The Erotic Phoenix Saga: Perspective

BY : MarvelMaster616
Category: X-men Comics > General
Dragon prints: 5610
Disclaimer: I do not own X-men or any other Marvel characters. They are the property of Marvel and Disney. I am making no money off of this. Please don’t sue.

The Erotic Phoenix Saga: Perspective
Chapter 1: Reaffirmation

AN: The following is the first in what I hope to be a series of sexy stories built around a retelling of the Phoenix Saga. In terms of the timeline, it picks up right around Uncanny X-men #101 when Jean initially gains the Phoenix Force. There may be a few other tweaks, but that’s the setup and I hope to build from it.

Also, I want to thank a couple of very loyal readers who helped me develop this idea. I’ve actually had this idea for years, but struggled to develop it. With their help, I finally succeeded. They know who they are and I appreciate their input.

‘These mean character thoughts or psychic communication.’

Disclaimer: I do not own X-men or any other Marvel characters. They are the property of Disney. I am making no money off of this. Please don’t sue.

Please be advised that this story contains graphic sexual content. If you are at all uncomfortable with that, I discourage you from reading it. As always, I encourage everyone to provide feedback. Either email it to me directly or post it on the website. I welcome constructive criticism and suggestions. Thank you and enjoy!

Eons From Now – The Milky Way

“Cold…lifeless…broken. The fate of a universe once full of passion…this is the end.”

The once mighty flames of the Phoenix Force had been reduced to embers. Soaring through the cosmos had once been a journey through endless cosmic spectacle. Now, it was a bleak journey through a vast cosmic graveyard.

The brightest stars barely flickered through the vast cosmos.

Planets once teaming with life wandered aimlessly as dead hunks of rock, populated only by fossils and relics.

Vast civilizations that had spanned galaxies were nothing more than distant memories.

Even the great forces of the cosmos had withered. The mighty Celestials were nothing more than empty shells. The great Galactus was just a corpse, having succumbed to his unquenchable hunger eons ago. The Infinity Gems had crumbled into dust, their power lost to the forces of entropy. Every realm from Asgard to Muspelheim had been reduced to ruins.

“It’s all gone,” she said distantly, her voice vanishing into the endless abyss. “There’s nothing left.”

She wept with sorrow as she passed through an all-too familiar part of the cosmos. Eons ago, it had been locally known as the Milky Way. Now, it was just another collection of burnt out stars and decimated planets. Observing them, even from afar, was heartbreaking on a cosmic scale.

For the Phoenix Force, it was a testament to her failure. She was supposed keep the fires of creation and destruction burning. Instead, she succumbed to corruptive forces. Over the span of millennia, she connected with many hosts. By connecting finite souls with cosmic power, she was supposed to fix what didn’t work, turning the ashes of destruction into a catalyst for creation.

Time and too many bad choices ultimately doomed once vibrant worlds. With each bit of destruction, the Phoenix descended further into chaos. From creation and destruction, ashes reverting to ashes, she strayed too far. After countless millennia of corruption, her embers were set to fade completely. Unlike previous cycles, she would not be reborn from her ashes. The Phoenix Force would simply cease to be.

Knowing the end was near, the Phoenix found herself in tiny part of the universe that had a special place in her vast history. Flying by more lifeless hunks of rock, the Phoenix Force recalled how just a few fateful choices went onto have cosmic implications.

“Earth,” she said distantly, “this is where the end began.”

Already on her last embers, the Phoenix Force made its way to what remained of the third planet from the now burned-out star. Once rich with life and conflict of every kind, it was nothing more than shards of rock. Were it not for her memories, it would’ve just been an unremarkable sea of debris.

Part of that debris, however, included what had once been the Earth’s moon. It too had crumbled into fragments. However, there was one noticeable structure that remained that housed the last remaining vestige of that world.

“Uatu, the Watcher!” the Phoenix called out.

She got no response. She didn’t expect one. She just flew towards the tattered remnants of the Blue Area of the Moon where the last Watcher once resided. The citadel was in ruin, its technology and archives having become faded relics. There was little of value in those relics, their power having run out long ago.

However, there was still a presence within the lifeless ruins. After reaching the main deck of the citadel, she saw him. Uatu, the astute observer of all things, lay on the floor gasping his last breath.

“Phoenix,” he said weakly. “I…see you.”

“It would seem that I am fated to be the last being you observe.”

“So…it seems.”

With a solemn glance, the Phoenix took on a familiar form, becoming a humanoid female that Uatu most certainly recognized. She now bore the figure of Jean Grey, one of her many hosts. She had a special place in the world once known as Earth. She also carried special meaning for Uatu, who had observed the same fateful choices that led to her demise.

“I’m sorry,” she said in a voice that echoed with the lament of the long-dead woman. “For the mistakes I’ve made…the choices I’ve failed to make…I’m so sorry.”

“Do not…apologize,” said the sickly Uatu.

“Spare me your consolation,” Phoenix said bitterly. “You saw what happened. You saw everything. I got swept away in the chaos. I became too corrupt to realize my mistakes. Now, it is too late.”

“No. It is not.”

For the first time in a galactic epoch, the cosmic figure perked up. The Watchers weren’t prone to deceit. They were the oldest, most objective beings in the history of the universe. Curious and desperate, she knelt closer to the dying figure.

“What do you mean?” she asked him. “Do you know something? Tell me!”

“You’re right. I saw…everything,” Uatu said in a raspy voice. “I saw what was…and what could’ve been.”

“But how? How can you possibly see what I cannot?”

“Seeing…is not the same as watching. You can…through my all-knowing eyes…watch the moment where it all went wrong.”

The Phoenix Force kneeled in closer, looking deep into the glowing eyes of the withering figure. They were dim, but still contained a trace of life. It wasn’t much, but it was just enough to reveal the unaltered record of the defining moments on Earth. One such moment stood out more than anything else. It was that powerful moment when her fate became tied to a very special human.

However, there was more to it than what she recalled. Beyond what transpired that fateful day, the Phoenix Force saw the other paths it could’ve taken. While there were only so many fates possible in that defining event, one in particular stood out.

“By the fires of creation…I see it now!” she said with more renewed hope.

“But do…you understand?” the dying Uatu asked intently.

That was a more difficult question to answer, even for a cosmic entity. What Uatu showed her wasn’t just another divergent timeline. It was a unique temporal manifestation, one that was both unique and dangerous. It was a timeline that could not occur without some form of intervention, something wholly forbidden by Watchers. On top of that, such a timeline came at a price…one that she had to pay.

“Yes,” Phoenix said solemnly. “I know now what I must do…and what it will cost me.”

“It is…a risk,” Uatu said, sounding weaker with every word. “To reach back in time…to guide a free soul…it requires the utmost faith in others.”

“I believe in Jean Grey. I always have,” she said, “and if all goes well, she won’t have to shoulder that burden on her own.”

“If…being the key term,” he said intently.

“You’ve seen the breadth of her heart. You’ve observed the extent to which she loves others and how much others love her. You know how capable she is. My mistake was thinking I was just as capable. I could grant my hosts so much power, but never perspective.”

“Perspective…that will change many things,” Uatu noted.

“Indeed,” she said, “for her, her loved ones, and me…as well as countless future hosts. My corruption helped reduce this universe to ash. Through Jean Grey…through the life, love, and connections she forged…we can save it!”

There was certainty in her voice. As if to prove to Uatu how willing she was to pay that price, she further adjusted her figure, taking on the appearance of Jean as she’d appeared in the White Hot Room. With so little energy left, it was draining. It still sent the necessary message to the last Watcher.

Even as the once-imposing figure lay dying, he smiled at her. At the same time, his eyes glowed brighter, as if to channel the last spark of life within him. Parts of his body began crumbling to dust. He was ready to succumb to his fate, but she intended to change it.

“Use…my all-seeing eyes to guide you,” Uatu said. “My portal generator…use what’s left of this dying universe…to charge it. From there, you can…”

That was all the former Watcher of Earth could muster. His immortal spirit finally gave out, his body crumbled to dust, leaving only his still-glowing eyes. Phoenix, still in the form of Jean Grey, bowed her head solemnly and shed a tear before retrieving the eyes.

