Archive: Sure, but please let me know where it's going.

Disclaimer: They all belong to Marvel. Blah blah blah. The lyrics belong to Seether.

Notes: Between the panels set in Ultimate X-Men #15. Inspired by Saron Gas/Seether's song "Fine Again."

Feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks to Blu for the quick beta read. :)

I feel the dream in me expire
and there's no one left to blame it on
I hear you label me a liar
'cause I can't seem to get this through
You say it's over, I can sigh again, yeah
Why try to stay sober when I'm dying here


Sometimes it amazes me that I live in a mansion with seven other people. It feels like I'm the only person here most of the time.

Okay, maybe not the only person here, but I just feel alone. Everyone else goofs off, talks, does stuff together, and I'm on the outskirts watching.

Watching them play baseball earlier. It was great. Funny, even, but I couldn't bring myself to walk over there, pick up a bat, and join in.

I guess being alone is my own damn fault. It's fucking stupid, really. Opened myself up once, got burned. Me, the nasty badass of the team, afraid to get hurt.

I guess that getting hurt like this is different from taking a bullet. I can heal wounds easy. This isn't so easy.

I wander through the halls, watching them from a distance. Bobby is bothering Hank about something. I can hear them in the kitchen.

"I'm ignoring you," Hank says.

I glance around the door to see him standing with his hand on the top of Bobby's head, holding him away.

"Aw, Hank! Why are you ignoring me?" Bobby says with that needling, teasing tone he gets when he's in the mood to mess with you.

"You have your phasers set on 'annoy.'"

Chuckling to myself, I head upstairs, nodding to Ororo as she passes me going down. She waves in a wary kind of way and shies to the other side of the staircase. I swear, you'd think I was going to go nuts and kill her the way she acts around me. I can hear music down the hall, coming from Jean's room.

That annoying, stupid knot is in my stomach again. I can't believe that I'm afraid to talk to her now.

I guess it's because I honest-to-god don't know how to act around her. I don't know how she wants me to act. I don't know if she's still mad, if she's still hurt, if she's fine, if she even wants me to talk to her or be in the same damn room with her.

I can't ever remember a time when I was too nervous to talk to a woman.

I walk past her room, slowing down and looking in. She's standing in front of her desk in muddy shorts and a tank top, singing along softly. Her hair is sticking out in odd directions thanks to the baseball cap she was wearing earlier. In the mirror beside her desk, I can see the black grease paint smudged under her closed eyes.

She hasn't realized that I'm here, so I stand back from the door a little and watch her sing to herself.

"And I'm not scared now. I must assure you, you're never gonna get away. And I'm not scared now. And I'm not scared now."

I don't know what to think anymore where Jean's concerned. She apologized, but what does that mean? Was she just scared because she was stuck in Weapon X? Now that we're back here, she's been distant. And no matter how much I try to forget it, I can't get rid of the anger on her face, the things she said. I don't know if she meant them or not. I hate this. It makes me want to drink myself into a stupor, and I can't even do that. Goddamn healing factor.

She opens her eyes suddenly and looks at me in the mirror. Everything seizes up for a second; I can't move and I can't look away. There's something in her eyes, and I damn myself for not being able to read people better. I can't tell what it is, what she's feeling.

She bites her bottom lip and looks away. I take my cue and turn around, walk back the way I came, back downstairs. Peter is sitting in the kitchen now. He's sitting at the table, a cup of coffee beside him, working on something. I pick my jacket up from the back of one of the chairs. "Are you ready to go?" he asks.

I shrug into my jacket, pulling the collar up. "Yeah," I answer.

Maybe not so alone.

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