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What Happened Last Night...

Right now, Jean's former room is very spartan. Bare. When she moved out, she made sure to get everything that belonged to her out. She had no intention of returning. In all reality… she doesn't want to be here. But she has to be. She will help where she can… but this is no longer her home. This old mansion, where she did much of her growing up, doesn't feel like home. Not anymore.
Jean sits on the edge of the bare bed, staring out the window into the darkness. Her mind wanders.. she is tired. Her head hurts. She finds herself… frightened. Hope is a commodity she hardly has at this moment. Her gaze drifts towards the door, and she smiles a little as she pushes herself to her feet.

Ivan would knock once on the wooden door, and as his hand draws back to knock again, the door suddenly opens. Jean smiles to him as she stands there, in her yellow and black X-Men original outfit. "Ivan, thanks for coming." She steps out, closing the door behind her. Now normally she would be polite and invite him in.. but for her it's not her room anymore.

Those emerald green eyes watch his as she speaks in a gentle tone, the same kind of smile upon her lips. "First off.. I really am glad to see you still around. And you did great out there. I was darn impressed.. but not surprised, I guess. I'm glad you were there with us. But now…" she sighs softly, her arms wrapping about her midsection as she speaks, her eyes now diverting from him "I can't stay here tonight. Not.. because of you or anything. Nothing like that. And I wouldn't ask for something this dumb if I had thought things out… but…" she sighs and looks back to him, her head bowed down slightly and her eyes still on him "I don't have any money. Or my I.D. I changed into this" she now motions to herself as she continues "at the rally, and well…" she pats her hips and then down her thighs as if looking for something "No pockets for money or I.D. I left my bag back at the rally. I'm sorry to ask… I don't want to use you as a taxi… but I need to get back there quick to get my stuff…"

The moment his knuckles poised for a second strike against the door, Jean materialized before him, door ajar, a sight that caught him off guard and prompted him to question her urgency.

Ivan could only respond to her compliment with a grateful yet subdued smile.

"You are too kind Jean, I appreciate the commendation, the pleasure is entirely mine."

However, his smile faltered as he detected a sudden shift in her demeanor and the unease she struggled to conceal. Ivan maintained silence until Jean concluded her thoughts, offering her a sympathetic smile, recognizing the effort it likely took for her to approach him.

"It's okay, I completely understand, nothing is unimportant to me if you felt the need to bring it up to me."

Noticing Jean still clad in her uniform, it dawned on him that she had been wearing it for quite some time.

"No need for apologies. If you ever need to go somewhere, just give me a call. I insist."

He then turned, gesturing for her to follow him out of the mansion, his Nexus Gateways can be bit noisy. As they exited into the courtyard, he turned back, extending his hand to Jean.

"Traveling through the Nexus Gateways can be disorienting both spatially and mentally. The first time I used my mutant powers, I was vomiting for three minutes straight and ended up passing out."

He reminisced with a smile, though his face contorted as he realized the discomfort his words might cause.

"OK that isn't helping, but I've since improved. Just hold on."

He chuckled nervously, making a mental note to pay attention to social cues more often.

With a stomp on the concrete ground, it shattered all around them as if made of glass, a surreal sight that belied the reality of space itself fracturing. A cascade of blue, white, and magenta light seeped through the cracks, before the world seemed to flip on itself, and in a blur, they found themselves in the parking garage that they all met and captured the Mystique variant. Ivan wasn't sure where exactly her stuff was so he transported them to the last place they were together. For first timers it would take about a few seconds for thier brain and senses to "correct itself".

"Here we are."​

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As they start to walk together down the hall, Jean shakes her head with a small smile. And while she speaks, she reaches back and draws up her mask over her face. She then takes a few moments to pull her ponytail through the back of the mask. "I appreciate the offer, Ivan. I truly do. But I would feel really guilty and awkward using you as my Lyft. Some people's gifts shouldn't be used for such shallow things. In.. in my opinion."

Her gaze drifts as they walk through the mansion, and then the outer properties themselves. She truly appreciates Ivan being sensitive to those that are sleeping in the mansion. Although she would question how many in residence are actually sleeping with all that is going on.
Except Matthew, she supposes.

Jean marvels at the breadth of the portal Ivan has magically mutantly conjured. She smiles widely and reaches out to his outstretched hand. "Ivan, sweety, I have been through many a portal of all kinds of disciplines. For many a year. I'm sure I'll be fine." She nods to him as she smiles assuredly "But yes your bedside manner could use some work." She says with a soft chuckle.

Now with him she enters the portal, eyes closing as they step in. If only she was as strong as she had stated.