“Rest easy, Uatu. Thank you for giving me a chance to make things right,” said Phoenix. “Don’t worry. Should I succeed, the new fate that unfolds will be worth watching.”

Smiling to herself, knowing she was likely the last conscious being in the universe, she turned towards Uatu’s portal generator. She then tapped into what remained of her cosmic power and the dwindling energies around her. In a spectacle of cosmic flame, she turned on the ancient device, using the Watcher’s eyes to open a gateway to that fateful moment in time when she first encountered Jean Grey.

Through sacrifice and hope, she intended to guide her down a very different path…one that would be more satisfying to the whims of fate in a great many ways.

Present Time – Aboard The Starcore Project Shuttle

“Lord, I’m scared. I don’t want to die.”

Those words of unmitigated fear contrasted completely with Jean Grey’s actions. She had already made her fateful choice. She was going to guide the crippled Starcore Project Shuttle back to Earth through an approaching solar flare. Her friends were safe, having been sealed in the life cell where the ship’s shields could protect them. For her, however, it was a suicide mission.

She knew that. She’d accepted it. She was going to die so that her friends could live. She wouldn’t get a chance to see Professor Charles Xavier’s vision of peace between humans and mutants come true. She wouldn’t get a chance finish college, get married, and have children. She wouldn’t even get a chance to tell Scott how much she loved him. All that time they’d spent avoiding their feelings suddenly seemed so pointless.

From within the life cell, Jean could sense Scott fighting to escape. He’d been fighting Nightcrawler since they sealed themselves inside. She’d made him promise to hold him back until they were safe. It was her last request, one that Nightcrawler accepted solemnly.

“Let me go, blast you!” Scott shouted. “Please, Kurt…I beg you. Please!”

Jean tried not to listen. Hearing his cries broke her heart even more. She wished she’d had more time to tell him how much she loved him. She wished they’d had more time to cherish that love. Now, it was too late. As much as it pained her, Scott would have to move on without her.

With tears in her eyes and strength in her heart, Jean pushed her mutant powers and her resolve to guide the shuttle through the approaching solar flare. The spacecraft shook with greater intensity. Alarm after alarm went off, warning of her impending danger. She had to ignore all of it. She couldn’t dare lose focus. She had to keep the shuttle intact just long enough to make it back to Earth.

The solar flare was about to hit. Earth was rapidly approaching. Jean closed her eyes, bracing herself for whatever came next.

“Goodbye, my friends,” she said under her breath. “I’m sorry.”

Then, with the solar flare closing fast, a powerful voice echoed within her mind.

“Fear not, Jean Grey. Your fate is about to change…you and so many others.”

“That voice!” Jean gasped.

As a fiery light surrounded the shuttle, she heard another a commotion behind her. The door to the life cell had burst open, somehow. From it, Scott ran out towards her.

“Jean!” he exclaimed.

“Scott, no!” Nightcrawler shouted, unable to retrieve him.

“Stay back, Nightcrawler!” said Storm.

“What the hell happened?” exclaimed Wolverine.

“I do not know,” said Colossus, “the hatch just…”

“Who cares how it happened! Brace for impact, lads!” yelled Banshee.

Jean, still in shock at the voice she heard, turned around just in time to see Scott throw his arms around her in a desperate embrace. At that same moment, the solar flare completely engulfed them completely. In a flash of light, time seemed to stop. Everything around her froze. Then, while in the arms of her love, she felt herself transported away.

Unknown Location

“Scott? Scott, where are we?” wondered a dazed Jean Grey.

“I don’t know, Jean,” Scott replied. “I’m so sorry I let it come to this, but that doesn’t matter. I’m here now. We’re together.”

Everything around them was spinning. In every direction, she saw only blinding white light. It didn’t feel like they were on the shuttle anymore. It didn’t even feel like they were in their own universe anymore. For all she knew, they were already did.

Jean didn’t feel dead, though. Near as she could tell, her body and mind were intact. The only certainty she had at that point was that she and Scott were in each other’s arms. He clung to her and she clung to him. They held on as though they were hanging by the edge of a cliff. They certainly weren’t standing on anything. They were floating through some sort of realm.

Looking around and then back at Scott, a strange new feeling came over her. Even though her surroundings were unfamiliar, it still felt like somewhere she’d been before. The dread and sorrow she’d felt moments before quickly faded. Wherever they were, it felt like a place she needed to be.

“This place,” Jean said distantly, “it looks…familiar.”

“Glad you recognize it because I sure don’t,” he said, looking around anxiously as he held onto her arm. “Everything here feels so different. It’s like we’re not even in the same reality anymore.”

“That’s only partially true, Scott Summers. But do not worry. It’ll all make sense very soon.”

“Who’s there? Show yourself!” said Scott, taking a defensive poise.

“Someone you need not fear. I’m here to help you both.”

“That voice,” Jean said, “I know it!”

“I would certainly hope so, Jean Grey. After all, I am you as much as you are me.”

From the haze of white hot light, a figure emerged. Scott remained defensive, but Jean grew more curious. She lightened her hold on Scott and watched the figure approach. It confirmed what her senses had told her. The approaching figure was her, albeit a very different her.

“Jean, it’s…” Scott gasped in shock.

“Me,” she said distantly.

“Not quite, but close. Yes, I am a part of you…what’s left of you. I’m also a primordial being your kind calls the Phoenix Force. I’m currently speaking to you as an echo from the distant future…one in which you, me, and everything that ever was has turned to ash.”

The figure – still talking in her own voice – spoke with a mix of sorrow and longing. As she drifted closer, Jean saw what felt like a reflection from the future.

Surrounded in a bird-like halo, the Jean in front of her looked about 20 years older. She had the same fiery red hair and skin tone. She had the same tall, toned figure she’d recognized in the mirror. She also wore a strange, skin-tight body suit that was mostly white and included a golden sash around her waist. On her chest was a bird-shaped symbol, which she had never seen, but still recognized.

“The Phoenix Force,” Jean said, that word evoking a strong reaction.

“And you say you’re from the future?” Scott said.

“Yes. That means I know what’s about to happen. Jean is going to guide the shuttle back to Earth. In an act of desperation, she’ll reach out to the Phoenix Force for help. The Phoenix will respond and imbue her with cosmic power. In doing so, she’ll begin a long, painful journey that will end in heartbreak, loss, and destruction.”

“You say that as though it’s unavoidable,” said Jean.

“That’s because it is. I know because I’ve lived it, recounted it, and regretted it.”

“And you expect us to believe that there’s no hope of changing it?” said Scott, already shaking his head.

“Yes…but only after I show you.”

The eyes of her older self glowed, radiating with the fires of the cosmic force surrounding her. As she and Scott gazed into those eyes, a telepathic vision unlike any she’d ever experienced flashed before her. In the span of a few moments, a lifetime she’d yet to experience played out…revealing events that painted a bleak and tragic picture of her future.

“My God,” Jean gasped.

“Our lives…our love…everything,” Scott said distantly, “we failed!”

It was like finding out she’d been pushed off a cliff and didn’t know she was falling. It wasn’t just memories or images. Jean and Scott could actually feel how much they had failed.

One minute, she saw herself dying.

Then, she saw Scott become lost and heartbroken.

Then, she saw herself returning to life.

Then, she saw all the mistakes, mishaps, and misguided choices that followed.

She, Scott, and her friends fought so hard through so much. There were triumphs and tribulations, moments of elation mixed with moments of sorrow. Whether X-men or lovers, they did everything they could, but it wasn’t enough. They still lost their way. They died for each other, lied for each other, and lost themselves in world that descended into unfettered chaos.

Worst of all, she and Scott failed each other. She saw how they mishandled their relationship. There were wandering eyes, stolen kisses, and misguided emotions. Feelings they refused to address, explore, or make sense of came back to haunt them. Insecurity, self-doubt, and suppression compounded every weakness, turning their love into a tragedy.

It was enough to make Jean break down in tears. Had they not been floating, her legs would’ve collapsed under hear. Scott managed to catch her, but even his legendary poise had faltered. Even for X-men, it was too much.

