mask their thoughts, however most of the student population had responded with indifference or mild titillation to the development.

Emma sighed and began to send images to Jean of her last period class. They had been getting into the third act of "Hamlet" when after a random comment by Sherry Carlyle the conversation had turned to Valentine's Day. They'd been working well all class so Emma decided to give them a few minutes to discuss the topic and get their minds off it before using it to spring board their discussion into personal relationships in the play. However, after a moment or two she felt the attention in the room shift to her once again and saw Sherry's hand waving in the air excitedly as the girl stared at her. The child had then asked in a very animated voice if she had any plans for Valentine's Day causing a twitter of noise to ripple throughout the classroom. "That's enough of that," she had responded simply and moved to the white board to begin writing a note when another student continued. "I heard Ms. Munroe talking to Mr. McCoy and they said that Ms. Grey likes skating. All I'm saying is … the ice capades, could be fun." Emma turned around at that and blinked. Not only had they kept on talking after she had clearly said 'that's enough of that' but they had started talking about her. "They're not five Jimmy!" Another student exclaimed as Emma stood by momentarily speechless. "I heard Rogue say that she heard from Kitty that Mr. Worthington said that Ms. Grey likes musicals. You should take her to 'Hairspray'. My mom said it was really good!" The students then proceeded to plan her Valentine's with Jean for the next five minutes before she was finally able to calm them down and focus them on the play again.

Jean bit her bottom lip, chewing on it until she became afraid that she would draw blood. Releasing her lip she lifted her hand to her mouth and pressed it lightly against her lips coughing lightly. Emma glared at her and finally Jean lost it, descending into a fit a laughter that sent her sprawling out onto the bed next to Emma.

"Aww, Emma that's sweet," Jean said once she had gotten the giggles out of her system turning to face the blonde.

"They're bloody noisy bastards," Emma muttered looking up at the ceiling with a scowl.

"They're trying to show an interest," Jean replied unfazed by her lover's expression. "It's a sign of affection and respect. They want to get to know you."

"Bah humbug," Emma responded still scowling though with slightly less intensity. Truthfully, she didn't mind the more playful interaction with her students too much, it would just take some getting used to. It seemed like she had to get used to everything these days and it was a bit exhausting at times. It would have annoyed her but the changes had turned out to be rather positive so she'd give banter with the students a trial run.

"Wrong holiday," Jean replied smirking before shifting closer to Emma and placing her head on her shoulder. The phrase still amused her; it had been practically every other sentence out of Emma's mouth during December and was apparently equally adorable months later. "So, what are we doing for Valentine's Day?"

"It's a surprise," Emma responded lightly expecting the question. Jean had been asking her that for the last week or so but her answer was always the same. "You can be certain that it's not the ice capades or 'Hairspray', however."

"But clothes, how will I …" Jean began knowing that she was grasping at straws but desperately wanting to know what Emma had planned for them.

"I'll take care of it," Emma responded knowing that Jean was just trying to get more information out of her. "It's one of the benefits of Sapphic relations," she continued smiling. They didn't often borrow each others clothes, but they could and that was something at least.

"What are some of the other benefits?" Jean asked shifting slightly to wrap her arms around Emma's waist. As strange as it may have seemed Emma was perhaps the most huggable person Jean had ever encountered in life. She just loved feeling of Emma's body against her own. They fit together so snuggly that being wrapped around Emma had become one of her favorite pastimes.

"Sapphic relations," Emma replied smirking before shifting so that she could capture Jean's lips, in a slow, languorous kiss.

"You're funny," Jean murmured when Emma pulled back from her lips, her tone dry but her lips curved in a small, but amused, smile. "You're really not even going to give me a hint?" Jean asked a moment later her smile turning into a pout as she stared at Emma. She found that pouting was extremely effective with the blonde. Emma seemed to find it deeply arousing and would agree to a great many things to get Jean naked and pouting in the smallest amount of time possible.

Emma sucked her bottom lip into her mouth and bit down lightly as she studied Jean. The redhead was pouting and she could feel herself begin to throb. Jean knew that that delightfully innocent and precocious expression always made her want to do the naughtiest, dirtiest things to her.

Emma leaned forward intent on capturing Jean's lips but the redhead pulled away avoiding Emma's lips, instead staring at her expectantly and with a bit of defiance. Emma sighed she knew that Jean wasn't going to let her have her way with her until she gave her some information. The blonde telepath sighed, it was completely unfair. She was not used to having sexuality used against her, she had always been the one that made other people practically expire from want of her, and she didn't enjoy it when Jean gave her a taste of her own medicine. It was frustrating knowing that your pleasure lay in another person's hands, but it really was very effective.