Jean steps/stumbles out of the portal, her hand drawing away from Ivan's. She blinks as she stumbles once more, and she falls on her butt onto the ground a few feet from him. Her face is pale and she lays back onto the grass, her hands now over her eyes as she groans.

"Very.. possible… I over… estimated… myself…. guuuuuh….."

Ivan would take her word for it; she was, after all, an esteemed member of the original X-Men, and he could only speculate about the harrowing missions she had undoubtedly undertaken alongside her peers.

Yet, the moment they materialized, he observed Jean faltering, struggling to compose herself, and instinctively extended a hand, prepared to catch her should she faint.

"I warned you, although I don't dispute your experience traversing an array of portals. However, the Nexus Gateways transcend conventional categorization; they're not merely magical, cosmic, or even scientific in essence. Rather, they are primordial phenomena linked to the very first Multiverse itself."

Extending his hand in a gesture of assistance, he offered her an apologetic smile, his brow creased with concern.

"Short lore I'm gonna give you: these gateways predate the formation of our current Multiverse, and was once used to facilitate travel to previous Multiverses and foreign dimensions within the Outer Void by the Beyonders. When I deploy my mutant ability, we momentarily traverse the Nexus of All Realities, relocating to another destination within the span of a zeptosecond—a feat deemed scientifically impossible, but who cares. I've never really told anyone about my powers other than Xavier and now you."

As he spoke, he fixed his gaze upon the floor, idly tracing patterns with his foot—a telltale sign of his nervousness.

"You probably didn't want to hear that but Xavier said I could trust you and I can see why."

Anticipating challenges ahead following the professor's disappearance, Ivan was keenly aware of the bond shared between Jean and Xavier. Witnessing Eric assume control dealt a severe blow to Jean's principles—a bitter pill to swallow. He wished he could give her that comfort but he thought it wasn't his place and kept his distance.

"I wouldn't want to disappoint him if I was not able to help when I could've, so please, don't be afraid to ask. We can even establish a psychic link if you want, but that's up to you."​

She lays there on her back, taking a moment or so to get her bearings. She then grins and lets out a sigh when her hands move to rest in the grass. "I know I know you warned me. And you were very right." She lets out a soft chuckle, one hand reaching up to his. With a gentle grunt she pulls herself up with his assistance, her other hand moving to grasp his forearm. And as he speaks of his powers, she smiles and brushes herself off.

"Hey." She says softly, a gloved hand now moving to his shoulder. Her tone is reassuring and genuine. "I am truly honored you would trust me enough to tell me that." Seeing/sensing his nervousness and hesitation, she gives his shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "And since it seems sensitive for you, I won't tell anyone unless you give me the say so." she nods and now pulls her hand away, looking over her shoulder towards the parking garage itself. She focuses herself for only a moment, and then he would be able to sense a surge psionic energy. At the same time she looks back to him, the same caring and genuine look upon her features.

"You and I don't know each other terribly well, Ivan. But what I do know is that you're a good man, and you would have to work hard to disappoint Charles." She looks to her left with a glance, and then raises her hand half into the air, seeming for no reason. She looks back to him as she continues. "You did more than I did after he left. You stayed at the mansion, you carried on. And I know he would be so grateful for that simple act. You're in real good standing with Charles. With all of us. But…"

Out of the darkness an object is seen seemingly being thrown towards them from behind Jean. Her backpack flies into her hand, and she now lowers it so she is holding it in front of herself. "That doesn't mean we should get you out in the middle of the night to be our taxi. There's a big difference between relying on someone and taking advantage of them. And I know…" she looks to him as one of her hands rummages through the small green bag, the act accompanied by the muffled sound of clinking and moving things (it's obvious the bag isn't that organized). "you see it differently. And maybe others will too, but it wouldn't make me feel comfortable asking someone to use their amazing gifts for my convenience. I mean… if I asked Wolverine to slice my bread every time I needed it, well you know he wouldn't tolerate that for long." She chuckles softly, and she looks down to her phone as she turns it on.

"But as for a psychic link.. with all due respect, hun…" she looks back up to him as her features are now lit a bit with the light from her phone's display "That's more of a third date thing." She says with another soft chuckle, her tone a joking one. "You are really powerful, your psi-signature is really easy to spot from about anywhere. And you know I can shout pretty loudly on the Astral Plane" a very very rudimentary way of describing how strong they both are. "A psychic link is a very intimate thing, and has to be taken seriously. I've only made one with Charles, and that's it. And that was just because I was really young and didn't have the control I have now. So let's hold off on a link, okay?" She says with a little nod, and then she looks down at her phone. "Oh my goodness there are so many angry texts from Shawn and Kim…" a small smirk on her lips.

