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Papers were scattered across her desk, essays and a couple of folders. The pen in her hand was twirled in a way that seemed restless but Jean couldn't find enough focus to do much of anything. It was frustrating to say the least. To her left sat an empty coffee mug, her favorite one, the one she'd bought a couple of years ago from the local shelter. She knew its contents was since long gone but yet she lifted the cup to her mouth and only sighed at herself finding it out, for the second time within half an hour. To say that she was distracted was putting it mildly. She would read the words that laid in front of her, line by line but yet she remembering nothing when she stopped. The open window brought in crisp November air but it didn't seemed to be enough to wake her so she closed the window with a wave over her shoulder.
Jean settled her elbows onto the surface of her desk and allowed for her chin to rest in her hands, mind drawing back to a previous moment not too far back in time. Mystique had made her way into the school, appeared as one of her best friends. Had fooled and distracted her. It stung, like someone rubbing salt in an open wound. There were so many other things she needed and should do but the moments with Raven, piled together and tugged at her attention, continuously. She considered all the ifs and buts, despite it being no use. Eventually, Jean just pushed herself back from the desk in an attempt to create some distance from her thoughts, chair scraping lightly against the floor.
It was in that moment, the psychic took notice of a strong presence further down the hall, sitting straight up as she awaited the familiar signature, the destination an educated guess given at which speed and intensity it was approaching. Jean had her green eyes direted towards the door and when Storm arrived, she offered a smile. Her lips had parted to form a greeting but Ororo preceded her but the request had her chuckle lightly. "That didn't go unnoticed," she remarked as she tempered the smile somewhat to not appear indifference, because she was not. Inquiring the reason for the flare of temper seemed like it was left to a little bit later, so Jean stood up and nodded. "I could definitely do with both the training and the change of pace."
She moved towards the door way and her friend and then opted to lead the way towards the elevator that would take them down to the sub-basement. Jean was peeling her sweater off in the elevator and upon arrival she took a direct right to grab a change of clothes, one that was much more suitable for the Danger Room, than jeans and a sweater. "Do you want to talk about it?" Jean asked, despite already thinking she could guess the answer but she wouldn't forgive herself if she was wrong and hadn't at least offered the opportunity.
It was true, what parents and elder had said when they were younger. One day you'd wake up and feel like time had passed so fast, like in the blink of an eye. Standing beside Ororo in the elevator down, Jean truly felt that notion but it wasn't as heavy as she would've expected it to be. It was more... reassuring than anything else. It was strong and didn't seem to flicker. Embedded in that was also gratitude that she had been given that gift, to experience such friendship. While Scott Summers might have been and was her first best friend, Ororo definitely was the second. Thankfully, you weren't limited to one and no doubt, both of those relations had come to be quite differently. They were different, too.
Something all three of them had in common though, was the pinch of maybe not fear, but clarity about what could happen if they lost control of their powers. The marginal was small at best but the one that was the show and tell of them all, was Storm. She couldn't too much afford the shift, couldn't give in too much. Over the years that she had gotten to know the woman, she had tailored an apt control for herself, one that allowed her still to feel, without compromise. Jean knew the signs well, so the scoff that was heard, had the psychic gently raise one brow. She said nothing and proceeded to change into the gear.
She had just corrected the hem of her pants when Ororo asked a question. Jean stood up straight and started to lace her fingers through her hair, preparing to tie it up. "Of course." Hands went up and she ensured swift that her hair would stay tied up, one last tug to assure herself of it too. More surprise bloomed in her expression and her mouth pursed lightly while one hand settled to her hip. "No. That's probably the last thing I'd think about you, Ro." Storm was much like the winds she could summon; they'd go where they wanted to go, the could push forcefully without harming or ill intent.
Jean strode up to her friend and made a reach for both her hands. "What is it that has left such doubt in you? Is it a question of who rather than what?"
It was a rare occasion and instant of where Jean did not have to rely on her powers to understand the connotation hidden beneath the other woman's words. Jean never actively utilized her telepathy for those occasion anyway, but there was certain freedom in being able to know someone well enough to realize that it true understanding, and nothing else. Having known Storm for so long, it made sense and she frankly expected no less from herself at this point. Still, when light was shone onto as if it was a skill, she remained modest. "Or you know, it can be the fact that I've know you for nearly ten years." By the time their hands let go, the psychic then followed Ororo's example, by sitting down on the bench.
