Categories > Cartoons > X-Men: Evolution > Heart of the Phoenix

Trust and Betrayal

by slickboy444 3 Reviews

While still struggling with the Phoenix, a mysterious force is plaguing Scott Summers and it's a force that's frighteningly similar. In addition, a powerful warrior becomes involved and the Xmen fa...

Category: X-Men: Evolution - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Romance - Characters: Colossus, Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Jean, Nightcrawler, Professor Xavier, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine, X23 - Published: 2006/06/29 - Updated: 2006/06/29 - 5984 words

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Heart of the Phoenix
Chapter 7: Trust and Betrayal


**************************************************

In the cold depths of space, a fiery trail bearing the cries of countless souls echoed through the cosmos. Stars trembled at the presence of the powerful entity known as Phoenix as it soared majestically through the heavens at speeds that defied all understanding.

She was confused about so many things. Who was she? What were these feelings that had overtaken her? Why was she having these inexplicable sensations? She shouldn't have felt this way. Everything should have been made right the moment she found her prime avatar. Eons of dormancy should have ended with rejoice, not with chaos.

Now, all she felt was hunger...Hunger for new sensations and new feelings. The unsettled emotions of the young woman whose body she dwelled within were sending her into a fit of uncontrolled torment. It was horrible and wonderful at the same time. She didn't know what to do or how to stop this. And it only got stronger.

"Jean...Phoenix...Life...Death...Creation...Destruction. I crave...I fear...I yearn for new sensations! No control! No balance! Mortal! Immortal! YESSSSSS!"

As she passed by a lone star with no planets, the raging entity let out a deafening cry as she unleashed a cosmic scale burst of her fiery fury, causing the whole star to erupt in a hail of stellar level supernova.

It was a sight no living thing had ever witnessed before. It was a power that no being had ever wielded before. And yet here she was, Jean Grey-Summer, destroying a star on a mere whim.

"YESSSSSSS! I feel it! All the rage! All the destruction! All the beauty! I AM PHOENIX! I AM RAW PASSION!"

It horrified and overjoyed her. With one whim, she destroyed a star. Yet there were trillions of stars out there. Some had planets and some didn't and she had the power to determine whether they could continue to exist.

It was power on a cosmic scale. Without this mortal body, she never could have experienced such heights. And perhaps this was the purpose of having merged with her...To experience these new sensations and become something much more than a mere force of creation and destruction.

Yet despite this power, she still felt...Incomplete. All she knew was chaos. And every time she didn't feel new sensations, she craved it like a drug. But this would eventually wear out. So what more was there? Could she keep going until it was all gone? Creating and destroying for mortal sensations?

The Phoenix had neither the capacity nor the understanding to find these answers. All she had to go on was the mortal being of Jean Grey. Yet no matter how far she flew or how much she craved, she still felt that part of her deep within, fighting and crying for an end to this turmoil. And at the heart of it all was a single image...A single picture in her mind that the Phoenix couldn't ascertain.

It was the image of a mortal man and a little girl...An image that made Jean's heart swell with love and passion. Such a feeling could not be understood by the Phoenix, but the more it experienced these new sensations, the more crazed it became as it kept descending into the world of Dark Phoenix.

**************************************************

Back down on a lowly dot in the cosmos known as Earth, Scott Summers remained awake through the entire night. While others tried to rest, he just couldn't sleep while his wife was out there suffering at the hands of some cosmic entity.

He couldn't believe this had happened. All those nightmares that had been plaguing her...They were warnings and he didn't heed them. Now Jean was gone and his heart was in a million pieces.

All he could think about was getting her back. And for the rest of the night, he stood out on the balcony calling out to Jean through their link, begging for her to come back.

'Jean...Jean, please! Where are you? It's me! Please answer me! Wherever you are, please come back to me! I love you. I miss you. Please!'