“Enough!” shouted Scott in a fit of anguish.

“Please! Make it stop!” Jean cried.

Her future self solemnly bowed her head, which stopped the experience. It was too late, though. The message was clear and so were the implications.

“I’m sorry. I wish I could spare you from such memories, but I’m afraid it’s necessary.”

“Quit trying to convince us!” spat Jean. “I get it. We doomed ourselves and it all starts with my foolish choice on this day.”

“Jean, don’t,” said Scott, attempting to console her.

“No, Scott! Let’s not avoid the truth, for once. We just saw what happens when we do.”

“I know! I wasn’t trying to. I just…”

The X-men’s leader – and future husband, as it were – let his words trail off. Scott had always been good at reassuring her, telling her it would be okay and then fighting like hell to make it so. For once, it wasn’t enough. Looking up at him with tears in her eyes, seeing what they were destined to gain and lose, was just too much. Even through his ruby-quartz visor, she could see the sorrow.

At the same time, she saw a desire to avoid such a fate. Still in his arms, Jean shared in that desire. What they’d seen couldn’t be their fate.

“This can’t be how it ends for us,” Jean said intently. “One decision…even if it’s to save my friends…it can’t be what dooms us.”

“I don’t want that, either, Jean,” said Cyclops. “What I just saw…I can’t become that man. I have to…I need to be better.”

“And you can, Scott. Both of you can be better. That’s why I spent what remains of my power to come back to this moment. That’s why I brought you to the White Hot Room where the fires of creation burn brightest.”

Jean wiped away her tears and set aside her anguish. Then, with Scott still by her side, she turned to face her future self. Her eyes were still glowing, but she shared a similar determination. However, Jean had enough experience with X-men and Charles Xavier’s to know that change for the better came at a price.

“Tell us there’s another way,” said Scott intently. “What do we have to do to avoid that future?”

“And not just the final outcome,” Jean added. “Who we are…who we become…it’s not enough.”

“You’re right. Just knowing your future isn’t enough to change it. Just making different decisions won’t change it, either. In order to forge a better path…to realize your hopes, dreams, and passions…you’ll need something more powerful than any cosmic force.”

“What is it? What’s more powerful than a cosmic being that can consume stars on a whim?”


It sounded simple, but the way the fiery being said it made it seem profound. She and Scott exchanged glances. He looked confused, but intrigued. In recalling the visions of the future they’d just seen, there were plenty of recurring themes. Perspective seemed linked to all of them.

The way they approached love, passion, power, and life in general just seemed so inadequate. Even when their hearts were in the right place, they never went far enough. She and Scott still held back. They avoided hard truths, difficult feelings, and deeper desires. It fueled so much of the conflict they later faced, especially when it came to handling the Phoenix Force.

As her older self moved in closer, Jean felt the extent of its power. It truly was astonishing, the flames of creation so close that she could feel their embers. She couldn’t help but be drawn to them. Scott was more reluctant, but didn’t turn away.

“I came back to this moment with the intention of making a sacrifice…something the Phoenix Force has made many times before.”

“Yeah, I noticed that,” said Scott.

“In a few moments, the solar flare will consume the shuttle. The Phoenix Force will respond. This time, however, I’m going to guide it and you down a different path…one that will send tremors throughout time and space.”

“But that will kill you,” Jean pointed out.

“Only to the extent that my existence is no longer necessary. Given the fate I escaped, I welcome that outcome.”

“That’s bold of you,” said Scott, “but…”

Her older self silenced him with a gentle finger on his lips. It took a lot to silence Scott Summers, but her touch seemed to do the trick. Had she not been a future version of herself, Jean might have been jealous.

“Please, Scott. There is no time for debate. I have already made my decision. You and Jean shall reap the rweards that follow.”

“What does that entail?” asked Jean.

“Too many to state, but you need only know the basics. By guiding you and the Phoenix Force, it will merge with you both this time. You each will be imbued with its cosmic power. However, there will be one important difference.”

“I’m guessing that’s where perspective comes in,” Scott said.

“That…and so much more. You see, the Phoenix Force is a being of creation and destruction. It’s very nature leads it to burn away what doesn’t work so that something greater can be reborn. Many hosts seek to tap its power, but both they fail the embrace that spirit. As a result, they become corrupt.”

“And dangerous,” said Jean.

“But they can be something greater than the power they wield. The things they can do and the feelings they can share…the universe needs that. The bonding of mortal beings with cosmic power doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It can be something beautiful…something intimate.”

“Intimate?” said Jean, almost blushing at the tone her older self used.

“You’ll see what I mean…provided you make a choice of your own.”

The Phoenix fires around her burned brighter, surrounding her and Scott in a halo. A strange, but powerful warmth flowed through them. It was like tapping into a new energy, one that she felt in her body, mind, and soul. It felt like a prelude, one that had so many unknowns. However, she didn’t run from it.

As the halo surrounded them, her older self extended her hand to both of them. She and Scott exchanged glances again, but there wasn’t much to say. They had already seen the fate that awaited them if they chose differently. Clearly, their existing perspective wasn’t enough. For a better future and a better understanding of what led them astray, they had to take a chance. Moreover, they had to do it together.

“Jean,” said Scott, “I don’t know if I’m ready for what’s about to happen, but I know what I want…for you, for me, and for us.”

“You don’t need to tell me. I already know, too,” Jean said with a reassuring smile. “Ready or not, I’ve made my choice.”

“Me too,” said Scott.

Smiling back, he reached out and took her older self’s hand. Jean did the same. Almost immediately, the Phoenix-shaped halo expanded. The light of the White Hot Room flickered. It was as if the universe itself was trembling in wake of their decision.

“Hold on! The Phoenix senses what we’re about to do. Open your minds and hearts to one another. Open your spirits to the true nature of the creation and destruction. You are more than just power. You are more than just life incarnate. Through life, love, and connection…you are the new lights of the Phoenix Force!”

Jamaica Bay – New York City

‘X-men! This is Charles Xavier. I’m attempting to connect with you telepathically. Please, heed my call!’

That desperate telepathic message came out only after an onslaught of turbulence and chaos. It all happened so quickly. One moment, Charles Xavier and his X-men were in the Starcore Project Shuttle, escaping with Dr. Peter Corbeau from the former SHIELD orbital station that had been taken over by Stephen Lang. Then, they found themselves on a collision course with a solar flare, one that threatened to turn them all into cosmic dust.

He remembered Jean Grey rushing into the cockpit to guide the shuttle back to Earth, ready to sacrifice her life in the process. He also recalled Cyclops fighting desperately to escape the life cell, trying to get to his love before she was lost forever. Fate, it seemed, had dealt them a cruel blow.

Suddenly, it changed. In a flash of energy that confounded even his brilliant mind, something happened that radically altered that fate. Whatever it was, it left him and his X-men dazed and confused as they now found themselves swimming in Jamaica Bay.

“Professor Xavier!” a familiar voice shouted from the water.

“Storm!” Xavier called out. “I hear you. I sense you too.”

“I’m here. We’re alive…somehow,” she said.

“So it seems,” said Banshee, who was floating next to her, “but how?”

“I…don’t know,” said Storm. “I cannot remember.”

The Professor, still floating in the water, kept one hand on his temple as he located the minds of his X-men. He confirmed that Storm, Banshee, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine were nearby. He also sensed Dr. Peter Corbeau, who had been with them in the life cell.

As he scanned for others, he also noticed that the Starcore Project Shuttle was floating in the water behind them. Not only was it intact, it didn’t look significantly damaged. It didn’t have a scratch on it from the solar flare. He even sensed onlookers from nearby New York City gathering at shorelines and watching in amazement. They had clearly seen a spectacle, but neither he nor his X-men could recall it.

“What the hell just happened?” barked Wolverine as he emerged from the choppy waters.

“I am not sure, comrade,” said Colossus, who emerged next to him.

“What about Corbeau? Did he have something to do with this?”

“Nein,” said Nightcrawler as he swam closer, carrying a familiar figure. “I found him unconscious vhen I woke up. I zhink he’s okay, but…”

“What about Cyke and Jeannie?” barked Wolverine, already looking around. “Where the hell are they?”