"Well if you insist on ruining your appetite before dinner, we'll be going on a little trip," Emma drawled as she moved her body over Jean's and sat up on her knees so that she was straddling the redhead's waist. "But I'm absolutely not telling you anything else," she went on running her hands up Jean's sides slowly. "No matter how wantonly you use your feminine wiles."

Jean sucked her bottom lip into her mouth chewing on it gently as she stared up into Emma's face. "I think," she said softly still staring up at Emma. "If you knew how I was planning to use my feminine wiles that you might change your mind," she continued her lips curving up sensuously as she sent Emma a barrage of images of just what she was willing to let the blonde do to her and do to Emma in return.

Emma moaned as the images Jean was sending to her assaulted her senses. She had a pair of fur-lined cuffs that she had been absolutely dying to use on Jean when she was in a submissive mood like she was at the moment, and obviously the redhead was aware just how much that particular fantasy appealed to her. Honestly, you could take the girl out of the Hellfire club, but you could never completely take the Hellfire club – and certain tastes it had cultivated – out of the girl.

"Emma," Jean whispered softly as Emma continued to stare down at her, her eyes hooded and her breathing shallow as her hands continued to play restlessly against Jean's torso. "I insist on ruining my appetite," she continued pouting knowing that Emma would enjoy it though it was an effort to keep herself from smiling wickedly.

Emma sighed and then leaned forward greedily kissing the redhead's lips as her hands moved from Jean's sides to cup her breasts, squeezing and kneading the soft, appetizing mounds as she pressed her hips into Jean's. When it came to Jean she had the hormones of a thirteen year old boy and she suspected that the redhead was probably going to be planning the whole trip by the time the sun set.

"Fine," Emma finally muttered against Jean's lips before capturing them again as her hands made their way under Jean's shirt. "But I'm using the blindfold too."


Part 24 (Epilogue)

Two months later …

Jean smiled at the girls in front of her, her eyes momentarily drifting to the side as she felt a familiar presence, before she brushed a few strands of wind whipped hair off of her forehead and then slipped her tip of her sneaker underneath the black and white ball at her feet and flicked, easily catching the ball in her hands as it flew up into the air.

"I think we'll call it a day," Jean said dropping the ball and knocking it with her knee toward Sophie. "I know you've all worked up an appetite and this should give you just enough time to get cleaned up before the dinner stampede," she continued as the soccer team began to take off their pennies grumbling slightly. She knew that they'd rather stay outside for another half hour or so, but it was the there first outdoor practice since fall and she didn't want to push it.

"Aw, she said we'd scrimmage until someone scored a point," Amara grumbled trudging over toward the ball bag to dump in the ball Sophie had tossed to her after Ms. Grey began to walk and was a safe distance away.

"Yeah, but it has been about a half hour since anyone got close to scoring," Noriko added as the team began to clear the field.

"Whatever, that's totally not it. She just stopped because Ms. Frost showed up," Sofia complained. "She's around so much we should get her to be our mascot. We could change our team name to Xavier's Xirconia's."

"Zirconia is spelt with a zed dumbass," Cessily responded absently.

"Whatever, Detective Benson nobody called the spelling police. She could like at least keep score or something," Sofia retorted grumpily.

"We'd lose," Sophie told them kicking a ball over to Amara. "Ms. Frost's thoughts about Ms. Grey are often sweaty and inappropriate. She'd probably forget to keep score."

"Stepford," Sofia said slowly and deliberately. "Too. Much. Information. I know you and your sisters pretty much invented the over-share but there are certain things the rest of us never, ever need to know about our teachers. Mmkay?"

"Simmer down," Noriko responded before Sophie could. The last thing they needed was for those two too get into it. "I think it's sweet."

"What, Ms. Frost's Spice Channel fantasies?" Sofia asked giving Norkio a searching look as if she suddenly expected her to announce that she loved D.E.B.S. and listened to Tatu.

"No noob, that Ms. Frost comes to watch us practice. It's like really supportive. It's sweet. They're like totally in love," Noriko said. She wished she had a boyfriend that would come and watch her practice … and bring her hot chocolate or something.

"Yeah, alright, Ms. Frost and Ms. Grey are love. I'm totally onboard with that, I just don't wanna hear the words 'sweaty and inappropriate' used in relation to them again. It's like thinking about your parents doing it. It's disturbing," Sofia responded sighing to herself as she tried desperately not to form a mental picture in her mind … of either scenario.

"And inappropriate," Amara added smirking as Sophie closed her eyes and muttered under her breath.