He needed her. Their baby needed her. They all needed her. It literally tore at his heart. He had endured watching his family die and living a life of loneliness and loss, but nothing could have possibly hurt like this.

With the sun rising, Scott Summers remained motionless as he watched the stars give way to the morning sun. Looking back inside, he saw his daughter had finally fallen asleep. He remembered how hysterical she had been when they got back, crying desperately for her mommy. And Scott could do nothing but hold her with all the love a father could muster.

Looking back at her sleeping form, Scott Summers hated himself. What kind of father was he? His wife was gone, his daughter was in pain, and he was completely powerless to help either of them.

But he was still determined to get Jean back. He wasn't about to let some cosmic entity destroy his family. He needed Jean and so did Rachel. And as long as she was still out there, he had a vow to make good on. In sickness and in health...Till death do they part...He was going to get her back. Even if he had to go to the end of the universe and back, he was going to get her back.

He just wished he knew where to start.

**************************************************

While Scott and Rachel were dealing with their loss and many of the regulars trying to rest up from what they had endured, the Professor remained wide awake as he, Hank, Logan, Ororo, and Laura remained in the sub-levels with the only clue they had to uncovering this mystery...Emma Frost.

She was among the only survivors of Phoenix's wrath. She had used her powers to knock them out and she had tried to control the Phoenix so that Hellfire could use her. But with that having gone awry, she had a lot to answer for. And since she was out cold, the only place she would be staying from now on was the holding brig.

"So how much longer before I get to tear into her?" growled Logan with an angry look.

"Easy Logan. Nobody's tearing into anything," said Xavier, trying keep things civil for the sake of her former student, "We need to question her, not interrogate her."

"But she helped those Hellfire pricks!" yelled Laura, who decided to join them instead of sleep, much to Xavier's dismay, "Why would she want to tell us anything if she helped them willingly?!"

"Because I know her," said Xavier confidently, "I know Emma better than anybody. I taught her, I trained her, and I was close to her for many years. And I know she isn't capable of such insidious actions unless there's a very good reason behind it."

"Maybe so, Charles. But keep in mind, this is a woman you haven't even been in contact with for over a decade," said Hank, finding it equally difficult to see how anybody could help Hellfire without having a sick sense of cruelty.

"Yeah, a lot can happen in that span of time, Chuck!" shot Logan, "For all you know, she could have been playing you from day one!"

The wheel chair bound man let out a deep sigh. He knew this was bad. He had failed his students, he had failed himself, and worst of all he had failed his family. He remembered hearing Rachel's painful cries and how angry the team had been at Emma since they blamed her for making them hear them.

But in reality, he knew it was his fault that this had happened. For ten years, he had known about this, yet he kept it from everybody. He wanted to make things right, but he didn't know how. He only hoped that what they were saying about Emma was untrue and that she would help them.

"Let's not jump to conclusions my friends," said the Professor calmly, "Emma should be waking up any minute and regardless of what you think about her, she's the only lead we have towards the Phoenix."

Not arguing that point, the resident elders fell silent as they watched the young woman behind the barrier stir. She let out several groans, hinting she had taken a harder spill than previously thought. Her mind was still fuzzy, but she was alive and that was good enough for her...Or so she thought.

"Ugh...What the..."

"Emma..." said the Professor, "Emma, it's Charles."

With the sudden realization of what was going on, Emma's eye shot open.

"What the hell?! Charles, what's the meaning of this?!" she yelled as she got up and started banging on the energy barrier.

"You tell us Frosty," growled Logan with a feral look, "You're the one who had us imprisoned before. We're just returning the favor."

"You filthy piece of..." she began, her voice brimming with anger, "Let me out of here!"

"Why? So you can mind fuck everybody again?!" shot Laura, sharing her father's viewpoint on this matter.

"You don't understand!" she yelled, "I...I had no choice!"

"Bullshit!" yelled Logan, "Jeannie's stuck in some ancient bird's body that YOU helped resurrect and you're gonna pay!"

