This idea suddenly popped into my head
while I was on the way to work. I don't think Marvel would
ever have something like this in their continuity, so I wrote
it. Note that I am not a Jean fan and I may have characterized
her wrongly. If so, I apologize. Hope you like it.
Don't walk in front of me,
I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me,
I may not lead.
Just walk beside me
And be my friend.
Numb. That was all she felt. Numb to the pain inside, unfeeling
to the world outside. Voices screamed in her head but she
could not hear them. Hurt scalded her skin but she could not
feel it. She wondered if this was what it was supposed to
This couldn't be happening. Not to her.
Well, why not her?
It would be selfish to object, when she obviously wasn't
the only one in the world to undergo this. Why should she
be an exception? Just because she was a well-known figure?
Because she was part of an oft-televised mutant superhero
team? Why should she be spared?
Scott had tried to be supportive. "It's going to be
okay," he'd tried to comfort her. "There's surgery.
Modern medicine's come a long way. We can fix this."
"Dammit, Scott!" she'd screamed back. "I'm
not a machine that can be fixed! This is a part of
me, not something you can just dismantle and throw out the
window! This is breast cancer! Deal with it!"
He'd pretty much left her alone after that.
It was a mixture of grievances. Grief over what she would
lose, at what price. What it meant to her identity as a woman.
Grief over the risk that despite surgery, there was always
the chance of reoccurrence and spreading. Grief over her mortality.
She'd died a few times before, but the fact that this kind
of death seemed so. . . normal, made it seem all the
more frightening. Grief over everything to be lost. Grief
over nothing to be gained. Grief.
No one else knew about it. She wanted it to stay that way.
And she'd pretended not to notice the odd looks she got from
the others when Scott started taking care of her. Soothing
her and being mild and gentle, being so loving. And the way
she kept snapping back at him. She knew it was wrong, that
she shouldn't be hurting him when he was in as much pain as
she was, but she couldn't help it. She just shut out the flashes
of hurt she saw on his face whenever she fought him off, whenever
the others saw her fight him off.
He never tried to argue, probably thinking it would increase
her pain. But she wanted to fight, wanted to
scream and let everything out, make him listen and make him
yell. But he wouldn't.
She could feel his love through that ever-present link of
theirs, but she'd shut out the rest. No more telepathic thoughts
as they lay in bed in silence. She didn't have anything to
say. She didn't want anything to say.
She would begin treatment next week. She wondered if it would
even change anything.
Hot coffee scalded her lips and tongue, but she treasured
the sensation, hoping it would block out the pain for even
a minute. She squeezed her eyes shut and let tears wrench
themselves free as she continued to drain the blistering liquid.
Suddenly she felt the mug yanked away from her and she stumbled
in her seat, eyes shot open. A wide-eyed Rogue was staring
at her, mug in gloved hand. Behind her were a startled Ororo
"Jean, are yuh insane?" she cried. "You coulda
hurt yourself! This is burnin' hot!"
"Is not," she muttered.
"Ah could see th' steam waftin' inta your face, sugah.
It was hot!" She set the mug down on the kitchen
table, out of Jean's reach. Ororo and Betsy were already taking
Oh great. Just what she needed, an audience.
Ororo was gazing at her, concern etched on her face. "Jean,
what is the matter? Your recent behavior is starting to worry
She couldn't keep from snapping back, nor restrain the bitterness
in her voice. "Well pardon me, Ororo, if my behavior
is not up to your standards! Anyone forbid we act more
than our facade allows us to!"
"Jean!" Betsy chastised. Ororo's eyes widened in
"What's the matter, Betsy, Little Miss Jean not nice
enough for you?" she shot back.
"All right, Jean, give it up." Now Rogue was jumping
into the furor as well. Whoopee. "What's been eatin'
yuh these past few days You're not yourself anymore."
"Well maybe I never was! Maybe this is the real
me, so deal with it!"
"Jean, we're your friends," Ororo pleaded. "Please,
tell us what's going on. We want to help."
"Help? Help?" she cried bitterly. "Why
should you want to help, weather goddess? You and your powers
worshipped by natives, beautiful and picture-perfect. You
never were helpless, never had to fight an enemy you could
never defeat! And you," she turned to Rogue, "invulnerable
to everything so you're protected in your little shell.
Can't get hurt and what do you do? Cry boo-hoo-hoo over not
being able to touch! Rich, that's what it is!"
"Jean, stop it!" Betsy yelled.
"Don't you tell me what to do, you Playboy material,
you! Always dressing in skimpy outfits, flaunting those breats
and body! You're shameless!"
"Oh, like you don't slip into a bikini every now and
then! You complaining when you got puppies shaped like lifeboats?"
"Well say goodbye to them, dammit, because they're going
to be hacked off! Off, you hear me? Off! So
go ahead, cry over your stupid little angsts! See if I care!"
Hushed silence followed. Three pairs of wide eyes stared
at her, uncomprehending.
"Jean?" Ororo whispered at last. "What do
She couldn't help it. She couldn't hold it inside anymore.
She broke down crying. "I have cancer," she sobbed.
"I have breast cancer."
It took only a few seconds for this to sink in before they
hovered around her, hugging her in their arms and squeezing
her hand. "Oh Jean, we're so sorry," Ororo whispered.
"We didn't know. . ."
Everyone seemed to be crying at once. "Oh God, I'm going
to die," Jean sobbed.
"Hush now, sugah," Rogue choked between tears.
"Ain't no such thing. You'll be fine."
"There's always a chance -"
"Don't think about it," Betsy ordered. "Not
even for a second."
The tears continued although the loud sobs had subsided somewhat.
Jean's shoulders continued to hitch every now and then, but
the warmth of arms around her seemed to comfort her much more
than when she was holding everything back. Her throat hurt
from the hot coffee and sobs. Everything hurt.
She began to chuckle.
Ororo lifted her head, alarmed. "Jean?"
She was gasping between a sob and a laugh. "Oh God,"
she said hoarsely, "puppies shaped like lifeboats..."
They snorted, then the chuckles increased. Perky li'l breasts,"
"Skimpy Playboy outfits," Betsy choked.
Laughter was hysterical now, and tears flowed afresh. "Oh
God, this is crazy," Jean was sobbing. "I'm not
supposed to be laughing. I'm not supposed to be laughing.
This is crazy."
"Life is crazy, sugah," Rogue hitched, blinking
away wetness from her eyes. "We're just insane enough
ta live it."
Jean hugged her friends tighter, more tears streaming on
the way. Behind them she heard a sound and turned. Scott was
standing in the doorway, staring at the scene.
"I'm ... sorry," he said. "I didn't know you
girls were here." He quickly left.
Jean just gazed at the empty doorway for a moment, then gently
disengaged herself from her friends' arms. She didn't want
to leave their protective embrace and their love, but there
was someone she had to see. They just nodded at her, tears
in their eyes. She rose to her feet and walked away from the
Okay, so it's not all that good. I'm lousy
at writing this kinda stuff. If anyone wants to make a sequel
out of this, you're more than welcomed to do so. Not that
anyone wants to. Just something I had to write. - Maelstrom
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