"But not sweaty," Cessily continued helpfully laughing as her eyes met Amara's.

Sofie glared at them for a moment and then stomped off in front of them muttering, "I'm playing field hockey next year," under her breath as her teammates chuckled behind her.

~What's the matter with you?~ Jean asked as she approached Emma. The blonde was staring out onto the field watching the girls with a frown on her face.

"Apparently my thoughts about you are sweaty and inappropriate," Emma muttered as Jean came to a stop in front of her accepting the sweater that Emma held out for her with a soft 'thank you'. She had been in mental contact with Sophie and the rest of the Cuckoos to remind them of their session with her after dinner and had picked up the blonde's response as she left her mind.

"What?" Jean asked the blonde's words just barely registering with her as she pulled the sweater over her head. She hadn't been running around quite as much as the girls and the slight chill in the new spring air was beginning to get to her.

"Nothing," Emma muttered under her breath making a mental note to strengthen her shields while around the Cuckoos unless she was teaching them a lesson, and to give them all a long talk on how sharing people's behind-thoughts was completely unacceptable.

"Someone's grumpy," Jean commented taking a step closer to Emma and slipping her hands in the opening of the blonde's jacket, her cool hands causing Emma to flinch slightly when they came in contact with her warm skin.

"I'm not grumpy, I'm … cold. Desist," Emma complained reaching for Jean's hands as the redhead laughed and pressed her hands more firmly against Emma's skin, her laughter only increasing when the flesh under her hands turned smooth and hard. Emma's diamond form was unaffected by temperature. "No moleste," the blonde muttered as Jean stroked her fingers over the shimmering surface of her skin.

"Cheater," Jean mumbled before removing her hands from under Emma's jacket, her attention turning to her team for a moment as they headed towards the gymnasium doors. "And that means 'do not disturb'," she continued a moment later turning to face Emma again.

"Of course it does. That was the genius of the response, it works on multiple levels," Emma replied releasing her diamond form as Jean stepped towards her once again, this time wrapping her arm around Emma's waist but outside of her coat.

"Or, you know … two," Jean replied smirking at Emma. The blonde had tilted her head to the side to press a kiss to her cheek but stopped when she heard Jean's response. Unfazed Jean simply closed the small distance that remained between them and pressed her lips against Emma, smiling into the kiss as the blonde immediately responded, her irritation with Jean instantly forgotten.

"It's so good when it touches the lips," Jean whispered softly as they pulled apart before leaning back in to kiss Emma again, only pulling back when her stomach growled softly. Jean looked down at her sweater clad tummy and then glanced back up at Emma. "Honey, do you think KFC is still open?"

"I'm sure a majority of the school would love to see you go streaking naked up through the quad and into the gymnasium. Myself included," Emma responded with a small smirk as she ran her eyes up and down over Jean's body. "But you should know that no amount of nude track and field is ever going to win you back the privilege of choosing the movie," she continued as they headed into the mansion.

"Not even if it involves in-ground equipment for shot put," Jean asked in a saucy tone as she sucked her bottom lip into her mouth and looked over at Emma sweetly.

Emma smirked as she pushed the doors to the mansion open. "You know I positively throb when you use that tone," she purred as they walked through the doors into the hallway that would take them to the dining room.

"Oh god!" Kitty exclaimed as she passed the blonde and redhead her hands flying up to her ears. "Why do you insist on saying things I can never unhear?" she continued glaring at Emma before looking over at an amused Jean who simply shrugged her shoulders. Being around Emma was having a bad effect on her. There was a time when she would have been painfully embarrassed by Kitty overhearing Emma's comment, but those times were gone.

"You do know that there was a sexual revolution, don't you dear?" Emma asked when Kitty dropped her hands from her ears. "Women have taken control of their bodies and sexual desires. There's no need to be ashamed. If you wish to reappropriate your sexuality and overcome the strictures placed upon women by heterosexual white male oppressors hundreds of years ago say the following after me. Vagina. Va-gi-na," Emma continued annunciating very carefully as Kitty glowered at her.

"Like, why don't you eat me, Frosty," Kitty responded before turning to Jean and shooting her an apologetic look for arguing with her girlfriend, smiling a little when Jean shrugged and gave her a look that said 'I know, I know' before she continued in the direction she'd been heading in before overhearing Emma.

"Ooh, she is a fast learner," Emma practically cooed with teasing glee as Kitty retreated, turning to smirk at Jean as she spoke.

"Well done," Jean muttered shaking her head as Emma continued to grin. The blonde had gotten much better in general about minding people's feelings, but there was something about Kitty that always made Emma try to push her buttons.

