"Do you understand the trouble you're in?"
She wouldn't look at him, her tone still defiantly bored. "No. Does this mean you're going to dock my allowance?"
The sharp sound of a wooden chair suddenly being pushed back by the Detective's sudden standing; she guessed for emphasis. It still didn't make her look at him. Not that she needed to look at him to see everything going on in Interrogation Room 2, or the Salem County Sheriff and Detention Center as a whole. But at least he was standing now. "There's an Officer in the hospital, your friend in custody, and if anything happens to--"
Before Deputy Sheriff Dave Rebinski could finish his sentence, the sudden arrival of green eyes locked to his in an intensity that deep down, where this man hid the fears he could never admit to, he knew he could never dream to match. Dave Rebinski gained the attributes of silence and shock in such a rush that he hadn't even realized he never finished his sentence. With the absolute certainty of his badge, the six foot three inches and broad shoulders of Dave Rebinski could be intimidating despite the sagely nature his salt and paper hair with it's widow's peak might suggest.
But without that absolution, that power of institutional authority...well now the Deputy Sheriff just looked dumbfounded, staring, the five o'clock shadow of his slight second chin barely twitching, as if he were trying to formulate words that just didn't know how to become sound. That was the moment Jean Grey lost the heart for her act, when she released a deep sigh and ran her right hand through her hair. "Nothing will happen to him."
Hope sprang Dave Rebinski back to life, "How do you know?"
"You already know the answer to that," And he did, Jean was certain. He knew as instinctively as a squirrel knew to fear moving shadows on the ground. Survival was the greatest instinct man held, science told her, even if she knew it never quite held true for her. A fact illustrated when she stood up from her metal chair and walked around the Interrogation table, offering her wrists to him. "You should go call the hospital. It seems you're rather close to the officer that held the instinct to taze an eighteen year old girl. I'm sure you'll feel better once you hear his voice."
With a throat cleared out of discomfort, the Deputy Sheriff affixed handcuffs and turned for the door...until his body paused mid-motion, and slowly swung back to face that eighteen year old girl. "You scared him. Mutants scare him."
"Did blacks scare his grandfather? Gays terrify his father? Isn't it time to learn lessons we all should have learned by now? Nothing I can do about being a mutant and scary at the same time."
"Blacks and gays don't explode things with their hands or lift cars."
Jean Grey found her vision obstructed as her black lashes fluttered in a quick blink, and then she grinned. "Oh, prepare to be gripped by fear..."
Dave Rebinski actually chuckled, reaching out and opening the door. There was a uniformed officer with a pronounced nose and angular, thin, features that simply stared as Rebinski spoke up again. "You're entitled to a phone c--"
"No," Jean Grey shook her head, certain in her emphasis. "Don't want the phone call."
"We haven't contacted the Institute yet, unless your big friend did, then--"
No, Jean knew, I know someone's already coming. And it isn't Xavier. "No phone call. Just put me in a cell."
Despite lowering her eyes to the ground, she could still 'see' the surprise and confusion such a sentiment by an eighteen year girl caused the two officials surrounding her. She could almost hear Rebinski's thoughts; Why would she want to be locked away? What is she punishing herself for? It was a fair question, and one Jean had no interest in entertaining at the moment. As she walked white brick and fluorescent lit windowless hallways, Jean only focused on transmitting a thought to a mind and then severing the connection so quickly that she wouldn't get any feedback, emotional, cognitive, or otherwise. But she had to send him something; she knew he was worried. And she had already done enough to him, adding the torture of not knowing what was going on with her was another weight that Jean just couldn't put upon his massive shoulders.
I'm so sorry Hank. I don't know what happened.