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Ivan comprehended Jean's intentions, recognizing her altruistic and humble nature, qualities he admired. He couldn't refute her perspective; it was a matter of her feelings, over which he had no control.

"I understand, Jean. Your intentions are good, and I appreciate that. It was merely a suggestion."

When Jean highlighted the significance of a psychic connection, Ivan felt a pang of embarrassment. Psychic links were reserved for those closest to him, a fact he should have remembered. Mentally facepalming, he averted his eyes in embarrassment.

"You're absolutely right. I apologize for intruding like that. I forgot how significant a psychic link can be. And by the way, Jean, you're beautiful, but I prefer men."

He flashed her a cheeky grin, though he hadn't intended to reveal his sexuality. In today's society, mutants didn't place much importance on sexual orientation, but it still felt sudden.

"You better respond to them before they tear your head off," he joked, referring to Jean's friends.

"But I'll leave you to it. Are you sure you're okay staying out for the night?"
Jean smiles as she watches Ivan, recognizing he's a little embarrassed about what she said about the link. But as he said… it's something of an intimate connection to another being. It isn't just used as a psychic GPS… it's a bond that can share emotions and thoughts. Even unintentionally. She loves all of her friends, she does. But having a psychic bond with them is a whole other level.

But that doesn't mean she wouldn't do it with the right person.

And then her warm smile turns into a smirk. Tilting her head a little to the side, she realizes he just admitted to her that he was gay. Which is something she never even suspected about him! The fact he chose to share that with her, along with the revelation of his powers… well that does make Jean feel closer to him. Not… psychic bond level, but still.

She nods in agreement with him when he says she was beautiful, a joking grin on her features. She then leans in and wraps an arm around his shoulders, pulling him into a light hug. She winks to him as she speaks "Well if it helps, so am I." She laughs gently and releases him then.

Glancing down at her phone once more she nods in agreement. "Yeeeeah I really should. We were all supposed to go to Glazed and Amused tonight." She glances towards Ivan, her features alight in the gentle glow of her phone's screen "It's.. a place ya go and paint these lil statues and all. It's actually fun." She then makes a dismissive motion, as if assuming Ivan had started spacing out when she tried to explain.

"As for the rest…" Her thumbs begin to type very very quickly on her phone as she looks down at it, and then she looks up to Ivan, her thumbs still typing. "I'm good, hun. I was going to anyways. Not sure how ready I am to sleep at the mansion again. So… I'll see ya in the morning." She clicks off her phone and tucks it back into her bag, taking a few steps away from him. She gives him a little wave as she smiles. "Thanks again for the ride. Talk to ya tomorrow!" She then turns, still waving and moving into the darkness.

Now begin the next day….
While for the others, this next day had started at the mansion… for Jean it had not. As she told Ivan, she wasn't quite ready to sleep in her old room yet. Or any room within that mansion. She just… wasn't ready. So she had gotten a hotel room… she had a headache most of the night because the room smelled like smoke and the air conditioner apparently had a diesel truck engine in it as that is how it sounded…. but come sun-up Jean had started to make her way back to the mansion.

Now whether or not you believe in fate… or coincidence… or dumb luck… or whatever… there was some of that happening this morning. At least for Jean. The first stop was to get hot chocolate. The second stop was at an alley where she stumbled across… Scott Summers. Being Scott Summers. Saving someone, of course. Because what else would the man do while in the city?

They conversated, walked together, traded gentle smiles and sentiments… and he agreed to come back to the mansion with her. She isn't sure how long he would stay, despite his words to the contrary. And so she didn't tell anyone that she ran into him. She wants to think he would keep to his word (in fact she knows he will), but to much has been lost for her as of late for the commitment to seem real. Perhaps she doesn't want to put to much hope into it. Once bitten…twice shy…

Now Jean walks up to the front gates, looking towards Scott as her open hand motions to the gate. The gate slowly swings open, just enough to allow them entry. "So just as a refresher… 2 Mystiques… otherworld Apocalypse… attempted assassination of Gyrich. Hank is here… so is Magneto. And one of his pals. But so is Ivan. I'm sure you remember him. And… that's about it I think…" She steps inside of the gate (which is still quite a walk from the front stoop of the school) and looks in the direction of said mansion. "Like I said.. I didn't really want to stay there last night. Just didn't feel… right.." her slim shoulders shrug a little, a soft sigh escaping her lips.
That morning...