That was the most pressing question and one Professor Xavier struggled to answer. While he could not remember how they ended up in Jamaica Bay, he vividly recalled that Cyclops and Jean Grey had been with them on the shuttle. Their absence was striking. He could sense the minds of his X-men, multiple civilians, and the approaching authorities from the United States Coast Guard. However, he could not sense them.

“Professor,” said Storm with dread in her voice. “Jean…she was trying to guide the shuttle.”

“And Cyclops was trying to get to her,” said Nightcrawler. “I tried to hold him back, but…”

He paused as words failed him. Their German friend had the same memory gap as everyone. That fateful moment when Jean took control of the shuttle hung heavily in everyone’s mind, as well as the solar flare that had been in their path. Clearly, there were other forces at work.

“Something happened,” said Charles Xavier. “I don’t know what it was, but something profound occurred on that shuttle.”

“To hell with profound!” yelled Wolverine. “Are Cyke and Jeannie dead or alive?”

“Please, be calm, Wolverine,” urged Storm. “We’re all concerned for them.”

“Well, the shuttle is in one piece and I see no sign of them,” said Banshee. “I’m concerned and confused, lads.”

Professor Xavier kept searching frantically, seeking any trace of his two prized students. Even the cold waters and the crisp night air couldn’t distract him. Scott Summers and Jean Grey had shown, time and again, a willingness to sacrifice for his dream of peace. He owed it to them to find them in their time of need.

‘Scott…Jean…my prized students. Where are you? Let us help you!’

As he concentrated intently, focusing every ounce of his telepathic ability, a fiery display flashed across the night sky.

“By the goddess! Professor, look!” exclaimed Storm.

The Professor turned upwards from the choppy waters just in time to see a massive, bird-shaped flame streak across the sky at high speeds. It was so bright that it briefly lit up the night sky like a second sun. It quickly captured the attention of the X-men and countless spectators. They were all in awe, turning their cameras up at it and watching on in amazement.

“Damn,” gasped Wolverine, a man not impressed by much, “that’s really something.”

“It is…beautiful,” said Colossus.

“But vhat is it?” wondered Nightcrawler.

As they all watched on, Professor Xavier marveled at the sight. Sounds of amazement reverberated from the shores and bridges. As it flew overhead, it let out a thunderous cry that echoed in every direction.

However, it wasn’t a cry of pain or anguish. In fact, it almost sounded joyous in nature. Near as he could tell, there was nothing threatening about the fiery bird. Then, as he and his X-men tried to make sense of the sight before them, he sensed something.

“X-men…I’ve located Jean and Cyclops,” he said.

“That’s a relief,” said Banshee, still fixated on the sight.

“Where are they, Professor? What happened to them?” asked Storm.

“That…is a difficult question to answer, Storm,” he said. “Let’s get back to the shuttle and summon the X-jet. I hope our friends can provide us some much-needed answers.”

New Mexico

Fate always seemed so random and uncompromising. One moment incurred another, choices and consequences weaving endless webs of struggle and strive. It felt like everyone was at fate’s mercy. Moments ago, Jean had resided herself to a tragic fate at the hands of a cosmic force and a crippled shuttle. That all changed when she and Scott embraced a new power, as well as a new perspective.

“We are fire! We are life incarnate! We are…the all-new, all-different Phoenix!”

That proclamation echoed from the cockpit of the shuttle to the furthest reaches of the cosmos. In a defining moment, she and Scott took in the cosmic fires of the Phoenix Force. Guided by the insights of her future self, the power consumed them, but in a way that defied the cruel hand of fate. Armed with such power, along with an immense desire to forge greater, they saved the shuttle and their friends.

From there, she and Scott officially left their previous fate behind. However, in hopes of forging a new path, they ended up in a remote, yet familiar location. In another life, it was the site in which she and Scott made love for the last time before the Phoenix Force became corrupt. Jean had no intention of enduring that life, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t embrace parts of it.

The Phoenix Force also seemed to embrace their new life. After saving their friends, they soared across the sky on the wings of cosmic flame to that same scenic in New Mexico that came to define the breadth of their love. If they were to forge a new fate for themselves, it was only fitting that they took that first critical step on such hallowed grounds.

“Jean,” said Scott within the flames, “I feel it.”

“So do I,” said Jean, staying close to him every step of the way.

“I also feel you.”

“I know. It’s uncanny!”

Beaming with power and passion, she and Scott descended from the bird-shaped flame towards the ground below. Upon landing, they found themselves standing together on a sandy ridge overlooking a canyon. The sun was setting in the background, bathing the desert in a fiery twilight that even a cosmic force could admire. Facing one another, they held hands with their fingers entwined, gazing at one another with all the passion and love that they once suppressed.

Their bodies remain surrounded by the bird-shaped halo of the Phoenix, as if to reflect the intensity of their newfound perspective. That intensity had a side-effect, as well. Whether by consequence or choice, their journey had led to their clothes disappearing. The only article that remained was Scott’s ruby-quartz visor.

“We’re here,” Jean said distantly.

“Yeah,” said Scott in a daze. “We’re also…”

His words trailed off, but she didn’t need telepathy or cosmic power to fill in the blanks.

“Naked?” she said with a curt grin. “Yeah, I noticed that too.”

“Just checking,” her lover said, smiling back at her. “I don’t mind if you don’t.”

“Why would I mind? Why would I mind being naked in the desert with the man I love?”

She said those words with such humored joy, as though she wasn’t the same woman who once made a scene when Ororo went skinny dipping in the Institute pool. To some extent, it was true. She and Scott had been reborn in a profound way. That meant seeing a lot of things with new eyes and that included her attitude on nudity.

It was liberating, in a weird way, the brisk desert air brushing over her naked skin. There was literally nothing between her and Scott. Her legs, butt, breasts, and genitals were fully exposed. She didn’t even try to cover up. That thought never entered her mind. She wanted the world to see her in all her glory. She also wanted to share in that glory with her lover.

“There’s…a lot to process right now,” Scott said as he stood with her.

“That’s for sure,” said Jean.

“For some reason, I think being naked makes things easier.”

“Some things more than others, I imagine,” she chuckled.

“That’s for sure.”

Scott laughed with her, showing no reservations either. The same man who had once been so awkward when he first saw her in a low-cut dress was remarkably calm in front of a naked woman. He didn’t try to hide how much he enjoyed looking at her legs, breasts, and hips. He did nothing to hide his masculine features, as well.

He might have been “Slim” when she first met him, but Scott Summers had grown into a very handsome man. From his muscular arms to his well-toned chest to his chiseled jaw, he had so many traits to admire. There was also that uncanny endowment hanging between his legs. Jean used to blush whenever she admired that part of his body. There was no such reservation anymore. They were just two naked lovers, embracing under the light of a cosmic flame.

“There’s just one little item I’d like to address before we make sense of it all,” said Jean in a more serious tone.

“And what might that be?” Scott asked.

“This,” she said before reaching up and removing his visor.

He hesitated for the briefest moment, the dread over his destructive optic blasts having not entirely left him. He didn’t stop her, though. He just remained close, caressing her face as she discarded the visor that had hidden his eyes for so long.

Initially, he kept them closed. Old habits lingered, even after embracing a cosmic power. When he opened them, Jean finally saw the eyes of Scott Summers. They still glowed with a reddish hue, but it was still the gaze of the man she loved.

“Your eyes…they’re so beautiful,” Jean said.

“Seeing you like this…so clearly and completely,” Scott said in astonishment. “It’s just…wow. I honestly can’t put it into words.”

“With me, it’s the thoughts that count,” she told him, “and yours, like you, are beautiful.”

That loving sentiment, complete with being unencumbered by clothing or restraint, culminated in a passionate kiss that sealed a bond forged in cosmic passion. When their lips touched, it was like touching a piece of the cosmos. Every bit of passion was so unrestrained. Every thought and feeling between them was so unhindered, balanced by a perspective that blurred the line between mortal and cosmic understanding.

“Life…love…and connection.”

