On The Other Side of Fear

Characters: Jean Grey, Ororo Munroe
Rated: PG (Language)
Summary: Two X-Men try to relax in the wake of a mission to Mexico.
OOC Date: February 19th, 2018
IC Date: February 19th, 2018
Where: Xavier's Institute, Storm's Attic


Jean keeps an eye over her shoulder as X-Women and children board the Blackbird. The sight of Laura definitely drew a grimace, but she already knows better than to worry about a bloodsoaked Wolverine's /physical/ well-being.

Ororo is a different story.

Green eyes almost immediately home in on the splash of red on white and brown, widening. Shimmery opera gloves leave their death grip on the Blackbird's controls; she spends the flight to the kids' home village confirming that the wound was, in fact, a graze, then putting her rusty first aid skills to work.


Still in costume, Jean's got her head resting on Ororo's shoulder and her arm draped - very carefully - over her middle, having insisted that her patient take lots of bed rest, preferably while surrounded by entirely too many pillows. It's not even an hour after landing; it is entirely possible that Jean's diagnosis stemmed in some part from self-interest, given the way her eyes hang half-open. She has, quite mindfully, avoided letting her eyes stray too far down the goddess' body since spending the flight either doing first aid or sneaking glances at the bandaged injury.

Still, after a spell of sleepy stillness, she hesitantly murmurs, "Do… you wanna talk about what happened back there, at all?" Eyes opening to try and meet Ororo's, she adds, quieter still, "Are you okay?"

Ororo has changed out of her superhero costume and into a pair of loose-fitting pajamas. The actual bandaging of her injury is covered from view, and a small mountain of pillows keeps Ororo sat up in comfort despite the laceration running across one side of her ribcage. She's been good about letting Jean attend to her wounds, and has not protested at any degree of fussing… probably because Ororo is not the type to push back at someone making a fuss, but rather to let them get it out of their system, and then do what she wants anyway. That is one perk of being a weather goddess.

Ororo's arm is around Jean, holding the redhead's shoulder loosely, and she might be on the way to some kind of rest, herself. When Jean murmurs to her, Ororo opens her blue eyes more fully and glances downward at the red hair on her shoulder. She draws in a slow breath, the kind that makes it clear that she has something she wants to say, but she's looking for a way to say it.

Finally, Ororo answers… "We need to do something about Laura." Maybe not the question Jean thought she was asking? "She was murdering those soldiers with impunity. I will not allow that to continue."

This morning was almost certainly not the first time that one of them's seen the other bleed; this, along with a conscious desire to keep her habit of worrying at reasonable levels keep Jean from making much of a fuss by now, but her hands were shaky while applying first aid and would have spent much of the rest of the ride wrapped around one of Ororo's, given her druthers.

While Ororo takes that breath and considers, Jean runs a faintly warm hand over her side and belly, figuring she needs to soothe the other woman through remembering whatever summoned that hurricane. Needless to say, her eyes manage to open further when Laura comes up instead.

"Lau— " Hand falling to brace beside the goddess' hip, she pushes up and back so she can meet cat's eyes more fully. "— well," she exhales, switching gears. "What can we… do, exactly? … well." A brief grimace. "I… probably should've actually spelled that out for her, but I thought… I mean, she was there, she deployed with us— I thought she'd just… know. Hasn't Logan - or someone - talked to her about…?"

Ororo emits a low sound, almost a sigh. The hand cradling Jean laces fingers into red hair, almost absently, like a calming mechanism for the goddess. "Apparently not," Ororo answers the question when it trails off. "Or if they have, it has not settled in." Ororo is quiet for a moment, and says, "Laura is a bright young woman. She will understand that we mean what we say when we say that there is no place for lethal force on X-Men missions, especially such cavalier use of it. And she will understand that it is not a suggestion."

Ororo makes that almost-a-sigh again, and turns her head to touch her forehead to Jean's. "I know that is not what you were asking about," she says, eyes closing as she stays in contact with the telepath. "I am fine. My wound will heal. I am sure I have the best personal nurse in the county," she says, her lips quirking into a very tiny smirk.

Jean lets out an actual sigh as Ororo answers and calms herself. Tucking her head back in against the goddess' shoulder, she nods against her a little through the elaboration and gets back to tenderly stroking Ororo's side and stomach. "We can talk to her, but we oughtta bring Logan in, too, right?" Logan's name conjures another small grimace; while she took pains to reach out to various faculty/team members during her self-imposed exile, Logan wound up being one of a few exceptions. Ostensibly, this was because she figured him for roaming, rather than out of some hesitation to consider their new common ground.

Ororo's head meets hers just in time to nudge a dark thought or two aside, evoking a semi-pleased rumble in her throat.

"Damn right you do," she whispers. "It doesn't hurt too bad, does it? I can get— I dunno, something…" Her eyes close without waiting for an answer and her breathing deepens and slows; warmth briefly touches Ororo's mind as Jean tries encouraging it to release a few extra endorphins, just in case. "… probably something OTC, but. Still." She's largely kept her brain to herself outside of offering pain management then and now; another piece of her anti-fretting strategy, even if doing it but just not allowing Ororo to be overtly aware of it is technically cheating.

"What about the, uh. Slightly unseasonable hurricane…?" she hazards. "I felt— something, something horrible while it was going on, and between that and the Blackbird's alarms going wild, that whole stretch is kind of a blur."

Ororo's body relaxes as the endorphins are given a little nudge. "I am fine, Jean," she murmurs, though she definitely sounds too pleased to give much of a protest. "My side is a bit tender. That is all."