"I'm telling you, I HAD TO DO IT!" she yelled, her eyes locked with Logan's.

"Had to?! How in the hell could..."

Then finally, Ororo stepped in and stopped Logan from going into a rage. She was angry too, but fighting with her wasn't going to get them any closer to getting Jean back.

"Easy Logan! Easy!" said the former weather goddess, her tone urging him to stop, "Let's hear her out. We need her. Maybe she can put a few things into perspective."

The mention of Jean was enough to calm him down, although Laura was still in a state of entrenched anger. But once her father backed down, she soon followed and at last the tension was beginning to lift.

"Emma..." said the Professor with a sincere look, "Please tell me...What were you doing? Why were you helping them?"

Emma Frost was never one to get choked up about much. She had always been strong and steadfast. But looking back at these angry people she hurt so much, she couldn't help but hang her head low. She knew she had done some unsavory things in her past, but none of them made her feel this bad.

It was all her fault. Yet in the end, she didn't have a choice.

"I'm sorry, Charles," she choked out, "I truly am sorry. I...I had no idea that it would get this bad. I had no idea this would cause you and your friends so much pain. And I..."

"Spare us the sappy apology, lady," said Logan in a low tone, "Why did you help them? If you're so sorry, then why did you go along with this whole clusterfuck?"

"I told you! I didn't have a choice!" she said on the verge of tears.

"Emma please..." coaxed Xavier, "Be calm. I understand this is difficult, but I have to know. How did you end up helping Hellfire? And why?"

"Because..." she said in a morose tone, "I have a history with them."

"History?" said Hank curiously, his keen intellect not convinced.

"Yes...A history. You see, after you helped me gain control of my powers, I set out to make my own place in the world. So I used my knack for business to set up my own company, Frost Enterprises with some of the money I had from my family's old connections. And I was good at what I did. I made a lot of money. And since I was also a mutant, I caught the attention of the Hellfire Club."

"So what did you do? Join them?" scoffed Logan, earning him another scold from the blonde telepath.

"Of course not! I didn't even know who they were at the time, but I became a part of their world when I met Sebastian Shaw."

"Shaw?" said Ororo, sensing the undertone in her voice, "Don't tell me that you were..."

"I was," she confirmed with a look of shame, "Shaw and I became...Involved when he learned that I was a mutant and a prominent figure in the business world. I admit we had a fling. But I didn't know about his...Secret life. I only went along with him because I thought he was everything I had been groomed to adore...Rich, powerful, handsome. He's the reason why I changed my appearance to what you see today. I had surgery done to 'enhance' my prowess as he called it. I went along with it because it actually worked. Changing my appearance did helped my business. In the end I was willing to follow him anywhere...Even into a trap."

"A trap? Is this the point where you stopped returning my letters?" said Xavier as he began to piece together the puzzle.

"Yes, and for good reason, Charles. It was at this point that Shaw wanted to make me the White Queen of the Hellfire Club. He revealed to me the reason why he exacted so much influence. He gave me a brief glimpse into the world of Hellfire and when I got a taste of their cruelty and greed I screamed at him and stormed out. They tried to get me, but thankfully all the training you gave me paid off."

They all watched as Emma's face contorted with disgust as she recalled these difficult memories. She was obviously not proud of it, but that still didn't explain why she helped them. Xavier knew there had to be a reason and Emma was not going to let it go unanswered.

"After I left, I liquidated my shareholdings and pooled my resources to found the Academy of Tomorrow. I...I guess it was my way of making up for getting involved with Hellfire. I was probably placed on their blacklist afterwards and the only reason I'm not six feet under is because Shaw had a thing for me. He still believed I would be his queen one day, but I've made it clear that I'm nobody's queen."

"So if you hated him so much, why did you help him?" asked Ororo.

