Waiting For Jeannie
Message from the fiction archivist:
Dannell passed away in 2002. This story remains as one of the marks she left upon this world. Please take a moment to read her story and send her good wishes, wherever she may be...
I don't own them (mores the pity!); they're Marvel's and Ah'm usin'em without permission:):) Ah ain't makin' a plug nickel! If ya'll sue me Logan is gonna be right peeved...
You sit quietly and wait. For most of your long life you have waited for one thing or another; for the mission to start, for the mission to be over. But most of all for the peace with the beast inside you that always seemed to elude your grasp. For most of your long life you have waited for these and many other things and still you have not found them. Creed would be pleased. You have rebelled, gone your own way and asked the council of no one.
Except maybe for Jeannie.
The Phoenix has battered her wild way past all your defenses; she is in your blood now. You smile at the thought of blood. Chuck would say that Jeannie is good at breaching walls however sturdily built. She has a knack for that, the telepath would tell you if he could. He should have warned you about that. Would you have listened? No. You would not. That is in your blood too. Your anxious eyes scan the doorway of the large elegant mansion searching for a shock of long red hair, the glimpse of bright jade green eyes and your hands tighten reflexively on the wheel of the rugged jeep. Another toy. You're fond of toys. The bigger and brighter the better. But you have a tendency to break your toys. Only when they lie broken and damaged at your feet do you realize that you have played too roughly with them; treated them too harshly. But then, you have never regretted that.
Except maybe for Jeannie.
You remember the beginning, when it was all wonder and delight. You told yourself time and time again that it was fair; that she was willing. That if Summers couldn't keep her that was his lookout. 'Roro knew. Her warning is one of your bitterest memories now. It rankles you that she was right. Why are you never the one who is right about these things, you wonder. The Japanese, your adopted people, believe in destiny and while you have never been religious, it is almost enough to make you believe, this repeated failure of yours. It isn't the workings of chance. You cannot be so fated. You have fought. And still with all this blood and pain you cannot recall when the rules of the game changed. You do not know when it ceased to be a matter of duty, of omi and became a matter of passion. Exactly when Jean Grey lodged herself in your heart is unknown to you. But she is there and you cannot remove her. You do not want to remove her. She fills a great empty space there and like a knife sheathed deep within the muscle if you tear her out, you will bleed to death.
You are sitting more than twenty feet away, alone in your recreational toy, and still the look in her eyes rips at your guts as she steps through the door and quietly closes it behind her. You watch the empty hands held tightly at her side and your eyes close tightly against the knowledge of what is to come. It amazes you that the rest of humanity cannot hear the collapse of your world. For a moment, it stuns you. She slips as silently into your jeep as she slipped into your soul. For long moments she simply sits; nothing more. Your ears bring you the sound of her deep breathing, in and out, in and out. Your nose catches the scent of her hair. But the rest of her smells like guilt and despair. Your body remembers the feel of hers, the warmth of her embrace, the fine auburn hairs on the nape of her neck as your lips explored them. The echo of her voice releasing your name with a final caress. She fought for you. No one else has ever done that. She was patient with you and thereby taught you tenderness. No one else has ever cared enough to teach you this difficult thing.
Except maybe for Jeannie.
It is clear that she will not be coming with you. She will stay with her husband and her family. You, who have scarcely known a family, envy Scott Summers with a sharpness that cuts deep. It would be easy, now, to hate. Easy and damaging. Grief and jealousy are selfish things. She needs Scott . Without him, your Phoenix is not complete. You have learned humility here and this is to your credit. Jeannie would be pleased. And now you must do this one last thing for her. Love is not for the weak of spirit. Jeannie taught you that, too.
Wordless, you reach for her. Like a falling oak, The Phoenix, Tiphareth, Child of the Sun, lowers her head onto your chest. After a moment you raise her head and smile at her. She looks stricken, your lover. You can see her gathering herself. Soon she will speak and wound herself with his favorite weapon - guilt. You must not let her. Your kiss is chaste, almost virginal with nothing of desire in it. Confused, she is waiting for you, now, this proud psychic warrior.
"Go home, Jeannie," you whisper in her ear, "Go home."
Startled, she regards you closely, searching for the truth. You must dig deep for the joy she needs to see. Like a fountain, it wells up within you and comes spilling out your eyes. Joy begets joy and the relief and happiness you see mirrored on that beautiful face are worth whatever pain has given them birth. Her arms enfold you and her hand curls around the back of your neck protectively. The lightness of her voice masks deep gratitude and affection.
"We're not done yet, you know that, don't you? Still friends?" she demands. Your smile blossoms back to life.
"We'd better be," you say. "You still owe me money, lady. The Cajun did hit on Monet."
Her laughter is sweet to your ears.
"You two set me up!" accuses Jean Grey.
And then she is gone as quietly as she arrived, without fanfare but not without the strength she has lent you. Heart to heart. Warrior to warrior. Nothing can take that from you. Nothing.
Still you sit quiet and alone but no longer waiting. What will happen now you wonder? Jeannie is wrong. This is the end. The road ahead is murky and uncertain; unknown to you. But one thing is known. One thing is certain. You will not force her to choose. Are you afraid to know her choice? With a small pang, you acknowledge your fear. You are an honest man. Yes, you are afraid. Does she love Scott Summers more than she loves you? Perhaps. But you will learn to live with that and your fear. You smile. Another lesson the Phoenix has taught her student. In the end it does not matter. Love is love. It knows no boundaries - to warp it, to confine it, force it into finite limits is a mistake. You have made enough mistakes in your life. You will not make this one. Your love for Jeannie does not rest upon her shoulders. It is not dependent on her. If she did not love you, you would still love her. But she does love you. It is enough.
As you pull the jeep away from the house and down the long driveway to the street, you think on these things. Soon you will abandon your vehicle and take to the woods where you will prowl and think until the light of morning forces you into hiding like a nocturnal animal. But you are not an animal. You are a man. That is a battle you have won at last. Jeannie's last gift to you.
Your name is Logan and they tell you that you are the best in the world at what you do. What you do is usually not very pretty. You have traveled and fought among the dark hidden places of the earth and even between the stars. You have done many terrible things and many beautiful things in your long life ... and in all that life you fear you have never really quite loved anyone ...
Except maybe for Jeannie.
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