Jean stretched out her awareness, looking for Logan. Professor Xavier had said the other woman was leaving, but hadn’t given an indication of when.
Jean found outside, leaning on the fence that surrounded the mansion and its property, watching some of the kids playing basketball. She was dressed in her own clothes again: flannel shirt, leather jacket and all, and had her bag slung over her shoulder.
Jean touched Logan’s arm gently. “I heard you’re leaving.”
“I have to do this.” Logan touched her dog tags, once again hanging around her neck. “I have to—”
“I’m not here to stop you,” Jean said.
Logan looked at her. For once, she wasn’t glaring. She looked almost vulnerable in this moment, though Jean knew Logan’s mutation made her anything but.
“I thought maybe I could help you,” Jean said.
Logan jerked her head in the direction of the mansion. “What about the school?”
“I’m not leaving forever,” Jean sounded defensive, even to herself. She closed her eyes and takes a deep breath. “I want to help you.” Logan still looked skeptical, so she continued. “And honestly, I— I need some space.”
She didn’t mention the concerned looks Professor Xavier has been giving her ever since she woke up after using Cerebro, or the intermittent problems with her telepathy.
Logan’s expression softened into something that resembled sympathy. But what she said was, “I was planning on taking the bike.”
Jean raised her eyebrows. “That’s Scott’s.”
“Is it?” Logan smirked at her. Jean rolled her eyes and wondered just what she’d gotten herself into.
Jean had never been camping before, unless you counted sleeping under the stars with the other students in the security of the mansion’s backyard.
Logan most definitely didn’t think that counted, and after setting up a tent out here, in what was almost certainly not a designated camping area, Jean would have to agree.
“We should take the students camping,” Jean mused.
At the look Logan gave her, she rushed to clarify. “The teachers, I mean. Not— not we, you and me.”
She stared at the fire Logan was trying to coax along.
“Most of them are runaways, you know. We try to give them as many normal experiences as we can— equip them for the rest of their lives, but…” She shrugged.
“Some of ‘em ain’t ever gonna be normal,” Logan said. Jean could tell that her thoughts had drifted to Rogue; she could remember Rogue’s first words to the gruff older woman like they’d just happened, and—
Jean shook her head. “You were in cage fights?” she asked.
“You were in my head?” Logan snarled. Her claws weren’t out, but it looked like a close thing.
“It was an accident!” Jean exclaimed. She winced at the noise of her own voice, pressing her fingers to her temples.
“What’s going on, Jean?” Logan’s tone was suspicious, and Jean couldn’t blame her.
“I don’t know,” she confessed. “Ever since I used Cerebro, my telepathy has been...off.”
Logan pulled a cigar out of her pocket and lit it. She didn’t seem to have a response, so Jean continued.
“It was worse at the mansion. There’s so many people there, so many minds...Professor Xavier knows, but he didn’t say anything before I left.”
“Can’t imagine he’d have let you leave if he thought it was serious,” Logan said through a puff of cigar smoke.
Jean turned this thought over for a few minutes. It felt self-important; Professor Xavier had a lot of things to worry about. But she’d known him for years; she’d been one of his first students. She wasn’t anywhere near as powerful as he was, but he’d still taught her all of her methods for control himself. If he’d thought she was a danger to herself or to others, he would have said something.
“You’re right,” she said.
Logan nodded at her, a slight smile on her face.
Another night, another campfire, just a little further north.
She stuck out the claws on her right hand and impaled a hot dog on each of them, then stuck them into the fire.
“Doesn’t that hurt?”
Logan shrugged a shoulder dismissively. “Not that bad.”
Jean finished the last of her own slightly charred hot dog and licked her fingers clean. She looked up to see Logan watching her from across the campfire.
“What?” Jean asked.
Logan just shook her head. Then she winced and pulled her claws out of the fire, revealing three blackened hot dogs.
Jean stared into the fire. “What do you think we’re going to find?” They hadn’t spoken much about what might be at the end of their journey or about what Logan was searching for.
“Answers,” Logan said, ferociously biting into one of her hot dogs.
Jean frowned. “What are you so afraid of, Logan?”
Logan glared at her. Jean gave her the same unimpressed look she’d given Bobby the time he turned the mansion’s dining room into an ice rink.
Logan looked away, and ruffled a hand through her short hair. “The professor told you about my memories.”
Logan sighed, still not quite looking at Jean. “I know what I’m capable of. I know the kinds of things I’ve done. But I don’t—” She touched her dog tags again. “I don’t remember getting these.”
Jean moved around the fire. She placed a hand on Logan’s cheek.
“You’re a good woman, Logan,” she said.
“If you were as bad as you thought, I wouldn’t be here right now. And neither would Scott, or Ororo, or Rogue.”
Logan brought up her hand, and pressed it over Jean’s. They sat like that for a long moment, and as Jean looked into Logan’s dark eyes, she reflected that she’d rarely been this intimate with another person without going inside their mind.
And then Logan’s lips were against hers, and there was no room left for reflection in Jean’s mind at all.
Logan parked on the side of the road. They’d have to walk a couple of miles to get from there to the actual lake.
Jean shivered in the cold air. There was still a little bit of snow on the ground here, but she didn’t pack for early spring in Canada.
“Here.” A weight settled around Jean’s shoulders. She smiled at Logan as she slipped her arms into the leather jacket and pulled it tight around her.
“I don’t know what we’re gonna find.” Logan extended a claw and started chopping away, machete-like, at underbrush in order to make a path.
“Neither do I,” Jean said, hurrying after her. She stuffed her hands into the jacket pockets in an attempt to keep them warm. “And I don’t know when or if my telepathy is going to act up again, and I don’t know how to fix it, and I don’t know what it might do to me. But we’re going to get through this.”
She slipped one of her hands into Logan’s free hand, squeezing it reassuringly.
Logan laced their fingers together. “We’re almost there,” she said.
Jean pressed a kiss to Logan’s cheek and followed her toward the lake.