118. Epilogue One: Grey at a Funeral
Jean Grey hated funerals. Not only did she have to deal with her own grief, she had to struggle with the grief of others too. Being an inexperienced telepath in an emotional situation like this was more than difficult. She did not want to know how the others were feeling. She just wanted time to mourn her best friend in peace.
This was as much a difficult time for her as it was for the rest of her team - with the exception, of course, of Scott. She and Evelyn had become closer than ever during the two weeks before the young pyrokinetic's death. Jean had found a girl she could connect with here at the institute. Their bond, although new, was stronger than Jean had ever expected, especially considering her infatuation with Evelyn's boyfriend. Losing Evelyn was going to be more of a struggle than any of the X-Men had anticipated.
The funeral took place at the institute. Scott's idea, of course. He had said that she would have wanted to be around friends. That was one of the only things he had said in the week since her death.
Evelyn's death had hit Scott hard, and now, as Jean watched the boy dressed in the sharp black suit, she felt that more than ever. Although his eyes were hidden behind the thick red lenses, Jean could tell that Scott was holding back the tears. She approached him cautiously.
"It's okay to cry, you know." She whispered.
"No." He replied bluntly. "I have to stay strong. For Sandy."
Jean glanced over to Evelyn's mother, who was sobbing beside Sara, Evelyn's unknowing, unmutated best friend. The pair were ignorant to Evelyn's heroic actions. Most people could never imagine the pain of losing a child if they had not experienced it. Jean, however, was unfortunate enough to feel all of Sandy's flooding emotions. It hurt. She turned her face away from the grieving mother quickly, trying to dull the pain.
Jean tugged lightly on the hem of her black dress, which reached just above her knees. She felt self-conscious, as if she shouldn't be here. No one actually knew how close she and Evelyn were. No one was there when they had their girly sleepovers in Jean's room and talked about boys and mutations.
Jean remembered Evelyn's last words to her. Look after Scott, she had requested. Jean had every intention of doing that. She couldn't let the boy drown in grief. That's not what Evelyn would've wanted.
"Jean?" The redhead turned to the younger boy beside her, noticing the wavering in his voice.
"Yes, Bobby?" She felt all of his emotions hit her at once. Evelyn had been like a sister to the cryokinetic teen, even though their mutations should've set them apart.
"We're going to be okay, aren't we?" Jean noticed the tears sparkle in Bobby's eyes.
"Of course." She whispered, not sure if she, herself, actually believed the words. She forced a small smile.
"What about Scott?" Bobby took a deep breath to suppress his emotions.
"We've just got to help him through this." Jean replied.
"I don't want to believe she's gone." Bobby allowed a few tears to escape, causing Jean to pull him in for a tight hug.
"I know. None of us do." She rested her head against his, as she watched Warren approach them.
"Is he okay?" Warren asked softly.
"Yeah," Jean lied, her own voice becoming strained with unspilled tears. Warren could obviously see this, as he quickly wrapped his arms around his two friends.
"I know you miss her." He whispered. "So do I. But she wouldn't want us crying over her."
As Jean looked up, her eyes connected with Warren's and she felt that he was saying the words to suppress his own tears more than anyone else's.
Suddenly, Jean felt an extra rush of emotion, as someone else entered the premises. There was no one anyone could get in if the professor had not allowed them access - especially today.
"Scott," Jean called out telepathically. "Pyro and Voltage are here."
Scott's head snapped up, his muscles tensing.
"How dare he even-"
"No, Scott." Jean cut him off. "He's here for the same reason as us. He just wants to say goodbye."
"He doesn't deserve to say goodbye to her!" Scott protested in his mind.
"Just let him. For Evelyn." Scott visibly relaxed at Jean's words.
The blond mutant entered the room and all eyes fell to him and the girl beside him. His eyes dropped to the floor. Jean looked over to him, immediately sensing his emotions. She was shocked to learn that Evelyn's passing had hit John almost as hard as it had Scott. This boy really cared about her friend.
It hurt Jean to think how few people had arrived to pay their respects to such a beautiful girl. Yet, a small service was possibly better. Just the people that really cared about Evelyn, gathering to celebrate her short, yet spectacular life.
This was their chance to say goodbye to the girl that had affected them all.
The girl with the flames in her hair.