She felt just as cruel keeping him from responding, but that was a necessary act: she needed the isolation, she needed the quiet of a cell. It was just good fortune that the holding cell she was taken to was empty. It gave her time and space to reconstruct, to attempt an understanding. Hank and she had gone into North Salem to meet with the County Commissioners to go line by line of the Salem County Tax Statutes, and the Institute's application for certain exemptions based on their status as a school. Hank went because Charles and Tessa were occupied, and it wasn't considered a big deal. Especially since Jean was going because two of the county Commissioners were former Judges that had been friends with her grandfather, men who had been to every 'birthday party' (if you could call it that) her grandparents threw her before her grandfather's death.
They asked basic questions, did two hours worth of line by line examination, and asked more complex questions that Jean had answers for simply because Xavier telepathically fed her information. Then it was over, the two friends of her family were asking about her choice in college; one boosting Yale, the other scoffing and insisting she head to Princeton. They laughed, took a few pictures, and made her feel 13 again. It likely didn't help she'd worn a plum colored skirt framed in intricate silk pearl bright lace threading along the it's hem, the white leggings, the pink flats, or the light pink cashmere sweater. She thought it was cute; but it likely fed into their image of her as their old pal's granddaughter.
Feeling 13 again was the worst of the entire afternoon until Hank and she walked out of the County Courthouse, and were faced with an angry mob of protesters with bandanas over the lower parts of their face on some, over sized sunglasses on others. Cowards, was Jean's initial reaction. When she saw the two cops she assumed they were here to help. For a second she even considered going back inside, but then the police were there, telling the protesters from the Church of Humanity in no uncertain terms to back off.
How that turned from being escorted to the car to assaulting a police officer...it was blank, but for that voice. Voices were nothing new to a telepath. But this one sounded like her own, phasing in and out of her mind as it pleased, here one day, gone for the next three weeks, then back again and louder than ever before dissipating and leaving her alone again. She remembered the policeman looking at Hank, she remembered what looked like disgust, the harsh order for Hank 'to move'...as if Hank was the problem, not the screaming fundamental lunatics. Then...she hit the cop? Why? She wasn't a violent person. She wasn't prone to outbursts. None of it made sense, none of it felt like her. It was as if she were being led like a puppet by invisible strings...but she was a telepath, and she knew when someone was in her mind.
No one had been in her mind. No outside force had any influence in that moment. Was the hostility triggering past trauma? There was no way of knowing, and her eyes burned in frustration even as the tears came hot as fire down her cheeks. A moment later she was curled up on a metal bench, trying to think of anything but that night...but she was powerless against the onslaught. The pain of tiny pieces of glass grating your skin apart, the foul air of blood and motor oil, and the unforgettable sound of a friend she hadn't been without since Kindergarten dying from the hemorrhaging of several organs and the shattering of most bones in her body.
For the thousandth time Jean Grey watched her best friend choke on her own blood as she tried to sob, try to scream in pain, scream for her mother. It was a full day after until Jean washed the blood off her hands. But the panic and the fear and the pain...Jean tried so hard to keep that spark of life alive. She begged Amanda to hold on. Jean pleaded, and sobbed, and prayed...and Amanda died.
Tears had dried when a sudden noise woke her, a noise she knew instantly as the opening of the cell. When she looked up...it wasn't exactly who she thought it might be. He wasn't particularly tall, he was a middle aged white man that looked slight of build but in good shape, brown hair that was closely cropped with a hairline that had receded a good bit. He wore a grey suit with a white dress shirt and a blue silk tie. The suit was quality, but not finely made.
"I don't recognize your tailor," She admitted, a post-waking fog settled over her mind in that moment.
"Suit Mart. Nice fit, fair price; good deal."
Even curled up against the cold brick of a holding cell, Jean Grey found herself with the slight touch of a smile. "Who are you?"
She recognized the badge he flashed with the practiced precision of an act he'd done countless times before: "Agent Coulson, S.H.I.E.L.D."
"Is Hank already out?"
His head shook quickly; he wasn't going to sugarcoat. His style seemed more direct. "No, ma'am. The Salem County D.A. considered you a juvenile, making the process to take you back to the Institute easy. Mr. McCoy, however, will have to stay until a call from the home office can be made."