Still, the brain chemicals at play make Ororo snuggle in a bit closer to Jean, carefully so that her wounded side doesn't bump up against anything that offers any more resistance than a pillow. "The hurricane…" Ororo's fingers tighten in Jean's hair just for a moment. "Something happened, an… illusion, a vision, perhaps. I have had enough training from Charles to know when something is being put into my head, and this was a psychic attack of some kind. For a moment, I felt as if my control of my powers had completely vanished. As that hurricane came in the real world, what was in my mind was so much worse… total destruction and devastation."

Ororo rubs the back of Jean's head and her tone softens. "Have you ever seen the world as I do, Jean? I do not just see the world around me, the world that everyone else sees… I see the weather, the way it all connects… the balance that must be maintained. It is why I cannot simply go off and solve every drought and stop every monsoon… Every action I take to alter the balance will come with an equal reaction. If I meddled carelessly…" Ororo doesn't finish the sentence, but the implication should be clear.

Nodding, Jean gingerly squeezes Ororo as she comes in close and keeps her eyes trained on the goddess'. Ororo's description of the hurricane and its surrounding circumstances gets a slow gasp and sympathetic fingers tensing against her side. "No…" she whispers at the false loss of control, shuddering afterwards in understanding.

The weather witch describes her view of the world, then, and Jean repeats the syllable— albeit without the same dire gravity. "All the time, it's like that?" she questions with arching brows. "The, uh, your vision, not…" After a quick headshake, she murmurs, "I always had a pretty good idea that what you do takes… control, focus - it's why I knew you'd understand my, uh— stuff. But. I didn't… God, Ororo, watching you do what you do's incredible enough without knowing how delicate it is."

Following a brief, thoughtful silence, she wonders, "Can I?"

Ororo doesn't seem fazed by the talk of how delicate her work is… then again, it's something she does every day, so at this point what's a surprise to Jean is just a fact of life to the wind-rider. "Yes," Ororo says in answer to the redhead's question.

Ororo closes her eyes and draws in a long breath, relaxing her mind and very consciously letting down her guard so that Jean can climb aboard and take a ride-along in the goddess's head.

When Ororo opens her eyes, Jean can see the world through them. The attic loft is still recognizable as such, and things are the same colors, the depth of field is the same… but the 'threads' of everything are visible on a spectrum that seems beyond what the human eye takes in. The way the air moves through the room, the way the atmosphere inside connects to the world outside… Everything is webbed together, in such a way that it becomes clear how the manipulation of one thing would tug at the strings of other things… like a butterfly flapping its wings, and causing a cyclone.

Gold opera gloves touch Ororo's temple. Jean closes her eyes and breathes in time with the goddess, arranging her psyche so it'll fit smoothly with Ororo's without either being wholly submerged in the other; telepathic intimacy with a slight remove.

When they open their eyes…

"Holy shit!" is the telepath's instantly gasped response. "Hooo— oooly…"

Red hair whips off of Ororo's shoulder as Jean snaps upright to take an incredulous look around; this alone is enough to send wild ripples through the tapestry of the room immediately around her, causing her to laugh in spite of sleep deprivation and freak hurricanes. A couple more experimental twists keep those vivid locks fluttering until the laughter settles into a broad, beaming smile. "Ororo, this is…"

Legs drawn together, she hovers a foot or two from the bed, just to see; tightly focused as her telekinesis may be, it still casts slight eddies of motion through the air, especially when she moves. Which, of course, she does, slowly floating until she just clears the bed before making her way back.

"Everything's so connected, so interdependent… so sensitive, it's like…" Her eyes flutter, but don't dare close as a shiver runs through her. "God, it's… it reminds me of sitting in a city and just… listening… until you realize everyone's feeling all the same hopes and struggles— the way they influence each other without even meaning to…"

Ororo closes her eyes again as Jean rises. Even with eyes closed, the interconnectivity of everything stays there, like a sixth sense that's always turned on. Ororo reaches out to pull Jean to her gently. The movement makes her grunt, as clearly she's still sore on her wounded side.

"Pull the blanket up," Ororo asks of Jean softly. "Remember, too… you are only seeing this room. Not the landscape outside, the forest… the sky…" Ororo seems like she might be getting a touch drowsy. She's had a long night, and even goddesses need to rest SOME time.

"Hu— !"

Gentle as the motion is, Jean is in no way expecting to be pulled out of the air now. Her eyes snap down when she's seized; after releasing a held breath, she descends along with the motion, settling in against the goddess and stretching out.

The blanket draws over them and Jean murmurs, "Next time," while her arm locks in around Ororo's middle. The weather witch's perception uncouples from hers with a softly disappointed noise, then she cranes up to put her lips to Ororo's cheek. "Thank you, that was… thank you."

A beat and a heavy breath later, heatless fire burns green and gold away, leaving the 'Becoming X' tee and shorts she'd been in before the night went sideways.

Ororo turns her head to give Jean a proper kiss, then settles, arm around the telepath for some lazy, possibly sleepy snuggling. "It cuts both ways, at times," she replies. "One cannot see the beauty of our planet without also seeing the ways in which it is poisoned and polluted." Ororo gives Jean a gentle squeeze. "It is heartbreaking, in all honesty. But right now, I cannot focus on heartbreak. Not when I have you in my arms…" Ororo's tone drifts a bit as the sentence ends, and after a moment, she's asleep. It doesn't take telepathy to tell, so much as the rise and fall of the woman's breathing as she keeps Jean in her loose embrace.

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