"Because he threatened my school!" she yelled, brimming with anger, "He threatened to harm my students and their families if I didn't do what he wanted! I had no choice! I had to protect my students! Just look me in the eye and tell me that you wouldn't have done the same! Look me in the eye and say you wouldn't have helped that monster if he threatened the people you cared about most!"

Everyone was silenced at Emma's words. Even Logan seemed taken. He could see real tears forming in her eyes. He knew that could not be faked no matter how deceptive someone was. And as much as he hated to say it, if someone had done the same to the students at the institute, he probably would have gone along with it too.

At this point, Emma broke down. She couldn't believe she had done this. She helped Hellfire, she hurt Charles, and she destroyed a loving family that didn't deserve it. She remembered that little girl from the party and how she was probably crying for her mommy and she remembered that man who had held her with such love and care. It tore at her heart, knowing everything was so messed up and she had helped make it happen.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," she choked out.

"Emma..." said Charles, looking back at her with the same comforting gaze that aided her during the days when she was his student, "Please...This isn't something you had any control over. It's not your fault."

"Yes it is!" spat Emma in response, "I knew and I did nothing! I could have stopped them, but I didn't!"

"No Emma. You are not at fault here," said Xavier strongly, "There's no way you could have known. If anything, it is I that should be ashamed."

"Huh?!" said Logan as he and the others turned their attention back to their mentor, "What the hell are you talkin' about Chuck?"

All eyes were on him now, but Xavier didn't say a word. He was too ashamed. He didn't want to tell them what he had been keeping from them for ten years. But now that it was getting so serious, there was no more avoiding it.

Yet still, there was only one person who deserved to know more than anyone else and the longer he put it off, the more painful it was going to become. So with no further hesitation, Xavier made his choice.

"Let her out, Hank," he ordered as he turned towards the exit, "She's proven herself to be legitimate."

"Uh...Charles are you sure that..." but Hank was quickly cut off.

"Check and see if she has any injuries. If not, then let her go. Like us, she probably has students to attend to."

"Charles wait!" said Emma, still stuck behind the barrier, "Where are you going? Why don't you let me help? After what I did, I think I..."

"No Emma. Everything that has happened tonight is my fault. And I think it's time I finally come clean."

And with those ominous words, Xavier made his way towards the elevator, leaving Logan, Ororo, Laura, Hank, and Emma very shaken. He was a man they all respected in the utmost, yet here he was hanging his head low in shame. Having always known him to be so strong, it was shocking to see him acting like this. But in his eyes, they would all know the answers soon enough.

But first, he would start with the one person whom he had hurt most.

**************************************************

Upstairs in the dormitories, many of the residents had gotten up to tend to the students who were asking questions about last night. Naturally, they were forced to lie about a few things, but they knew it was for the better. But even the youngest and most naïve of students could tell that something was wrong if their solemn moods were any indication.

For Scott, however, he stayed with his little girl. After having finally come in from the morning sunrise, he hovered over her protectively and watched her sleep. She looked so innocent...So beautiful. He would have broken down crying right then and there if he hadn't been so adamant about letting her sleep.

He could see so much his wife in this beautiful girl. She had her mother's hair, beauty, and heart. It tore at his soul knowing that she had been there to watch her mommy disappear into the heavens. Logan even told him that when they apprehended her, they had hit her. And even though Scott was not a violent man, hearing that someone had struck his daughter made him so angry that he would have blown those people away without a second thought.

He hated not being able to help his wife and daughter. He hated being so lost. He only hoped that this Emma woman would give them some answers. But he had a little girl to take care of and she remained his first priority.

"You are my sunshine...My little sunshine. My little baby...My little joy. And don't you dare cry...And don't you dare fright. Cause Daddy loves you...So baby sleep tight."

That little song had been one of the first things he had said to her on the day she was born. Now, it took on a much greater importance as they were faced with such despair. And with a soft kiss to her forehead, Scott took what comfort he could in knowing that his little girl was still there for him.

