Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

An Impossibility (The Red Queen Remix)

An Impossibility (The Red Queen Remix)

by Mara

Summary: “She has a lot to think about, and her mind won’t stop spinning.”

NOTES: This was written for the “We Invented the Remix…Redux” challenge, in
which I remixed bounce’s “An Impossibility”, which can be found on her site at
her site. As with bounce’s original, this story takes place around New X-Men
126(ish), basically the end of the “Imperial” storyline. Gigantic thanks to the
fantabulous Victoria P. for organizing the challenge.

* * * * *

She should be sleeping.

Jean glares at the clock as it registers 4:59 AM. She’s been awake much of the
night, and now the minutes seem to be passing even more slowly.

She has a lot to think about, and her mind won’t stop spinning. So much has
happened.

She did the impossible a week ago. But then again, she and Scott are X-Men: they
do six impossible things before breakfast…and that’s on a slow day. She should
be used to snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, as well as the other way
around. She should be used to the impossible. After all, just months before, the
man lying next to her died.

A small sigh from Scott catches her attention, and she carefully rolls over to
watch him sleep. She should be ecstatic to see him lying beside her, breathing
and alive, but her ambivalence is a cold knot around her heart, tightening
imperceptibly with every passing day.

He’s back. Except that he’s not. Not really. The figure in bed beside her wears
Scott’s face, laughs his laugh, has the same freckles in places she won’t
describe, makes the same mess when he tries to twirl pasta on his fork–but
somehow it’s not him.

It’s as if he’s only Scott skin deep, and beneath that is cold and emptiness.

Jean knows that she could make it better. The Phoenix energy within her would
make it so easy, she could just reach in and tweak a bit here, twist a little
there, take away all the bad memories and thoughts and everything would seem
right as rain. Except that nobody would ever trust her again, they’d hate her.
Especially Scott.

To distract herself, she reaches out to the other minds in the mansion.

The Professor is walking the halls, astonished and happy to be back in his home
with legs healed and working, but he is crippled by the guilt of the past days’
(could it be only days?) events. The idea that he tried to kill his sister while
they were still in the womb is practically inconceivable, and his mind is
twisting in an attempt to encompass the enormity of his crime.

He doesn’t even realize she is in his mind. Disturbed by this fact and faintly
guilty, she slips away again.

Skipping gently across the minds of several students–one dreaming about sex,
one about her parents’ divorce, and one having a nightmare about missing an
exam–she alights on Emma’s mind. A butterfly touch and she is nearly blown away
by the pain and grief, a hammer blow to her mind.

The blow isn’t even aimed at her, just at the world in general, but Jean reels
back, afraid to get any nearer to Emma as the other woman remembers all the dead
of Genosha.

She pulls away, unwilling to intrude on a grief more profound than hers.

Barnell is half-asleep, in that state where your mind conjures images and
partial dreams. Cassandra Nova looms like a funhouse clown over his head as he
cowers and begs her to stop.

Jean feels tears running down her cheek as the dream Barnell beats Hank over and
over again, until there isn’t an inch of him uninjured. Barnell sobs as he
pounds away, guilty even though he couldn’t have prevented what happened.

Her leap away from Barnell’s guilt sends her plowing into the edges of Xorn’s
mind and she recoils from the power, the inferno that is the only person whose
mental powers rival hers at the moment. The Phoenix stirs in the back of her
mind, restless, eager to challenge Xorn, see who’s stronger, but she pushes it
down.

She draws back into her own mind, saddened by the realization that there isn’t
anyone in the mansion who isn’t hurting, isn’t damaged in one way or another.
Years ago, she learned how to block it out, how to ignore the pain around her,
but those walls are breached and crumbling under the onslaught.

It’s harder tonight than is normal, because a week ago she did the impossible.
She split Xavier’s mind into a thousand, thousand pieces, and stuck them back
together again. It should have been impossible, but she did it. She did it.

She rolls back to face the clock and it ticks away a few more seconds, a few
seconds closer to time for her to get up and move on as if everything were
normal. Closer to pretending everything is fine.

Still sleeping, Scott rolls closer to her.

Jean cries and tries to ignore the feel of a dead man’s breath on her skin.

* * * * *

Remixer’s end notes: I specifically chose to keep bounce’s first and last lines
intact as a frame to my remix, and I hope I kept the spirit of what she was
trying to convey about Jean at this point in her life.

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