Disclaimer: Marvel owns them. I just have fun writing about them.

Archive: Yes please. Just inform me by email.

Notes: This is my first story for this fandom. Actually, my first story ever out of QAF fandom. So feedback is very much appreciated. Thanks to my beta, joeblessu.

Your grave is beautiful.

It's a silent sea of crystal blue, framed by a soft expanse of snow. Flanked by the calm stillness of mountains. Adorned by the verdant wreaths of trees. Gilded by mild blaze of the mid-morning sun.

But it wasn't like this...

A year ago.

Then, it was a cruel wasteland of thundering water and pounding hail, of broken wood and ruined rock. And through my eyes, the landscape was a harsh red, seeming to bleed with grief.

"She's gone."

Even as I rejected the truth, I could feel its tendrils burrowing beneath my skin, chilling the flesh within. A bitter frost obliterating all heat.

And I brought the ice back with me. Back to our gutted mansion. Back to our own arrested lives. Back to my role as calm, fearless leader - a fa┴ade as that was beginning to chafe. It wasn't the time for weakness and self-pity, to wallow in misery or pain.

I had to be strong.

For the Professor whose mind was raped... For Ororo whose serenity was shattered... Bobby whose sense of betrayal ran deep... Rogue whose depression cast her adrift... Kurt whose faith faltered for a while... the kids whose world seemed to be in utter chaos. I had to be there for everyone. Even Logan, whose eerie silences, more than his frightening rages, alienated him from everyone.

I had to be the strong one, Jean.

Now that you weren't there anymore.

In time, order was restored. The mansion was quickly rebuilt. The X-Men - with Kurt, Bobby, and Rogue as its new additions - were functioning as a team again, dealing with the fallout of Stryker's plans and guarding vigilantly against Magneto's. And each day, the rooms and corridors began to brighten up once more with youthful chatter and happy voices, their laughter keeping sadness at bay.


Because, for me, it was still the middle of winter.

I would dream. Of being encased in ice. Of drowning in a freezing deluge. Of being crushed under snow and stone. Of you dying.

Of me dying. Always alone.

Then I would wake up, screaming.

Safe. Alive. But still alone.

Until one night, a whisper slashed through the icy darkness.

"Stop it, Scott."


"Get out!" Mind your own fucking business!

"Just shut the fuck up, Scott!"

Before I could say anything else, he was already on the bed. And just like the day you died, he was cradling me in his arms. His movements belying the harshness of his words.

A body, hewn in conflict, now surrounded mine gently. Hands that were vicious in battle, calmed the shivers and wiped away tears. A face, unyielding in the daylight, now softened in sympathy. And his voice, often sharp with sarcasm, was lulling me to sleep.

I fell asleep to the rhythm of blunt fingers running through my hair.

He held me close to him all night.

Like on many nights after, when I would dream again. He would lie beside me, my head pillowed on the hardness of his chest. My body snug against his, blanketed by his warmth.

After a while, he would just appear by my door, as I was about to go in. Or he'd be sitting patiently by the bed when I entered the room. And then, he would wrap his arms around me and wordlessly rock me to sleep.

He'd stay until morning. Waiting only until I woke up before going back to his room.

There were times when I thought that it was a just a dream. That maybe in my grief-stricken madness, I had conjured his image. A shadow to share the loneliness. A delusion just to make the pain bearable. Someone just as desolate. Just as wretched.

But he was real. Undeniably, relentlessly so.

As real as the food he forced me to eat. As brutal as the threat of his claws, if I don't.

As dismal as the shadows in my room. As bright as the sunlight when he first tore the curtains down.

As menacing as his growl. As ominous as my silence.

As abrasive as his taunts. As strident as my resentment.

As unforgiving as his stubbornness. As intractable as my pride.

As vivid as the cuts on my body. As severe as the hits I inflicted on his.

As startling as his pleas. As pliable as my acquiescence.

As tangible as the tears that stained our faces.

And as palpable as one body spooned against another.

Up to now, I can't figure out when things began to change. I just knew one night that they had.

Suddenly, there was this awkwardness around one another. A hesitancy when touching, an uncertainty in speaking. And an intense awareness that something was about to happen. And then, there was heat.

So much heat.

As hands gripped. Mouths clashed. Legs intertwined. Fingers stroked. Bodies crashed and tumbled. Shifted and unfolded.

A coupling of flesh and fire.

Of breath and velocity.

Of zeal and sweat.

Of depth and desperation.

Of essence and electricity.

Of rage and release.

Yeah, things had definitely changed.

It felt wrong, at first.

We weren't really friends. Not then. The only thing common between us was you.

But you were dead.

I wasn't. Barely living, yes, but still alive.

So was Logan.

And that was probably the best reason, the only reason either of us could find.

As we took whatever comfort we could get. Losing ourselves in one another. Trying to forget what we both had lost.

I tried fooling myself, that it was you I was seeing when I looked at him. You I was feeling when I touched him. You I was making love to when I fucked him. I believed he did, too.

It worked. For a while.

Then, we couldn't couldn't pretend anymore. Not when we were straining against hard angles and rough stubble. Hearing rasped-out demands and vulgar roars. Feeling blunt fingers, savage caresses, frenzied climax.

And if in the aftermath, his kisses would turn soft and his hands would gentle, it still wasn't you. It would never ever be you.

But it was more than what I had expected.

And I'm okay with that. More than okay, in fact.

Because I didn't dream of ice or snow anymore. I could finally remember you without seeing death and despair.

I hope you're okay with it, too.

A body steps up behind me, arms sliding across my torso. Enfolding me, pulling me firmly to him. A face nuzzles my neck. "Hey bub."

Charming, as usual.

"Hey bub, yourself."

My Logan-impersonation makes him smile, his lips ghosting over my skin.

"Nice visit with Jean?"


"Me too. Had lots to talk about... " He turns me around to face him, but never letting me out of his embrace. "You okay?"

I couldn't help but smile. "More than okay."

"Good." His trademark smirk appears. "It's such a bitch, taking care of you."


"I'm a big boy."

A quirk of a bushy eyebrow, then a slow, suggestive grin.

Horny bastard.

"I mean, I don't need to be taken care of... " A pause before saying, "Not anymore."

"Oh, I think you do."

Smug, horny bastard.

He may be right... but I'm not going to admit that. Especially now when he's got this really big, irritating smile on his face.

And since I can't think of anything to say that can wipe that grin off his face, I do something else that could:

I kiss him.

And I let him take care of me, as we stand there wrapped in each other's arms. Basking in the sun.

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