Just then, he heard a slight knock on his door and his attention was diverted from his sleeping daughter.

"Scott?" said Xavier in a soft tone, sensing his distraught state, "Scott, are you in there? I need to talk to you."

Without another word, Scott quietly made his way to the door and opened it to see the man he trusted most hovering there with a solemn look on his face.

"What is it Professor?" he said, trying to sound strong even when he was a mere shell of man, "Did you find something from that woman?"

"No, but...There's something we need to discuss...Something important," he told him, not looking him in the eye.

"Of course, let me just make sure that Rachel's okay."

"Certainly. I'll be in my study."

Casting the sleeping little girl a solemn look, the Professor retreated to his study to wait. He didn't want to watch the sight of Scott gently placing a blanket over his little girl's body and giving her a kiss on the cheek, whispering words of love and comfort. He didn't know how Scott was going to react to this, but he deserved to know...They both did.

**************************************************

In his study, the Professor anxiously waited for Scott to arrive. It was probably the most arduous wait of his life. He knew that what he was going to tell Scott would not be pleasant, but he had a right to know. And now that everything was so chaotic, he needed whatever assurance he could offer even at the expense of his own inner strife.

While he waited, he held in his lap one of the many books he had used to study the Phoenix over the past decade. He had worked so hard trying to understand this force, but that didn't change anything in the end. He just kept looking at that fateful image of the fiery bird on the cover, for this was the being that was behind all this pain.

And as hopeless as it all seemed, Xavier was finally brought out of his state by the entrance of his eldest student.

"You wanted to see me, sir?" said Scott with a solemn look on his face.

"Yes Scott. Please, have a seat."

Scott sat down next to the Professor on one of the seats next to his desk. He noticed that he still had that solemn look on his face, which didn't lift his hopes all that much.

"So how bad is it?" he said, his words thick with worry, "What's the word on my wife? Is there any way we can save her? I know you know more than you've been letting on. And I think I deserve to know when it involves my family."

Xavier sighed, knowing this was going to be harder than he had anticipated. Shaw revealed that he had kept something from him for quite some time...Something that was very important surrounding Jean and he had kept it from him.

He didn't like the fact that he had flat out lied to Scott and his family for ten years. But he didn't see any way out of it. And now that everything was falling apart, there was nothing left to do than come clean.

"You're...You're right Scott," he said, choosing his words carefully, "You do deserve to know the truth."

"So what's going on?" he said, sounding half demanding and half desperate, "What have you been keeping from me?!"

Xavier's gaze turned to the fateful picture on his desk that was taken just after the events of Apocalypse. The memory of that day still hung so strongly in his mind. And it still haunted him more than any other time in his life. And it was from this day on that he would begin lying to the students he loved so much.

"The power of the Phoenix..." he began in a solemn tone, "Is a power like no other. I...I thought I could study it. I thought I could learn its mythology and somehow find a way to contain it. But I...I guess that was very naïve of me to say the least."

"Professor..." said Scott, growing increasingly frustrated, "You're stalling. Why won't you tell me?! Why won't you..."

"I'm sorry, Scott," he said, shaking his head in a fit of sorrow, "But when I was under Apocalypse's control, I saw things that...That I could never truly describe with words. I saw visions of what my X-men were going to face. And one of those visions had to do with Jean and the Phoenix."

It wasn't too hard to piece together the puzzle after that. And as soon as it came together, Scott's face contorted in a fit of anger.

"Ten years...You knew for ten years! And you didn't tell me?!"

"No. I didn't."

"And it never crossed your mind to let me know on the day we got married?! It never crossed your mind on the day we had Rachel?! How could you keep something like this from me?! From US?! I trusted you! You're my baby's grandfather for crying out loud! Why would you keep this from me?! WHY?!"