As they kissed, that mantra echoed in their minds and hearts. From an act of pure affection, the cosmic flames surrounding their naked bodies intensified, as though it had been doused with its most potent fuel. Brisk desert winds swirled around them. The scant plant life nearby seemed to bloom, as though nourished by the life-giving flames. It was as though her and Scott’s love had reverberated across the cosmos, which might not have been too far from the truth.

The strength of those reverberations confirmed what they had already sensed through their new cosmic awareness. Even as their lips parted, they remained in an embrace. Jeans arms had slipped around her lover’s neck while Scott had his around her waist. The fact that such an embrace led to their naked bodies touching more intimately was not lost on them either, but that was only part of their evolving perspective.

“Scott…what we saw,” Jean said distantly, “the decisions we made and the path we followed.”

“I know. I saw it too,” Scott said.

“We made so many mistakes. We end up making so many more…for ourselves and for each other.”

“And for all the wrong reasons,” he added. “Uncertainty, reservation, self-doubt, pettiness, jealously, fear, dread…there are way too many to list, but I’m fairly certain I made it worse by being so insecure.”

“I’m sure I made things difficult and not just by dying on you. We saw the world through such narrow eyes, thinking our lives and our love had to manifest a certain way.”

“And ignoring the deeper, more intimate aspects in the process,” Scott added.

He grinned playfully and gave her hips a sensual squeeze, an act not typical of the disciplined and restrained Scott Summers. However, Jean knew him well enough to know he had such desires. Seeing him act on them was refreshing, not to mention very arousing.

“The Phoenix Force has imbued us with an incredible power,” Jean went on. “I can feel the fires of creation brimming in every cell.”

“I feel it too,” said Scott. “It should be overwhelming, but it isn’t. Instead, it’s so…”

“Amazing? Extraordinary? Astonishing?” she suggested.

“I honestly don’t know if there’s a word or thought that applies. All I know is, I see you, this world, and everything in between with new eyes. And for me, that’s saying something.”

“Indeed,” Jean said with a grin. “The perspective is as immense as the power…seeing things that aren’t easy to see, even for a psychic. From how we go about using our powers to how we go about expressing our love, I can now see how our old approach was so…insufficient.”

“And now, we have the power to change that…literally,” said Scott, “and I want to see that change through, Jean.”

“So do I,” she said, “and I want it to start now…on this ridge…together.”

There had been many critical moments in her life and Scott’s. Within those moments often came critical choices that went onto have a lasting impact, defining the path they followed and the life they forged. A vast web of circumstance and choices led her to learning about her powers, joining the X-men, falling in love with Scott, and reaching out to the Phoenix Force on that shuttle.

Everything ultimately led to where she and Scott now stood. In each other’s arms, completely naked, and surrounded by the cosmic flames of the Phoenix Force in the New Mexico desert, they were poised to forge a new path. Life, love, and connection – the perspective they had gained in that singular, profound moment – assured them that path was one worth pursuing together.

Now, with her and Scott both ready and willing to follow that path, there was one remaining step. To shed the fate that had once doomed them, they had made their choice final. Between the burning passion between them and them being naked, Jean surmised the most fitting possible way to celebrate that choice.

“Scott,” Jean said the halo of the Phoenix Force still burning around them.

“Yes, Jean?” he asked, the reddish hue in his eyes flickering ominously.

“Make love to me,” she said with great intensity.

“Right here? Under the setting sun? In the New Mexico desert?” Scott said, his smile widening with every word. “Jean, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’ve found your kinky side.”

“Given the graphic thoughts you’re projecting, I could say the same.”

“But you don’t need to.”

“No, I don’t. I just need you to embrace the power of the Phoenix. Embrace this new perspective. Embrace me…completely.”

Scott, being a man of action, answered with a passionate kiss. For once, she sensed no shyness, self-doubt, or reluctance. His love and desire for her flowed so freely, in both his thoughts and gestures. However, his gestures were what set the tone for what came next.

Tender loving affection quickly morphed into a more lustful, sensual exchange. Tongues eagerly entwined with one another. Hands roamed more freely and boldly. Scott hungrily felt up her womanly curves, paying special attention to her butt and thighs. Jean returned the favor, pawing his chest and trailing her fingers over the manly sinews of his upper body. Every intimate touch sparked more desire, stoking the cosmic halo surrounding their naked bodies even more.

The desire soon became physical. Scott’s manhood became fully erect. Her womanhood became hot and moist, achieving a state of arousal that defied her understanding of the female body. It might have been a side-effect of tapping into a cosmic force. Then again, it might have just been the byproduct of unrestrained passions.

As they kissed, she and Scott acknowledged their respective arousal. At one point, he slipped a hand between her thighs and stroked her moist folds, evoking a sharp gasp. She returned the favor by grasping his member and stroking the hardened flesh, feeling it throb in her hand with growing intensity. There was no shyness or hesitation. Jean had never been so ready or eager to embrace her lover. The shackles of restraint that once hindered her were no more.

“Are you ready, Jean?” Scott asked, their lips briefly parting.

“Do you really need to ask?” she teased.

“Just making sure,” he said. “We’re about to make love while imbued with the power of the Phoenix Force. This is uncharted territory.”

“I know,” Jean said with a curt grin. “That’s exactly why I’m so ready!”

The same adventurous side that made her a capable X-men had found its way to her sex life. It must have been a big turn-on for Scott because he didn’t question her response. He just kissed her again, took him in his arms, and followed the whims of cosmic desire towards the ultimate expression of their love.

The Phoenix Force sensed their readiness as well. As they kissed again, their bodies aching to unite, the bird-shaped halo flared with greater intensity, lighting up the surrounding desert in a cosmic spectacle. On the whims of such power, she and Scott were levitated several feet off the ground. She wasn’t sure whether she, Scott, or the Phoenix were behind such a feat. In that powerful moment, the line between who desired what felt impossibly blurred.

“Together…we love and connect.”

As that shared sentiment manifested, Jean and her lover let lust guide them. As they hovered weightlessly in mid-air, she hooked her legs around Scott’s waist. He instinctively shifted his grip to her butt, holding it firmly in just the way she liked. Unbound by gravity, she and Scott aligned their bodies, her wet folds hovering just over the tip of his rigid member.

Without hesitation, guided by a mix of physical strength and unseen forces, their flesh came together. Her love entered her, his manhood penetrating her womanhood so smoothly. Hot, intimate sensations of pleasure followed, every feeling supplemented by the power of a cosmic force. It was incredible, tapping into the fullest extent of their love on the wings of the Phoenix.

“Oh Scott…I feel you inside me,” Jean gasped, now clinging firmly to his shoulders.

“Jean…I feel you too,” Scott said, his every word echoing with such intensity.

Those simple words went beyond describing a basic sex act. In that moment, Jean felt a connection with her lover that went beyond male and female body parts. It was in their mind and spirit as well, like a new channel for passion that was not possible without the aid of cosmic power.

Was it a deeper manifestation of their shared mantra of life, love, and connection?

Was it another message from beyond meant to aid in their new journey together?

There were no clear answers. At the moment, though, Jean was beyond caring. She and Scott were making love with cosmic power. Part of embracing that power meant enjoying it for all its blissful worth. In that spirit, their naked bodies began moving.

“Yes! Oh yes!” Jean gasped. “Scott…my love. We’re doing it!”

“Jean…so beautiful,” he gasped, “it’s so beautiful!”

They shared a joyous smile before kissing again and letting their sex do the rest. Armed with energy and passion the likes of which few lovers could hope to experience, they worked their bodies in a rhythmic union that kept the fires of the Phoenix burning.

Jean rocked and gyrated her hips, using the leg and core muscles she’d refined from many Danger Room sessions. With each motion, her hot folds slid along the rigid length of Scott’s cock. He added even more fervor to those movements, using his both his hips and his grip on her butt to supplement the feeling.

Strength supported strength.

Desire fueled desire.

Together, Jean and Scott both partook in venting their love and lust in single act. It was so intense, augmenting every sensation and deepening every connection. Every nerve related to pleasure ignited, flooding bodies and minds with unfiltered ecstasy. The Phoenix itself even seemed to react, as though it too experienced the breadth of the feeling.

“I feel it. We feel it. The cosmos feel it!”