Home office, he said as if he were no more than an IRS auditor. If she didn't feel so rotten, she might've laughed at the irony. Instead she simply unlocked the arms that had been hugging her knees, and slid off the bench to stand. "Let's go." The Agent moved and motioned for her to go ahead of him, either as a precaution or as a matter of letting a lady go first, she was almost tempted to 'peek' in order to find out. But she didn't. Her mind stayed well within itself, keeping the wall. The car ride was silence, her eyes out the passenger seat window, watching the world roll by.
Twilight had nearly settled when they arrived at the Mansion. Charles and Tessa were already at the front doorway, waiting. Charles and Tessa looked concerned, but it wouldn't take long until even that would change. The foursome moved quickly to Charles' office, and immediately Coulson began to break down exactly what happened, blow by blow, as if he'd been there the whole time. Government spook indeed, was all Jean allowed her mind before her thoughts, and Agent Coulson, were interrupted.
Charles stared right at her, like they were the only two people in the room. She sighed, her arms slid over her chest in a tight hug as her head began to shake. "I don't know," an admission given with a quiet, defeated, tone. "I really don't know."
"Not good enough, Jean! Something has to be going in, you've never shut me out before...even now."
Was he hurt she had isolated her mind from everyone and everything? Was he upset about the damage this might have done to his school, his mission? Her mind was a hive of thoughts, of voices...until she heard one voice clearer than any other, a voice she realized was her own only after she had already begun to scream. "I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED!" Her body turned away before turning back at him again, her mind scrambling to react to sudden scream. Her chest was rising high and low with each deep breath she took to calm herself. "I blacked out. I have no idea what happened, Charles. And if that's not good enough then I can start packing now."
Charles Xavier held in his brown eyes a look of exasperation she had never seen before. Like she wounded him anew, as if she'd meant to do anything to him, his school, his dream...she was almost in tears again before Tessa Niles finally moved, a black Prada pencil skirt and a shining white button up blouse, hair up and tied behind her head, glasses on...it felt like the Headmistress jumping in to referee. "You can go get some fresh air," she said it softly, but her gaze was anything but, and stayed upon him like a dagger to his throat until Charles Xavier sighed, and walked for the exit in order to find composure.
But Charles Xavier could regain his composure like few men Jean had ever met. When he passed her on his way to leave, he stopped. She looked up at him sullen and hiding behind her crossed arms. Then the son of a bitch hugged her, and left her wide eyed and tearful instead of simply sullen and tearful. "I was scared. I'm sorry."
Jean couldn't say what she wanted to say in anything but a whisper. "Funny. That's what the cop said, too."
Something profound caught Charles Xavier right in the chest, something that stopped his world and forced him to stare at the red headed girl from Boston for a moment that was longer than any Jean could recall that didn't include blood and motor oil. "I'm sorry. Thank you." He tried to smile at her, but his own shame in giving in so easily to his own petty fear was plain enough on his face.
"Your classmates know," Tessa addressed her a beat after Xavier's exit, "I'm sure they have their questions, and I'm sure they'd like to see you."
"Tess," For a single heartbeat Jean paused, before deciding she had to try, she had to say something: "We can't leave Hank."
At that, Tessa Niles smiled softly. "I don't intend to leave Hank in jail, Jean. At the moment I'm trying to contact the District Attorney and our own lawyer. In fact I was just about to talk to Agent Coulson about that very thing. You don't mind, Agent Coulson?"
The Agent was all business as he again gave a quick shake of his head. "No, ma'am, I don't. I did want to ask you about Malibu, though."
"The weird heat signatures off the PCH?" Tessa stared at the man, not just a little confused.
This time, he gave a curt government issue nod. "The infrared showed--"
Jean quickly rose her hand, not caring the least about infrared spectrum satellite imagery. "Thank you, Agent Coulson. Tess." With a polite smile and a duck motion, Jean was closing the door behind her, staring at the plush rugs and rich wood paneling of the Mansion hall. "...ohboy. This oughta be fun."