The tone in Scott's voice stung like a red hot poker to the heart. For years, Professor Xavier had tried to help his students in whatever way he could, but in the end he couldn't even help the students who mattered most. Scott and Jean looked to him as a father figure and he had flat out lied to them in a way no father should ever lie to their kids.

He never wanted something like this to happen. Of all the visions he had sought to prevent, he never in a million years wanted it to get this bad.

"I...I thought I could stop this from happening," said the Professor with deep remorse, "I suspected that her powers were the catalyst that would draw this entity. And that chaos you saw back at Hellfire was the result of her growing mutation becoming a part of that power. I spent years placing blocks on Jean's mind and helping her cope. I never told her because I thought it would destroy her knowing that she was destined to perish at the hands of a cosmic level power. I thought I could stop it. I really did. And I failed, Scott. I failed you both."

Scott had never felt this angry before. He couldn't believe it. His own mentor had kept this from him. This was a man who gave him everything. He took him in when he was just a no-name orphan freak who couldn't see. It was because of him that he met Jean in the first place. And now here he was, telling him that the last ten years had been a big lie.

Looking down at his wedding ring, Scott's eyes filled with tears of sorrow. He never felt this upset before in his life. He had watched his own parents die before his very eyes, but even that couldn't amount to the kind of pain he felt right now. The woman he loved was in jeopardy, his little girl was hurting, and on top of it all his own mentor had known the whole time and lied to him about it.

"You should have told me," he choked out through his sorrow.

"I know, Scott. I should have..."

"You don't know shit!" he spat, "If you knew, then why did you do it?! Jean is more than my wife, she's my best friend! You could have told me! I could have helped! I could have done something!"

"Scott, please...There was nothing any of us could have done."

"Bullshit! You lied to us and never let her know what was happening to her! We could have worked through this together! Not alone! And now look what happened! Look what happened to her because of your lies!"

Scott's words were harsh. He had never spoken to Xavier in this tone before. But given such pain, he could hardly blame him. His family was in turmoil and he was powerless to do anything about it. That alone was hard enough, but to learn that the man he trusted most had lied to him about this whole thing was just too much for him to bear.

"I'm sorry, Scott," said Xavier with real, honest pain in his voice, "I truly am. Please forgive me for my lack of foresight. I...I was only trying to help her. I wanted her to be happy. I didn't want her to wake up every morning worrying about turning into a monster. I wanted her to have the kind of happiness that she deserved."

"And you think that gives you an excuse?" said Scott bitterly.

"I never said it was, but..."

"Enough Professor! I've heard enough!" he yelled as he got up from his seat, "I'd expect lies from people like Magneto or the Hellfire Club, but not from you!"

"Scott please...I know this is hard on you, but..."

"No! You don't know shit! You kept this from my family and look what's happened! You may have failed, but I'm not going to let my wife be taken by some monster, no matter how powerful it is! I don't care what I have to do! I don't chare what price I have to pay! I'm going to get her back with or without your help!"

That shocked and hurt the Professor in a way no enemy or oppressor ever could. This man was like a son to him. And here he was yelling at him with such hatred. He knew he was in pain, but that didn't make what he was saying any less valid.

He truly deserved every ounce of this hatred. He had lied to him. He was worried that this was going to tear them apart forever. Because if there's one thing he knew about Scott, it's that he never made promises that he didn't keep.

"Scott...No words could ever express how sorry I am for not telling you, but I beg that you stop and think about this."

That didn't stop Scott as he was about to storm out. But then, the Professor played another card, desperate for any kind of reconciliation between him and his eldest student.

"And what about Rachel?" asked the Professor, stopping Scott at the door, "I know you love Jean, but what about your daughter? Are you really willing to go that far against something this dangerous when your daughter needs you?"

Scott was silent for a moment as he took in those words. Thinking back to his crying little girl, another tear formed in his eyes. Having come from the life of an orphan, he never thought in a million years that he'd find a family that he loved so much. But when he was with his wife and baby, it felt as though he was truly blessed.