The fiery halo flared and sparked throughout the desert landscape. The kissing and touching continued as their naked bodies rocked and gyrated in mid-air, still unbound by gravity. So much passion, physical and emotional, ensured that climax wasn’t just likely. It was inevitable.

Jean could already feel it. While she and Scott were no stranger to making love or intense orgasms, the approaching ecstasy was on a whole other level. It might very well redefine what qualified as great sex.

“Scott,” Jean gasped in between heating kissing, “I’m so…so close!”

“Me too, Jean. Almost…there!” he grunted.

“Together! Let’s come together!”

They didn’t need much incentive or effort. They just kept moving together, stepping up the pace of their movements. Jean was practically bouncing up and down her lover’s cock, her naked skin grinding effortlessly against his manly sinews. Scott tightened his grip on her butt while she raked her nails down his beck, never once diverting her gaze from his. When the feeling hit, she made sure she was looking her love in the eyes – those beautiful, red eyes that had once been hidden.

“Oohhh Scott!”

“Oohhh Jean!”

Their orgasmic cries echoed throughout the desert. The Phoenix also let out a cry of its own, as if to let the cosmos know that an act of love had left its mark on a cosmic power. The feeling that followed was truly worthy of such power, as it redefined the euphoria associated with love made real.

The physical aspects were there. Jean felt her pussy contract around her lover’s dick, throbbing in accord with waves of orgasmic bliss. Scott’s member tensed as he released his load of manly fluids to mix perfectly with her feminine juices. It was truly simultaneous, his pleasure complementing her own. Beyond the standard byproducts of sex, though, came something greater.

“From life incarnate to love incarnate…fire and flesh unite!”

In one fateful moment – a moment that just happened to be intensely, intimately pleasurable – their extent of their newfound perspective became clear. Cosmic power and human flesh hadn’t just merged. They had embraced. Rather than corrupt, it had enlightened. Thoughts, feelings, and notions of all kinds gained greater meaning and context.

It all came back to life, love, and connection. For Jean and the man she loved, it made so much sense. The power wasn’t just theirs to wield. It was theirs with which to grow and evolve.

“I love you, Scott,” Jean said in the midst of their shared, cosmic climax.

“I love you too, Jean,” said Scott, his eyes glowing bright as he smiled at her with such bliss.

“What we just did…what we just felt…there are no words.”

“Thankfully, they’re not necessary.”

As if to belabor that point, he kissed her again. The Phoenix Force let out another joyous cry as its flames shot up into the sky, as if to celebrate the moment with them. They had officially charted a new path for themselves and the cosmic power tied to their souls. Inspired by their love and passion, the possibilities before them were as endless as the stars.

Having sealed their new connection and taken that critical first step, the fiery halo surrounding their naked bodies faded. Some flames spread out into the night while others were absorbed into their flesh. As the air settled amidst the twilight of the sunset, she and Scott descended back towards the ground. Along the way, their genitals parted, but they remained in each other’s arms. Once back on the ground, the flames had fully disappeared, but they could still feel the immense power.

“This is going to be a hell of an adjustment,” Scott remarked.

“Which part? Wielding a piece of Phoenix Force or incorporating cosmic power into our sex life?” teased Jean.

“Both and then some,” he said with a humored grin. “The lives we lived before can’t be the lives we live from here on out. What we do from here – the lives we live, the love we share, and the power we wield – it’s all going to change. And it should change.”

“For the better, I hope,” Jean said.

“It will be better. That, I’m sure of,” the X-leader said confidently. “We have this new perspective to go along with this great power. We need to use it in the right ways for the right reasons, just as Professor Xavier taught us.”

“And we will. I don’t know what form that’ll take, but I look forward to finding out…together.”

“Together,” he said.

They smiled and kissed again, but without a fiery halo surrounding them. It was simpler and less flashy, but still reflected the power and perspective they had gained. There was still plenty of uncertainty about where the new path they’d charted would lead, but they had plenty of reasons and incentives to make it special.

“Before we get that far, we’ll need a ride home and some clothes,” said Scott.

“Don’t worry. They’re already on their way,” Jean said. “I sensed the Professor reaching out to us after the X-men landed with the shuttle in Jamaica Bay. It may take them a while to get here, though.”

“That’s okay. I don’t mind waiting. In fact, that’ll give us time to explore just how much the Phoenix will help our sex life.”

“Scott Summers, his power and perspective made you that much less uptight?” she teased.

“It’s done a lot of things for both of us. I suspect it’ll do even more as we explore it. For now, let’s enjoy it!”

“Does that involve making love to me until the sun sets?”

“Well, our bodies have the cosmic power of the Phoenix Force to work with. Can you think of a better way to pass the time?”

“No. I can’t.”

Scott carried himself with such a manly, sensual demeanor. Jean found herself embracing her own sexy side, being seductive in a way she never once dared. It felt so different, but so right.

With the twilight of the setting sun still bathing the New Mexico landscape, she and Scott initiated another round of lovemaking. It began with another passionate kiss in an intimate embrace. They remained standing, letting their hands roam over their naked bodies once more. In doing so, they realized something that boded well for the future of their love lives.

Having cosmic power incurred significant health benefits. Most notable was the apparent absence of a refractory period. Both she and Scott got aroused again with remarkable efficiency.

‘Scott…you’re hard again, already.’

‘I noticed that too, Jean. You’re also wet.’

‘I know. That’s going to be useful in so many ways.’

Laughing playfully at their shared intimate thoughts, they enjoyed the affectionate foreplay a bit longer before getting to sexier activities. Just like before, she and Scott freely followed their desires without restraint. Unlike before, they did so without a big bird-shaped firebird surrounding them. They didn’t need it. They had enough power and perspective on their own at that point.

Making good use of it, Scott took her again, lifting her up in his arms with minimal effort and laying her down on the hot sand. As he got on top of her, Jean eagerly spread her legs again, securing them around his waist while still kissing him passionately. Their bodies once again aligned themselves perfectly. Then, without hesitation, Scott thrust his hips forward and entered her.

“More love…more connection.”

Deep moans and blissful gasps followed as her body and her world rocked once more. The movements weren’t as desperate or vigorous as they’d been earlier. They didn’t need to be. They weren’t just vessels for a cosmic force, processing new power and insights. They were just two lovers in the desert, making love under the dwindling twilight. It was both pleasurable and meaningful in its own right.

“Mmm…I’m liking this new perspective,” Jean said in between gasps.

“Me too,” said Scott with a grin.

They laughed and kissed some more, their naked bodies moving together in perfect harmony. Even though it was simple, missionary-position sex – the most common kind of sex they’d had since they’d been together – it carried greater meaning on top of greater pleasure. Being so free and unrestrained with their passions made even the most basic forms of love more fulfilling.

It helped that they shared it in such an exotic locale. Jean had never been one to make love outside a bedroom. Doing it in the New Mexico desert was a new experience, but one that added something extra to the mix. In the light of the setting sun, the sand wasn’t too hot or dirty. It was like making love on the shores of a beach, a common fantasy that she’d once kept to herself. Moving forward, Jean had no intention of keeping her intimate desires so private.

Together, she and Scott followed their love its inevitable outcome. She climaxed again, achieving another orgasm with greater ease than she thought possible. It was a testament to her newfound passion. She even celebrated it, letting out an orgasmic cry into emerging night sky, as if to let the cosmos know that she had discovered a new side of herself. When Scott climaxed again too, he did the same, letting the stars know he was a special breed of man.

“Two lives entwined. A great love affirmed. Greater connections made.”

The voice of the Phoenix Force, acting as both a guide and a catalyst, aided them in exploring their passions. They listened and followed the feeling it evoked, which led to more rounds of impassioned lovemaking.

Continuous foreplay ensured continuous arousal.

Burning desire led to hot acts.

Powerful love made for great sex.

It all just came together in that one moment when cosmic awareness blended seamlessly with real passions between two lovers.

“Jean…so much. Love you…so much,” Scott kept gasping.

“Oohhh Scott!” was the most Jean ever got out.

Together, they pushed their cosmically-imbued bodies to match their newfound spirit. Their sex took many forms and positions, some more creative than others.