~Honestly~ Emma began placing her hand on the small of Jean's back to get her moving again before simply allowing her hand to rest on Jean's hip. ~Considering her boyfriend's nickname is Colossus you'd think she'd be interested in learning some relaxation techniques to…~

~Stop!~ Jean thought repeating the word over and over again in her mind to block out Emma who had continued to chat despite her mental holler. ~I will not be able to have sex, possibly ever again, with that mental image in my mind~

A second later Jean smirked to herself when silence met her reply. Much to her amusement though not to her surprise Emma quieted down immediately once she had shared that thought.

~You know there are much more pleasurable ways to make me stop talking~ Emma said finally as began to cross the front foyer.

~Oh I know~ Jean replied smirking a little her eyes scanning the hallway around them looking completely bored to anyone who might have been looking at her as she project an image to Emma of the blonde kneeling in front of her with her mouth occupied doing something that wasn't talking though it was most certainly oral.

As Emma responded to her mentally calling her a 'wanton hussy' Jean spotted Scott casually leaning against the banister, his feet crossed at the ankles as his head tilted up towards the stairs. However despite his casual demeanor he was wearing what Jean knew he considered one of his finer suits and she found her eyes following his gaze. Almost immediately she spotted Betsy coming down the stairs. Not surprisingly the Brit was wearing purple, though she was dressed in a form fitting cocktail dress rather than her usual attire.

Slowing her stride slightly Jean watched as Betsy reached the bottom of the stairs and stepped closer to Scott who straightened up as reached him. The purple haired woman then leaned up slightly and brushed her lips against Scott's cheek, a slight blush dusting his features before he reached for her hand.

~Are you coming or should I send for provisions?~ Emma asked as they slowed to a near stop, her gentle pushing on Jean's back having absolutely no effect whatsoever. ~Oh, I see~ Emma continued a moment later following Jean's gaze to watch as Scott and Betsy headed for the front door hand in hand. ~Can I stop being nice to him now?~

~You were nice to him?~ Jean asked chuckling slightly as she finally allowed Emma to manhandle her towards the dining room once more.

~There was the one time. It taxed me~ Emma responded smirking over at her lover.

~I must have blinked~ Jean replied even though she knew that Emma had been on good behavior while dealing with Scott over the past few months. There were times when they were forced to interact with other that she could see her girlfriend just barely holding back a number of scathing comments, and she suspected that when they bumped into each other when she wasn't around to mediate that their interactions were even less civil.

~You wound me, Tiger~ Emma sent not sounding the least bit upset.

~I suppose I'll have to find a way to make it up to you then~ Jean responded sending a few additions to the earlier scenario she had sent Emma a few minutes before.

Emma smiled widely as they walked through doors to the dining room.

"I do love you," Emma breathed out as they started towards the kitchen, her words loud enough for Jean to hear but soft enough that the buzz of mealtime conversation that surround them drowned out the comment from the people that walked and sat around them.

~I love you too, baby~ Jean sent to the blonde her hand finding Emma's as they walked through the faculty entrance to see what was on the menu for the day.

"In that case, dinner's on me," Emma replied sweeping her hand in front of her chivalrously allowing Jean to walk in front of her.

"Careful, you're going to spoil me," the redhead responded dryly.

Emma smiled as Jean greeted the chief and struck up a brief conversation with the woman, leaning herself artfully against the wall so that she could observe Jean as she spoke. A few moments later she dutifully reached out in front of her taking a tray Jean held back for her absently as she continued to speak. Emma pushed off of the wall taking the few steps necessary to get her to the counter joining the other two women, her hand resting on Jean's hip lightly as she peered over the glass to see what was for dinner.

Emma barely resisted the urge to sigh dramatically as she saw the meal selection. Working at the institute was destroying her well cultivated palate. She was going to have to talk to Charles about the menu, because she simply couldn't stand the thought that she was actually beginning to look forward to meatloaf night. However, as Jean leaned into her body and pressed a soft kiss to her check when Mabel or Margaret or Maylee or whatever the hell the cooks name was moved to the side to prepare their dinners, Emma to admit ... life was good.

The End

Well, that's it. We've finally come to the end of this crazy ride :D I hope you all enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed writing it!

The following lines were taken from Joss Whedon's "Astonishing X-Men".
"Ms. Frost's thoughts about … are often sweaty and inappropriate"
"I positively throb when you use that tone"
"Why do you insist on saying things I can never unhear?"

I just absolutely loved them and thought they were hilarious so I included them in my story. So there is my disclaimer.

Return to X-Men Fiction

Return to Main Page