All he wanted now was to hold his family in his arms. He wanted his wife back. He wanted to feel her warmth and to hear her soft voice. He wanted to hear his daughter laugh again and see her smile. And with such thoughts in mind, he knew there was only one answer he could possibly give.

"My baby needs her mother, Professor. It's as simple as that."

**************************************************

Back in the cold depths of endless space, the entity known as the Phoenix kept soaring through the cosmos in a fit of confusion and jubilation. Nothing was controlling her. Nothing was holding her back. Stars flickered at her presence as the power of creation and destruction rested within the palm of her hands.

Nothing was safe. No living thing within the depths of the universe was capable of avoiding the Phoenix's wrath. At the rate she was going, she was going to destroy some unwitting civilization of life and slaughter billions in the blink of an eye. Yet still, this mortal conscious kept holding her back. This Jean Grey that she had merged with was still bound to her being.

"The cosmos...Space...So vast and beautiful. And I...I can feel it all. Everything and nothing...Decimation and creation...I crave it! I need it!"

The raging Dark Phoenix set her sights on yet another star. She couldn't resist the desire for new sensations any longer. Only this time, the star she saw had a planet in it's orbit...A planet where billions of living beings dwelled. Jean knew this and so did the Phoenix, yet it was still going to do it...It was going to consume this star and doom this entire civilization.

Now more than ever, the Phoenix could feel Jean fighting from within. These fights were becoming increasingly intense and her fragile being was starting to wear. Yet this chaos seemed only to fuel Dark Phoenix. This feeling of being evil, corrupt, and unimpeded felt really good. And because of this, there was no stopping it.

Then suddenly, just as it was about to lay siege to another star, the Phoenix felt something from within. Jean felt it too. This feeling...This connection...This drive...Something was calling her.

"This...This feeling. I..."

Then suddenly, she got another image from her chaotic consciousness. Only this time, it was much clearer than before. It was the image of a familiar man, a woman, and a little girl. They were happy together, siling joyfully in a playful embrace. It was something that had a feeling all its own...Something that brought out a part of Jean Grey that the Phoenix latched onto. And once it was drawn in, there was no turning back.

"Scott...Rachel...My family."

More images followed. This time they were images of other people, Jean Grey's friends to be precise. She saw friends like Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Bobby, Logan, Ororo, and the Professor. They all gave her these increasingly complicated feelings. And the more she felt them, the more they affected the Phoenix.

Soon, the cosmic entity began to embrace Jean's consciousness rather than fight it. It caused the Dark Phoenix image to flicker back to the image of the Phoenix that had arisen beforehand with the green and black suit. But it quickly returned to Dark Phoenix as the chaos continued. Only this time, there was something else driving it...Something far more powerful than before.

"Phoenix...Jean...I...I'm becoming...Becoming..."

Suddenly, she felt it in her mind. Or more accurately put, she felt it in Jean's mind. This connection...This feeling that was drawing her back from where she had come...It was calling out to her. She felt the insatiable urge to follow it. This place wasn't where she wanted to be.

No, there was another place out there...A place where she could find peace. A place called...Home.

"Scott. My love. I feel you. So lost...So confused. Oh Scott! I...I need you!"

And with a cosmic level revelation to guide it, the Phoenix left the star and planet alone and traveled back to a tiny dot in the vast universe known as Earth. She may not have had all her pieces together, but hopefully she would find them in the place where the heart and soul of Jean Grey-Summers resided.

And back on Earth, Scott Summers, who had been watching his daughter sleep peacefully, felt this disturbance through the link he shared with his wife. And the second he sensed it, he clutched his head. There was so much chaos...So much turmoil. Part of it was Jean, but there was something else to it that he couldn't even begin to describe. He wasn't sure what it all meant, but at least one thing was clear now.

"Jean...She's coming home."

**************************************************

SHE'S COMING BACK! REVIEW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!
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