Jean let herself take the initiative for a while, something she’d only done reluctantly in the past. She pinned Scott on his back, straddled his waist, and rode his cock in a cowgirl position with an energy worthy of an unrestrained spirit. He seemed to appreciate that spirit as well, smiling widely as her breasts bounced to the rhythm of their love and squeezing her butt as she worked it with every motion. She ended up coming twice while Scott came gain.

He switched it up a few times as well, turning her onto her hands and knees at once point so he could do her doggy style – a crude term that she’d learned from Logan, but one that Jean no longer avoided. Scott ended up really enjoying that as well, using his legs to really pump his manhood into her and rock her body with every movement. He came again, moaning out into the night sky with a howl that put most wild animals to shame.

‘That’s it, my love. Let the cosmos know of our love and the joy we feel in making it!’

She and Scott made the breadth of their passion loud and clear. They even experimented with positions they’d only talked about. One was the 69 position with her on top, giving her lover oral sex while he did the same. Jean had only done it a few times with Scott in their intimate moments, but having a bond forged by cosmic power made it both easy and effective. Jean knew just how he liked having his member sucked. Scott knew just how she liked having her pussy eaten. They made each other come again.

More intimate manifestations followed. Jean used her breasts in a novel way, tit-fucking him until he shot a load right on her face. She also had him penetrate her ass, something she had only ever fantasized about in her most lurid thoughts. Nothing was off limits when it came to expressing their love.

Entirely new positions and acts emerged. Scott held her up in his arms and bounced her along his cock until she came. He then pinned her on her side, hitched a leg over her shoulder, and pumped into her until he came too. She laid on her side while he laid behind, spooning her and fondling her breasts until they both came together again. Jean even got on top a few times, riding his member in a reverse cowgirl position.

It unfolded with such ease and beauty. Their bodies, minds, and spirits were so synchronized, the Phoenix Force creating intimate connections that went beyond love and sex. It felt like the culmination of one powerful feeling and the start of so many others.

“So this is what happens when life, love, and connection manifest in its most tangible form. So intimate, yet so revealing. A world of experience, but united with meaning.”

With only the desert, the setting sun, and the unmitigated passions fueling them, it was hard to know how long she and Scott made love. It must have been quite a while because eventually, the twilight in the sky turned dark and a vast tapestry of stars appeared. When they finally did exhaust themselves, they just laid together on the sand. Scott was on his back while she rested her head on his chest, smiling with him at the experience they’d just shared and the many others that awaited.

“Hey, Scott?” said Jean, still engulfed in an afterglow every bit as strong as a cosmic power.

“Yes, Jean,” said Scott with an arm still draped around her naked body.

“What we just experienced…the choices we just made…it’s going to change a lot of things.”

“I don’t doubt that for a second. I’m not the least bit afraid.”

“Me neither,” she said confidently, “but even with power and perspective, we’ll have to chart a new path…one that will change more than just our sex lives.”

“It should,” he said. “I don’t claim to know where that path will lead or who else it’ll affect.”

She and Scott exchanged glances, sharing another warm smile and an affectionate gesture. Not long ago, their future seemed so dire and bleak. Now, it burned as brightly as the Phoenix Force.

“It’ll definitely impact many, including those we love and others we haven’t even met. This power and passion we share…it’s bound to have a broad reach.”

“Then, I guess it’s up to us to make sure every connection is a good one,” said Scott. “Like Professor Xavier once told us, reaching out is the first step to turning dreams into actions. Although, I doubt he intended actions like this.”

“Very true,” Jean laughed, “but it’s still a wise recourse. There’s plenty of room for new dreams to supplement others.”

“And if those dreams happen to involve sexier visions?” her love joked.

“Well, that’s just a nice bonus!”


“Down there! I can sense their minds!” said Charles Xavier, who’d been telepathically searching for Cyclops and Jean Grey.

“How are they? Are they wounded?” asked Storm anxiously.

“Tell us already, Professor!” barked Wolverine impatiently.

The mood aboard the X-jet was tense, but had considerably settled since their tenuous landing in Jamaica Bay. After recovering from the initial shock, they managed to climb aboard the Starcore Project Shuttle and formulate a plan to retrieve their lost friends.

First, they contacted General Nick Fury at SHIELD to retrieve Dr. Peter Corbeau and the shuttle. In less than a half-hour, he arrived with several members of the Avengers to aid in the clean-up. After turning Dr. Corbeau over for medical attention, Professor Xavier remotely summoned the X-jet so that he, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Banshee, Storm, and Colossus could follow the fiery trail left by their friends.

That trail led them to an unremarkable spot in New Mexico. Locating two minds in such a large area was challenging without the aid of Cerebro, but much to his relief, he located his prized students before the cold desert night descended over the area.

“I’m taking the X-jet down, lads,” Banshee announced from the cockpit. “I think I see them near that ridge.”

“I see them too, comrade,” said Colossus, looking out one of the passenger windows. “I hope they can tell us what happened on that shuttle.”

“Da,” said Nightcrawler, “it vas a very peculiar sequence of events.”

“There will be time or that later, Kurt,” said Professor Xavier. “Let us just make sure they’re okay.”

The tension aboard the X-jet remained strong as they landed in a clearing near the cliff. Once they touched down, Banshee activated the ramp and they all rushed out to greet their missing friends. Only Banshee lingered back so that he could help wheel the Professor outside.

However, upon exiting the X-jet, they were met with an unexpected sight. Scott and Jean were indeed present, waiting for them as though they were just lounging on a beach. It was their attire that surprised them, namely the lack of any.

“Scott! Jean!” Storm gasped. “You’re alive, but…”

“Naked,” said Wolverine with a shocked, but bemused grin, “completely, bare-ass naked.”

The entire team practically froze halfway on the path to greet their fellow X-men. Some, namely Nightcrawler and Colossus, averted their eyes and blushed. Some, namely Wolverine and Storm, ended up staring at the naked figures before them. It didn’t help that Scott and Jean did nothing to hide their exposed bodies. They were just sitting on the sand, leaning back on their arms without a care in the world.

Something remarkable and strange had clearly occurred aboard that shuttle. Whatever it was, Professor Xavier sensed that it involved more than just saving them from a rough landing. There was a greater power at work and in a very literal sense.

“Thanks for the extract, X-men,” said Scott with a humored grin, who curiously wasn’t wearing his ruby-quartz visor. “Sorry that we couldn’t be dressed for the occasion.”

“In our defense, our uniforms were unexpectedly discarded,” said Jean, laughing at the team’s reactions.

“How in the bleeding hell do ye discard that?” said Banshee, blushing sheepishly as he gazed upon Jean’s naked body. “And since when do ye not need yer visor anymore, Scott?”

“Since very recently,” he answered casually. “Before you worry, it’s okay. My optic blasts are under control now. The process just happened to burn away my clothes.”

“I can understand clothes getting charred, mien friends,” said Nightcrawler, still covering his eyes, “but to lose everything? Including your underwear?”

“Unless you guys go commando,” joked Wolverine, “in which case, I’m genuinely impressed!”

It was an awkward, but comical moment. It was still welcome, compared to the dread they’d felt earlier for their missing friends. Even Professor Xavier found plenty of humor to the situation, even if he did have plenty of questions. He still tried his best not to stare at his nude students. Wolverine was the only one who didn’t bother. He’d yet to take his eyes off Jean Grey and it didn’t take the world’s most powerful telepath to understand why.

“Logan, why don’t you fetch some blankets from the X-jet,” Professor Xavier suggested.

“Why? They don’t look too cold to me,” quipped Logan, which earned him a bemused glare from Jean.

“Says the Canadian who wears sleeveless shirts in a snowstorm,” remarked Storm.

“Please don’t make this more difficult than it needs to be, my friend,” the telepath said, rolling his eyes. “We’ve been through a great deal today.”

“Hey, any day that ends with us surviving a shuttle crash and seeing Jeannie naked is a good day in my book!” joked Logan.

“Now, you’re just being immature,” said Storm.

“You expect anything less from me, Ro?”

