"Jules, I don't need fixing. I'm fine."
"You're a bitch, Jean. You didn't used to be."
"Actually," Bobby said, frowning, "I think the last time I saw you like this you weren't you."
"Meaning I was the Phoenix." Jean gave him a tight smile. "I don't plan on walking into any lasers, Bobby. Don't worry. You're concern is touching, but unnecessary."
"You shut down, Jeannie," Warren said. He placed a hand on her shoulder. "We're just worried that we won't ever get our Red back."
"You buried Red with Slim, War. I'll never be her again. But someone has to be the leader around here. We've lost too many and gained too many to go without one. I'm the principal and the field leader. I have to shut down or I'll overload. I'm fine. I swear it."
"Then explain the tattoo."
Jean smiled. It was oddly feral. "I'm always going to be Summers' Girl. Besides, you're involved with Betsy remember."
Warren's face colored. "I'm not trying to get into your pants. Damn it, Red, I'm scared. You're not the person I know. You're not the leader I know."
"Then I guess we need some time in the Danger Room. So you can all get to know the new me."
Logan snorted. Jean smirked at him. He shook his head. "Lead on, Beautiful. We'll visit Hell together. Meet Scooter fer lunch."
"Amen, Logan," Jean stated. "Hell hath no fury like a woman wronged."
"Scorned," Fixer said idly.
"Oh, no, scorned women are expected to attack. They don't expect widows. I'm going to bring the bastards down. Logan, my office, now."
Warren's brows rose. "Why does he get special consideration?'
"Get your mind out of the gutter, Warren."
"Now, tell me again why I'm takin' our daughter with me?"
"Because you need a reason to be visiting a private school," Belle stated. "Lightening's a good cover for that. Besides, she looks to be a normal. She can go shopping in some of the smaller towns that are getting into the segregation bullshit. The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh, cher?"
"Oui, ma chere. Xavier say why he wants to see Nightwing?"
"Security. He's worried. It's been almost a year since Cyclops was killed. There's been nothing publicized since then. We're all waiting for the other shoe to drop. The Phoenix has been doing pretty well though. Sound her out?"
"We'll see." Remy nodded. "I'll get packed. Don't know how long I'll be there. Might take a few months to get them up to snuff. Never had any problems gettin' into their grounds before."
"Be careful, Rems. Call me often."
"Oui, chere. Y' worry too much, Belle."
"And you don't worry enough. I never thought I'd see Papa dead. I don't want to lose you."
"You won't lose m' chere. Ever. Forever, Belle."
"Forever, Rems. To Hell's gate and back."
Remy leaned forward and kissed his wife gently on the mouth. The beads in her hair clacked together gently. He filled his nose with the scent of her. She flexed her fingers and tangled them into his hair, holding him tightly into the kiss.
Magneto considered Shadowcat's grin. She'd faded piece by piece to make him laugh. "You are quite frightening at times, child."
"Just call me Cheshire." She grew solid again. "So what do you think? Can I deliver or can I deliver."
"You are amazing, child. I've not had a chess game that good since I last played with Charles."
"So," Juliet said, snuggling close to Bobby's side. "Do you think Jean and Logan are really sleeping together?"
Bobby sighed. "I wish they were. It would mean that she wasn't the badass mama she seems to be. You have to understand, Jean was never like this. Never. I mean she's always been a bitch, but not like this. She wasn't callous. She wasn't cold. I don't know what's happened to her. I just can't wrap my head around it. I didn't even know she owned a piece of leather until Scott died. And the tattoos. Christ. It's like she's taken all of Scott and Logan's bad attributes and put them together to become this ice queen."
"Tell me more about Scott. I never saw him as the crusader type."
Bobby laughed. "Scott was and will always be the head and heart of the Xmen. If Scott hadn't been who he was, we wouldn't have done half as much as we have. He came off the streets. His adoptive-asshole of a father sent him onto the streets to hustle. He was a pool shark and worse when he came to Xavier's. And he was so brittle that you were afraid to do anything around him. He'd snap at you in a heartbeat and then shy away like you were going to hit him. But he always had this little wistful look when someone laughed. It was like he didn't know what it was like to be happy. When Jean showed up they sparked off of each other like a match and scratcher. You never knew if they were friends or enemies at any given time. And she used to play Warren and Scott off of one another. Scott grew a lot in that time. He stopped being afraid of his power, of his beliefs, of his plans. He became a good leader, an excellent teacher. Jean's death threw him for a loop. Then, when she came back, he came back. She played Logan off of Scott and Scott off of Logan, but we all knew that they were made for each other. So when I say Jean took the worst of him, I meant it. She's brittle and scared at the same time. And I just don't know how to reach her. She's lost her happy place and I can't bring it back for her."
"That's not your responsibility."
"Yes it is. I'm appointed morale officer and assistant deamon of joyfulness. I make people smile."
"Demon of happiness?" Juliet giggled. "Why demon?"
"Because anyone too happy has to be evil." Bobby grinned. "Scott came up with the title and I've had it ever since."
"And did he title himself?"
"Oh, everyone knows that Scott is the son of Satan." Bobby waved it aside. "That's why he put us all through Hell."
"Tooth, what has been goin' on in your head?" Rogue demanded. "You were supposed to take out the guard quietly, not raze the compound."
Sabretooth grinned at the girl he considered his daughter. "Don't worry, Darlin'. It worked out for the best."
"But survivors spread the word. That's what puts the terror in terrorist." Rogue threw her hands up at Sabretooth's grin. "Forget it, sugah. I give up. Sammy, come on, we got a base ta find."