The rest of the night had passed with no further incident. The other universe's Mystique—who had called herself Envy—returned to her cell willingly, though not before requesting two more bowls of Matt's stew. One could only imagine the hunger in a world dominated by such a cruel overlord.

Down in the lab, the Mystique everyone knew and probably didn't love stirred. She drew out an irritated sigh, seeing she was still locked in her cell. A low hum was audible, a force field now ensuring both women remained inside. "And when am I getting out of here? I'm obviously not the threat here," she complained aloud, regardless of whether or not anyone was listening.

"Never thought I'd hear that come out of my mouth and it be sincere," Envy remarked wryly.

"It didn't come out of your mouth. Now shush," Mystique hissed in reply.

Above ground was a more tranquil scene; the sun had slowly risen, the mansion and trees casting long shadows in the golden light. The dew sat undisturbed on the sprawling estate's well-manicured lawn, then evaporated slowly.

Jean and Scott may have been the first to notice the sun wasn't the only yellow thing that had come to brighten their day. The hum of a car engine preceded its rounding the corner. The taxi passed the two, allowing a glimpse at the white-haired passenger inside, and came to a stop in front of the mansion, its breaks squeaking. After a moment, the rear passenger-side door swung open, and the tall owner of that legendary mane stepped out. She turned to thank her driver and count out his payment and tip from a stack of twenties, tens, and fives. Evidently, she was unaware her two peers were nearby.
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Hank Mccoy
After the incident Hank had decided to go check his injuries before getting some rest. Luckily it wasnt anything major, guess thatd be the experience from fights helping. He went back into the lab afterwards with some coffee, he disliked it but he needed the caffeine. So he continued his work alongside some other ideas

As the morning came Hank had been working all night trying to continue his analysis and ensure no wires where around for potential future attempts of escape. He turned around at Mystique's words with a chuckle. "sorry to say but i have no clue, waiting till we get the all clear i guess" he saud jovially. Trying to keep the mood up a bit as he sipped at his mug, cringing a bit at the taste but once again appreciating the caffeine.

He went back to his work for a little bit humming. However he couldn't keep up at it for too long before he realised he probably needed food...and time away from the equipment. He knew everything was more secure now so felt it was alright to leave for the kitchen. "ill bring you two food when i finish" he said moving upstairs and headed into the kitchen.​
As they approached the mansion together, Scott listened to Jean's summary of the current situation, his expression thoughtful and a bit tense, given the gravity of the news she shared. He gave a slight nod at the mention of Hank, Magneto, and Ivan, his mind already turning over potential strategies and questions that needed answers.

When the taxi pulled up and they caught a glimpse of the white-haired passenger, a hint of recognition flickered in Scott's eyes before he focused back on Jean. "It looks like we're not the only ones arriving this morning," he commented, nodding subtly towards the taxi.

As the passenger stepped out and began to settle her fare with the driver, Scott's demeanor shifted slightly, recognizing the newcomer as one of their own. "Say...Is that...? It's Ms. Ororo's here! You didn't say she'd be coming by," he observed quietly to Jean, a slight smile touching his lips at the sight of another familiar face. "Maybe things are starting to come together after all."

He glanced at Jean, gauging her reaction to Ororo's arrival before suggesting, "Should we go say 'hi', or give her a moment to settle in and surprise her later?" Scott's tone was even, but there was an underlying note of sincerity, a reminder of the bond that tied the X-Men together, no matter how far or how long they'd been apart.
Jean's eyes watch as the cab goes by them, not really picking up as yet who is in the transportation. Continuing to walk with Scott, absently she would nod to his words. Who in the world could be coming at this time of the morning? And more importantly… why the hell didn't she get a cab instead of walking the rest of the way to the mansion?

Jean would now stop and squint to try and see who it is coming out of the cab… but as usual Scott is ahead of her. A soft gasp escapes her lips, and she exclaims " 'Ro!" Immediately she starts to get more excited then. Other women were usually far and few between within the mansion (X-Men… pfft), but Storm was someone Jean had immediately connected with. And they had become as sisters. "I… I had no idea!" Astonishment apparent in her tone of voice. "I mean if I had I would have been here sooner!" She starts to go into a job with Scott's query. She looks over her shoulder to see if he is following step… and sees he isn't moving as fast as she would like. With a huff she spins on her heels and grabs him by the wrist. A surge of unfelt energy embraces them both and lifts them a few inches off the ground. "You are moving far to slowly, Summers!" She is half joking and half serious. As one they now move an inch above the ground, moving faster than either of them could just running.

And in Storm's mind, she would hear a familiar whispered echoing voice ++Ororo! I'm so happy you're here!++