Before Xavier could berate the former living weapon any further, Storm grabbed him by the arm and dragged him back into the X-jet. He still snuck a few more glances at Jean’s naked body. Strangely enough, Jean didn’t seem to mind. Even Scott didn’t mind it, either. They just kept grinning, as though they somehow knew something that the rest of them didn’t.

It raised even more questions that had nothing to do with their newfound comfort of nudity. Jean’s demeanor seemed more poised. The shyness and uncertainty he’d seen since she first arrived at the Xavier Institute had disappeared, having been replaced by a radiant young woman who had few qualms about displaying her body. Scott’s demeanor was different too and not just because of his optic blasts being under control. There was a new poise in him as well, one that contrasted significantly with the overly-disciplined persona that often defined him.

It was a lot to take in, even for a powerful mind like his. As the novelty of seeing their friends nude wore off, Scott and Jean casually rose up from the sand and approached. Again, they made no effort to hide their naked features. Jean didn’t even cover her breasts. It led even Banshee to cover his eyes partially with his hand. It still didn’t stop Professor Xavier from greeting his students and expressing his relief at their safety.

“Attire aside, we’ve much to discuss on what just transpired,” Professor Xavier said.

“That we do, Professor,” said Jean, “more so than you think.”

“I imagine there are some details best left forgotten, my friends,” said Colossus, whose was obviously blushing, even in his metal form.

“I don’t blame you for thinking that, Peter,” said Scott, “but you’d be wrong this time. Jean and I intend to share every intimate detail.”

“Including the sexy ones!” Jean added.

Especially the sexy ones,” said Scott. “They’re important too. They’re part of a new path Jean and I hope to pursue…one that’ll benefit the X-men, as well as us.”

Professor Xavier’s list of questions kept on growing. In his two prized students, he sensed a great deal of changes. In his experience, great change was part of any struggle. Unexpected change – especially the unusual kind that resulted in two young people waking up naked in the desert – often had a multitude of powerful forces at work. It led him to believe that there were more unexpected changes to come, including the unusual kind.

Meanwhile – Unknown Location

“Damn this infernal contraption!”

“That’s the fifth time you’ve condemned your own devices, Sinister. At this point, it’s becoming more pathetic than humorous,” said a tall, devious figure from the shadows.

“Silence, Belasco! You’re here out of necessity, not choice. You’d be wise to remember that.”

The ancient sorcerer who claimed to serve Elder Gods cast a conniving grin, not hiding the inherent evil he exuded with every moment he stood within their realm. That face had struck terror into many souls who dared to explore forces beyond their understanding. Nathanial “Sinister” Essex was immune to such fear. He was also a man of science who was no fool. Not even alleged agents of the black arts could shake him.

The only thing that ever enraged his spirit was failure. For over a century, going back to his days as a contemporary of Charles Darwin, he’d grown accustomed to triumph over the forces of nature. It was why he’d evolved his body and mind to that of a functional immortal, so much so that he had full control over every cell in his being. It should’ve rendered him capable of achieving any feat, but one continued to elude him.

“Once again, the body and mind of my subject won’t animate,” Sinister mused in frustration. “I cannot continue delaying Project Goblin Queen like this! My master won’t allow it!”

“Is this that same master who refused to grant you access to Celestial technology?” said Belasco. “I believe his exact words were…your ineptitude renders you unfit.”

“Quit reminding me! I didn’t save you from the wrath of the Sorcerer Supreme to insult my work!”

“Then, why do you continue avoiding my aid? You know I remain bound to this realm. I can help you with this project of yours.”

“Whether you can is not the problem,” said Sinister. “It’s the unseen variables that concern me. I know your kind well. You exact a high price for any aid, even if it’s out of desperation.”

“My kind is never desperate. We’re merely constrained by circumstance,” said Belasco, “although I’d wager that your constraints are growing worse by the minute.”

Sinister seethed angrily at the malevolent creature he had trapped in a corner, courtesy of a containment field. It was the only part of his lab still functioning. The rest had been decimated, both by the failure of his latest experiments and by his own anger. He was supposed to have access to the most advanced genetic technology in existence. However, he still could not create one perfect clone.

Still ignoring Belasco’s gaze, he narrowed his focus on the egg-shaped pod in the south end of his lab. Inside was the figure of a young redheaded woman. From a purely analytical perspective, she was a genetic duplicate of Jean Grey, one of the most powerful mutants in the world. In a practical perspective, though, she was just a body and nothing more.

That was inadequate for his ultimate goal to create the perfect mutant. Jean Grey’s DNA contained vast potential, second only to the Summers bloodline. He’d crunched the numbers, courtesy of the resources bestowed by his master, Apocalypse. They all told the same story. A child from such a bloodline would be – from a genetic, evolutionary, and pragmatic sense – the ultimate living being.

Creating a clone to bear that child should’ve been simple. Cloning was not a difficult feat. There were active weapons programs with far lesser resources that had succeeded, albeit to a limited extent. Given his genius and resources, he should’ve succeeded by now. However, for reasons he did not understand, she would not come to life.

“Everything was in place,” Sinister said as he placed his hand on the stasis pod. “I’d even created an identity for her…Madelyne Pryor, daughter of a well-to-do family in Alaska. She would have thoughts, feelings, and even a sense of identity beyond that of any clone. However, her existence remained predicated on one, singular purpose.”

“The birth of this mythical child from this magical bloodline,” Belasco said dryly, “this link – or cable, as it were – between unevolved humans and the ultimate mutant.”

“Your inability to appreciate my work never ceases to amaze me,” Sinister said.

“I appreciate it more than you think. Sorcerers like myself can always appreciate efforts to achieve greater power…especially when it means bending the rules.”

“I need not bend any rules to create a clone,” scoffed Sinister. “It is just science, which I mastered a century ago.”

“Perhaps you have, but this isn’t just science. You’re not looking for a drone or a meat puppet. You want a being with identity and purpose, but one whose mortal flesh is completely identical to someone else.”

“It must be identical!” said Sinister intently. “That’s the whole point of the project.”

“I’m sure it is, but it’s also flying in the face of a basic rule. In the same way two identical clumps of matter cannot occupy the same space, two identical spirits cannot exist together. Maybe it would be possible if the source of this clone – Jean Grey, as you called her – were dead. Unfortunately, her spirit lives and attempting to copy it in another vessel is akin to subverting the laws of physics.”

Sinister continued to fume. He once again regretted rescuing Belasco, but his need for resources trumped his ego. His master had refused to grant more and the dark arts were among the few domains in which his genius did not extend. Belasco was supposed to be one of the most powerful sorcerers in existence. He’d hoped to dissect or tap his power, but that effort had proven futile.

Still fixated on the unmoving body of Madelyne Pryor, he muttered a string of curses under his breath that he hoped Belasco heard. Time was running out and so was his patience. He didn’t trust Belasco to understand or appreciate what he was attempting to do with the Summers/Grey bloodline. However, he didn’t have the luxury of trust.

Already cursing himself for considering such a recourse, he turned towards the demonic figure, who hadn’t stopped grinning.

“Say I were willing to break those laws,” Sinister said. “What would you know about it and how great a price would I pay?”

“I know enough to assure you I can deliver,” said Belasco confidently. “Allow me access to this so-called Goblin Queen of yours.”

“That’s just the name of the project. It’s not her title,” scoffed Sinister.

“Call it whatever you want. I can use my power to forge an appropriate soul, so to speak. I can give her life. I can even give her abilities that will allow her to carry out her task.”

“I’m still waiting for you to tell me what price I’ll have to pay. Bear in mind that, whatever it may be, you will regret making it excessive.”

Belasco just laughed at his menacing threat. If Sinister hadn’t transcended his humanity decades ago, he might have been nervous. Instead, he was just annoyed as he approached the sorcerer’s containment field and deactivated the restraints. As far as he was concerned, it was already too late. He was desperate and so was Belasco. For his vision to succeed, Madelyne Pryor needed to live, no matter the cost.

“My dear sinister friend,” Belasco said as he shifted his gaze to Madelyn’s stasis pod, “you are brilliant, but short-sighted. Yes, forging a soul from scratch will come at a price. But trust me…it’s a price that others will end up paying!”

Next Chapter: A New Vision

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