For a moment she thought perhaps that her friend wanted to call off the session or had called her away for a different kind of reprieve but as soon as her friend had spoken again, she was standing and then moving the length of the room, as if what bothered her couldn't give her peace. Jean knew that feeling all too well, something she experienced often, always threatening and looming with enough potential force to have her lose her footing. She could tell that the other woman had something else on her mind, so sitting quiet Jean instead leaned downwards across her knees to slip into the comfortable boots, designed to give optimal grip. Even occupied, she could sense Storm's struggle, like static in the air.
Jean sat up straight and rested her hands in her lap, next to one another. Then she lifted her chin and look right at her friend. "Sometimes I think we've gone too long without letting other's in here, and I'm not talking about students. Maybe... we are comfortable in the things we are so used to. Change, it rattles us. It's human." She stood back up, with a smile that was as reassuring as it was composed. To what was said next, she gave a short nod and then lead the way towards the Danger Room. With simple swipes on the panel, she arranged for the setting to be simple but still stimulating, at least hopefully.
Considering her friend literally wanted to work some out of her system, something too intricate didn't seemed like it would be a good idea. "Let's start with some good, old-fashioned target-practice," she said with a chuckle as several targets came into display, the room rendering the environment around them to be an open field, with high cliffs on the sides and tall grass softly moving around their legs.
"Of course I'm right." The smile that followed the statement indicated that she wasn't so serious, merely playing on the meaning of the worlds, as it was something that Jean would never claim. There was, however, a grain of truth in that response, soon followed by an important addition. "But just because I'm right, it doesn't necessarily meant that you're wrong or that what you're feeling isn't justified." She almost regretted the expression, knowing fully well that it was distinguished now. If anyone knew what they were capable of, they'd look at them and call them mutants, yet they seemed to be the ones holding onto their humanity the hardest. It was hard to believe in Charles Xavier's dream when every step of the way, someone else forced you to stumble. It was hard to hold on when all it felt like you were doing, was to endure.
"That's better," Jean commented about Ororo's suddenly change of mood, as she herself finished getting dressed for the training session. Her old costume, it was still somewhere in another locker, a piece of iconic material that stood for something she felt she wasn't able to represent these days. Not because she didn't want to or because she lacked the ability, but because in doing so would right now cause more harm than it would do good. Jean would readily go out and face the world and all its injustice but Charles had made the decision. It was odd. Them, the X-Men, retired? It was mortifying and she constantly battled the reason behind the call that had been made.
It was a delight to see her friend embrace the minor challenge in front of them, taking their minds off of anything that wasn't with them in that room. It was welcome, very much so. Despite many of her recently heavy thoughts, Jean didn't too often feel weighed down by them. She had many things that she loved, people too and they were all in close proximity. The pause from the world of heroics, as manufactured as it was, were them well-deserved. Although, of course, being what they were, it didn't exactly feel like a break was an option but that was alright. As long as they had each others, they'd get through.
Ororo's question was was met with a focused glance from Jean and she did a toss of her head to adjust her hair to hang along her back. Her powers manifested themselves differently than her friend's so instead of indicated lightning, Jean's targets instead turned green the moment she'd hit and eliminated them, by the Danger Room's standards. "Child's play." What then followed was a number of moving targets, coming towards the both of them in a rapid succession, designed to have them both work a little harder. Above them hovered a score board. With a the flash of a smile, Jean took to the air tore into the moving targets with her telekinesis, determined to walk out a winner.
It took Jean a moment or actually, several moments, to get back into the swing of things. She'd been honing her abilities, especially her telekinetics, for several years now, until the point where using them became almost habitual and like a second nature, but it had been a while since she last had used the Danger Room, at least like this. It felt good, to unleash some of the raw power they both possessed and not worry about the consequences because in that room, there were none, not any of weight anyway. Today all they'd risk was losing to a friend, if it was even worth calling it that. It was friendly, all the way and the score board blipped on each side as the session progressed, keeping them equally just until the end.
A little out of breath and with her hands to her sides, Jean settled herself onto the ground again and eyed the numbers on the board, that indicated that her friend hat beaten her by a couple of hits. At least, they still had it. Not that she had any plans of using her powers like this any time soon, but it didn't hurt to be prepared. She had a somewhat more relaxed about it, whereas in Scott's world it almost came out as a necessity to always be prepared. She knew that it came from a place of good, at least, and that his perceptiveness had saved them all more than once.
"Well done," she said and scooped up the two towels she'd brought with her in. One she tossed towards Ororo and the remaining one in her hands, she used to dab the sweat off of her forehead. "Do you feel better?" That was, if anything, for Jean the most important thing about the whole session. The way she felt in regards to friends and family, it extended beyond being just average concern. This was her family and having that emphatic link to them was the one thing she could always count on to be real, to keep her grounded.
Jean Grey wanted to believe that she had everything figured out, that she had her own thoughts, ideas and her general life in order but truth was she didn't. It was one of the reasons she held her own powers tied down the way she did, why she went great lengths to make sure there were never a moment of hesitation or risk. Sparring and training with Ororo gave her a much needed outlet, one that she needed more than she knew. Allowing herself to let go sometimes, even if just for a little bit was a lot more giving than she would admit, but only because she thought herself to need the control she daily executed, but only in regards to her powers. The rest... it was a convincing lie and a good front, one she managed fairly well, mostly for the sake of her students.
Truth was, on the inside she felt frail, like fabric fraying at the edges, a feeling she was sure that some of her friends and colleagues shared with her. She couldn't shake the world view that was slowly building and increasing in their disfavor however she did feel that attacking holograms in the Danger Room, had done her good. It eased the pressure and scattered most of her worry, much like a good workout. In similarity to her friend, Jean also felt that as they had the time, letting go of one another prematurely felt like it would be a defeat.
Jean felt her body shift, a very slight sway with the motions of Ororo braiding her hair, putting her at ease that no amount of yoga, wine or mediation could do. It almost felt like a trance, something she was more than fine with but she also didn't allow herself to slip, just relaxed enough that she easily could keep her own telepathic shields up, bracing against outside influx. "Hm?" Storm's first word seemed to mark the start of something, probably a topic of discussion that was of the white-haired woman's choosing. They both had an inner strength but when but next to one another, Jean was most likely the one to forfeit first. She could tell by the initial tone of her friend's voice, that she was about to bring something specific up, something that she would be familiar with.
The redhead knew that it wouldn't matter how she answered the question she'd gotten, the fact that she blinked and turned her head a little was enough of an indication that the question was unexpected and the delay of the answer was somewhat telling. "He's... he is fine," she finally said but the minor blush she felt on her cheeks made her feel like seventeen and not twenty-seven. "Why are you asking me? Ask him yourself, he's down the hall." A sniff was heard, the small flare in her temper more aimed her own inability to keep some things under wraps. There was a chance she could play it off as annoyance, as it wasn't the first time Ororo was putting her on the spot regarding her other best friend. The fact that she'd kissed him, had of course nothing to do with her reaction.
Jean immediately regretted her tone and the strength of her voice when she felt her best friend's hands pause in her hair, were still for what felt like a small eternity but then she felt it, that Ororo was watching her and probably noticing the one thing she'd tried to hide. Turning her face away wasn't an option with her friend's hands embedded into her tresses, so the psychic instead rubbed her chin hastily, as if it would dispel the tint of red. The weather manipulator didn't say anything at first, she just resumed her task.
"Of course I've read Hamlet." The X-Man spoke in a small scoff, one emerging from the residue of her earlier feelings, the need to raise a defense still felt viable, even though it was just Ororo. It sad plenty about how Jean dealt--or didn't dealt--with everything surrounding the previous topic. It was in her mind, better to just try and forget about it all. Everything was a mistake, a misjudgment, not of herself but maybe on the other party. Which, conveniently, was her other best friend. It sounded worse than a script for daytime TV, helping to boost the feeling of needing to put an emotional distance to the topic, but it was difficult. Jean was ensnared, and she knew it.
The initial response to what followed was a roll of her eyes, a small one but still a roll of her eyes, something she allowed herself in this particular company only. "Very funny, maybe you should be a comedian instead," Jean suggested lightly. A part of her had summoned what she thought to be justified regret, but all the same she couldn't quite buy into it. She was familiar with her own feelings so relying on duty and principal was easier as well as appropriate. A motion forward came next, scooting ahead on the bed a little so she could release herself from the other woman. There was minor alarm in her eyes and raised brows. "No, don't do that."
That it came from a good place Jean didn't doubt at all. Ororo could sometimes be as forceful as the winds she was capable of producing but there was nothing cruel in her. Despite the lightness that her friend tried to mask in her voice, the question was still sincere. Crossing her legs underneath her, Jean looked up. "Yes... I mean, maybe. I did something." The way her mouth shaped, lightly pursed, indicated that she was feeling split. With a small sigh, the telepath pressed two fingers against her temple and projected the memory to Ororo; Scott's hands on her shoulder, speaking words that had been soaked up by her heart, everything about him in that moment having been a manifestation of what she wish for in someone, that she could give her heart to. She'd kissed him then, only to almost immediately after excuse herself and hurry out of the Danger Room control-room.
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